Rear Adm. Leigher was appointed as the director of Information Operations on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in June 2008. In December 2009, he was assigned as deputy commander for U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. In July 2011, Leigher returned to staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in his current position as Director of Warfare Integration for Information Dominance.
Rear Adm. Leigher’s directorate is responsible for the Navy’s shipboard network CANES, or Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services. CANES installation on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) began in December 2012 and is expected to take about 19 to 20 weeks, as part of a more complex overhaul. CANES is a fundamental component of the Navy’s plan for upgrading cybersecurity, command and control, communications and electronic warfare capabilities across the fleet.
CANES is designed to provide standardization by reducing the number of network variants by ship class as well as to reduce the Navy’s total ownership costs. The guided missile destroyers USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Chafee (DDG 90) are the next ships in class scheduled to receive CANES. USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) will be the first aircraft carrier scheduled to receive CANES. The CANES installation on USS John C. Stennis will occur during the ship’s maintenance availability which is scheduled to start on June 27, 2013 and complete on August 28, 2014.
Rear Adm. Leigher responded to questions in writing in June.
Q: Can you talk about what CANES is and how the Navy determined its design and acquisition strategy?
A: CANES is a single information technology platform that provides integrated voice, video, data and system management in all security enclaves. CANES replaces four existing shipboard networks and brings enhanced shipboard networking capabilities to include increased computing power and storage, enhanced system management functionality and accelerated speed. CANES provides our Sailors with a more reliable network and inherent information assurance — all with significantly reduced total ownership costs.
The primary goals of the CANES program are to:
- Provide a secure afloat network required for naval and joint operations./li>
- Consolidate and reduce the number of afloat networks through the use of a common computing environment (CCE) and mature cross-domain technologies.
- Reduce the infrastructure footprint and associated logistics, sustainment and training costs.
- Increase reliability, security, interoperability and application hosting to meet current and projected warfighter requirements.
Based on those goals, CANES’ functional specifications were developed to promote an open, modular and scalable design using a vendor-neutral commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) framework.
Additionally, the program’s acquisition strategy was crafted to maximize competition throughout its lifecycle. For example, during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase, the program employed a competitive, multiple-phase, multiple-award, down-select contracting strategy. Competitive contracts were awarded to Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin in March 2010 for the design and development of all hardware, software and operating systems. Down-select to a single design and procurement of fiscal year (FY) 2012 and 2013 production units was awarded to Northrop Grumman in February 2012.
A significant feature of the CANES’ acquisition strategy is government ownership of the data rights to the CANES design. This minimizes cost growth in the future, as multiple industry partners are able to compete to build CANES production units based on government-furnished specifications.
Based on the government-owned design, a Request for Proposal for the Follow-On CANES Production Contract was released on May 28, 2013. The CANES Production Contract is a multiple award contract which will further promote competition and help keep lifecycle costs under control.
Q: Can you talk about the CANES installation process and some of the lessons learned from the installation on the Milius that will be applied to future upgrades?
A: As with all of our installations, we are continually gathering lessons learned to apply to future installations, looking especially for efficiencies that will save us time and money. PMW-160 (Tactical Networks Program Office under Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Fleet Readiness Directorate (FRD) are using the Milius installation to inform a Lean Six Sigma event to develop lessons learned to streamline and shorten the installation process and timeline. The study is assessing pre-install, production, application integration, data migration, and System Operational Verification Test work to determine efficiencies leading to installation times being reduced from 126 days to 91 days on DDGs as part of more complex shipyard overhauls.
CANES’ installations are not all that different in terms of scope of work than the installation of our legacy Integrated Shipboard Network Systems (ISNS) but also includes capabilities from other legacy network systems to include Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) networks, the Combined Enterprise Exchange Regional Information System – Maritime (CENTRIXS-M) and Video Information Exchange System (VIXS). The CANES footprint is similar to the ISNS footprint for DDGs and CGs (guided missile cruisers) and has only one additional equipment rack on aircraft carriers.
PEO C4I and SPAWAR are working very closely with the appropriate type commanders and maintenance commands to ensure that CANES installations are integrated into the overall availability schedules of our ships. The process of installing follows several parallel paths. After the CANES production units are completed by the prime contractor, the government conducts functionality tests as part of our acceptance process. CANES operating systems and our hosted C4I applications and systems are then loaded. Prior to the physical installation of the CANES system, the old computer networks on the ship are removed and any required modifications for power, ventilation and cabling are performed. The spaces in which the CANES equipment will be loaded are prepared. Finally, the CANES gear is installed.
Following installation, CANES will be powered up and undergo a rigorous System Operational Verification Test, or SOVT. The Navy performs a SOVT on all new equipment to ensure that it operates as designed.
Q: The Information Dominance Roadmap describes CANES as delivering a common computing environment and afloat core services (ACS) enabling information sharing and a common understanding of the battlespace. Can you explain what these are and what they will mean to the fleet?
A: The common computing environment is somewhat similar to a smart phone. It is a single infrastructure on which we can host or connect our C4I applications. Previously, many of our applications brought their own hardware (routers and servers) and their own software. This led to a situation where we had a myriad of hardware types and operating systems to maintain and secure — and that was simply unaffordable. As I mentioned earlier, one of the four goals of CANES is to reduce the infrastructure footprint and associated logistics, sustainment and training costs. By removing a good deal of our network variation, we will save money and be able to secure our networks more effectively.
Afloat core services, or ACS, provides a single, local instance of common enterprise services which simplify deployment and management while lowering sustainment cost. It provides a common, sustainable, manageable and scalable infrastructure solution for all afloat systems and applications, and it reduces the amount of duplicative software infrastructure CANES would have to host for each application provider (i.e., CPU, RAM and storage requirements). ACS breaks the application program of record silo model by having all applications use a common suite of enterprise services.
Q: CANES program manager Capt. D.J. LeGoff said that CANES is designed to keep pace with advances in technology and will reduce the number of legacy applications onboard ships today. Why is this important; isn’t the U.S. Navy the most technologically advanced in the world?
A: While it is true the U.S. Navy is the most technologically advanced Navy in the world; we are subject to the same end of life and end of support issues that face industry and home computer users. Operating systems and software are continually being upgraded and advanced, and older software eventually, is no longer maintained by the manufacturer. This means that they stop providing security patches and the software becomes increasingly vulnerable.
CANES provides a platform onto which we will be able to host or connect new software much more efficiently and in a manner that improves network security. Unlike any of our previous afloat networks, CANES is programmed and funded with hardware and software refresh cycles built into its schedule and funding profile. This will allow the Navy to avoid many of the end-of-life and end- of-support issues that we currently face.
Finally, CANES is the first afloat network that allows us to treat our network security and information assurance challenges in a holistic platform. Its built-in computer network defense and system management tools consolidate what used to be a myriad of security controls in one location.
Q: A key aspect of the Navy’s modernization planning is upgrading cybersecurity, command and control, communications and electronic warfare capabilities for ships at sea. How does CANES contribute to these warfare missions and Information Dominance?
A: The First Chapter of the Navy’s Information Dominance Roadmap is titled “Assured Command and Control (C2) - Networking the Force in any Environment.” Critical to our ability to network the force is a shipboard network that is secure and reliable. Additionally, it must enable information sharing and a common understanding of the battlespace. CANES does all of those things.
You know, the Navy is the ultimate wireless customer — we don’t trail fiber cables behind our ships which connect to the shore. CANES, along with our new satellite gear, the Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT), and upgrades to our Automated Digital Network System (ADNS), provide the network and connectivity allowing the Navy to accomplish those missions and to assure our command and control.
Q: The new technological capabilities deployed with CANES come at a time when the Department of Defense is moving forward rapidly with cyberspace operations — including new manning and training requirements. What impact do you see on the information technology workforce and associated training?
A: The commonality and standardization that CANES brings to the fleet will reduce the afloat logistics and training requirements for our C4I networks. The balance that I believe Navy still has to address is delivering the right training to the right people with an executable schedule. I’m not convinced that our C4I modernization efforts have fully integrated all of the training from the disparate programs into a single executable package. SPAWAR, PEO C4I and NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command) are installing a significant amount of technology for which our Sailors will need up-front training. Unfortunately, our fleet Sailors can’t fully take advantage of the training without overly burdening their parent commands during the modernization process.
Over time, as the systems move from installation to sustainment, my sense is that our existing processes of en-route pipeline training at the Center for Information Dominance through Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders will suffice. I welcome fleet feedback during our annual Navy Training Systems Plan (NTSP) reviews, where we work to ensure that Sailors get the right training with appropriate curriculum.
Q: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about CANES or the Navy’s Information Dominance vision?
A: The Navy’s plans for achieving Information Dominance center on: (1) assuring command and control (C2) for our deployed forces regardless of the threat environment; (2) enhancing battlespace awareness to shorten the decision cycle inside that of the adversary and to better understand the maritime operating environment; and, (3) fully integrating traditional kinetic and emerging non-kinetic fires to expand warfighting options to both Navy and joint commanders. To accomplish these plans, today’s current information-based capabilities involving “Assured C2,” “Battlespace Awareness” and “Integrated Fires” will require continual changes and improvements in a number of diverse areas.
CANES is part of the Navy’s overall roadmap to achieve Information Dominance. We are working closely with our industry partners and the fleet to ensure that our installations go smoothly so that we can leverage the functionality of CANES and accomplish our mission.