The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) is the Navy's lead office for resourcing Intelligence, Cyber Warfare, Command and Control, Electronic Warfare, Battle Management, Oceanography and Meteorology capabilities, among other critical warfighting enablers. The office's mission is to deliver end-to-end accountability for Navy information requirements, investments, capabilities and ready forces.
Mr. Matthew H. Swartz, director for Assured Command and Control Division on the N2/N6 staff, delivered a message to the fleet at an AFCEA event in Norfolk, Virginia, June 10: “I am here today to be your advocate for the fleet and waterfront. I want to hear how my office is doing, and I if I need to make a course correction to support your requirements.”
Swartz explained that the capabilities that OPNAV N2/N6 invests in are engineered to deliver capabilities aligned with the tenets of the Chief of Naval Operations’ Sailing Directions: Warfighting First, Operate Forward, Be Ready.
Referring to the two-year gap between planning for future requirements and the budget cycle, Swartz said: “The gap is closing. There has been a ‘cyber awakening’ in Washington. Future requirements and what the Navy needs today are so closely tied together that you can’t talk about what the Navy needs in the future unless you talk about today.”
Swartz said that Vice Adm. Ted Branch, DCNO for N2/N6, manages the programs of record (POR) that N2/N6 invests in as a continuum of interconnected capabilities for the fleet. Using a continuum of capability ensures that communication is correlated, decided and disseminated in all environments.
“[You] need your shore component in order to operate afloat,” Swartz said. In addition to afloat and ashore environments, the continuum of capability includes satellites and technical datalinks; tools such as cloud computing; and command, control, and communication (C3) platforms which rely on uninterrupted use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
“The electromagnetic spectrum is a precious commodity — it is the underlying domain in which all our systems operate. We have to figure out how to manage it machine-to-machine and be able to freely maneuver within it in high-threat scenarios. The DoD must preserve its allocation and figure out a way to share with industry because it is an economic driver for the nation,” Swartz said.
Other capabilities in the N2/N6 portfolio Swartz talked about are: afloat and ashore networks, such as Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) for the fleet, and the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), with more than 800,000 users, on 400,000 workstations in 2,500 locations; and the C3 platforms, which include the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and P-8 Poseidon — both equipped with highly sophisticated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) radars.
“The capabilities are important, but so is investing in cybersecurity, manpower and training, so that Sailors are empowered and can operationalize the technology and facilitate the kill chain,” Swartz said. "If technology is deployed without training,” he said, “[we’ve] missed the mark.”
The Balancing Act
At a recent Information Dominance Symposium, which included 0-6s and above from the Navy’s Information Dominance commands, Swartz said participants discussed how the Navy can be more Google-like, more agile, and how it can stay ahead of risk and ensure technology doesn’t lag behind.
“It’s a balance — how to invest in technology and training as new capabilities come online,” he said.
Part of the answer to the balancing act, Swartz said, is designing in simplicity when developing new capabilities.
“Simplicity and efficiencies must be designed in from the start according to commonality and standards instead of trying to pull out IT efficiencies and savings later,” Swartz said.
“N2/N6 is not [just] a data provider,” Swartz said, “[it recognizes that] data availability, data integrity and data confidentiality are critical to C2.”
“It’s all about the data … it must be accessible; data sitting on a server does no one any good. My job is to ensure that data gets to the endpoint and back again,” Swartz said.
“Warfighters have to be sure data has not been manipulated or compromised. Warfighters must know the adversary’s perspective and attack vectors. There has to be material solutions and the appropriate policy, and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to leverage data in a comprehensive, end-to-end architecture because individually addressing availability, integrity and/or confidentiality will not ‘Assure C2,’” Swartz said.
One of the greatest challenges facing the fleet today is determining exactly where to invest because there is no shortage of technical solutions, Swartz said. Assured C2 investments must be made carefully and strategically. “There are no single solutions or a box the Navy can buy,” Swartz said.
Adhering to standards and eliminating variations makes Navy networks easier to defend and will also ensure that the Navy can connect to the Defense Department Joint Information Environment (JIE). Swartz said that by leveraging the new Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract, which begins Sept. 30, the Navy is positioned for alignment with the JIE. Deployment of NGEN, CANES, and data center consolidation are keys to success and are aligned to JIE integration.
“We have [Navy] already budgeted within the PPBE (Planning, Programming, Budgeting, Execution) process [for JIE alignment], and we are the only service that has done that,” Swartz said. “The Navy was ‘enterprise’ before enterprise was cool.”
NGEN, CANES, Data Center Consolidation
OPNAV N2/N6 is working risk assessments aggressively and has reinvigorated the Functional Area
Manager (FAM) process with Navy business process owners and allocated funds within the PPBE to modernize IT systems and eliminate legacy applications which are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, according to Swartz.
It’s not just about closing data centers; it is laying a foundation through standards to move systems into data centers which are defendable against cyber threats, he said.
Swartz said the data consolidation effort, as well as the other initiatives, such as CANES, in the N2/N6 portfolio, aligns with the CNO’s wholeness concept: a balanced approach to current readiness and future readiness across the spectrum of warfighting mission capabilities, which the CNO outlined in 2011.
CANES provides secure reliable common hosting for multiple C4I applications — as well as integrated voice, video, data and system management.
Swartz said he visited the USS Laboon (DDG 58) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85) during CANES installations and was impressed with the training the Sailors received. “CANES is now installed on six DDGs operating forward,” he said.
Realizing the Assured C2 Vision
Standardizing networks afloat and ashore, moving to a single security architecture, consolidating data centers and provisioning enterprise services for multiple users are force multipliers, Swartz said. He listed a number of benefits: enhanced warfighting capability and improved network and cyber security; increased resource efficiency; interoperability with joint and coalition partners; and the ability to keep pace with commercial IT partners. The Navy is also adopting identity and access management to improve security.
OPNAV N2/N6 has six priority investments for 2014 (see Figure 1). Swartz said that his office works very closely with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management & Comptroller’s budget office (FMB) to ensure that every investment decision OPNAV N2/N6 makes is informed by FMB’s input and is aligned to current budget execution and future year resourcing decisions.
The primary beneficiaries of Assured C2 are Navy commanders and the fleet. Comments from the fleet are encouraged, Swartz said.