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CHIPS Articles: Navy IT Networks Evolving into Warfighting Platforms

Navy IT Networks Evolving into Warfighting Platforms
By Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs - October-December 2015
WASHINGTON (NNS) — Tomahawk. MK48. Aegis: These are weapons systems employed by the Navy to achieve decisive effects in locales far and wide.

With the increase of cyber threats across the globe, the Navy is hardening another weapons system essential for effective operations: its information technology networks, both afloat and ashore.

The Navy must "operate the network as a warfighting platform," said Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command-U.S. 10th Fleet earlier this year at the Sea-Air-Space conference. "It's not a service provider. It's not a support capability. We know that our operational network is under fire every day; we have to defend it."

CANES, which stands for Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services, represents a key aspect of the Navy's modernization planning. It provides an enhancement to cybersecurity, command and control, communications and intelligence systems afloat by establishing the network as the Navy's cyber platform. CANES brings significant advances in application hosting and system management, as well as reducing the number of network variants by ship class across the fleet.

With CANES, the network is firmly part of the Navy's combat capability.

In addition to a planned technology refresh cycle to pace emerging cyber threats, CANES' integrated voice, video, data and system-management functions optimizes and streamlines network system administrator workload. Reduced hardware requirements also decrease system vulnerabilities and threat attack surface area.

The network serves as the cyber platform for more than 200 applications and connected systems, including data, transport, systems management and voice and video services.

To date, the Navy has completed installation of CANES on 25 ships with 153 remaining and due to be complete by 2024. Installed systems are performing operational missions and have supported information dominance missions across the globe.

Equally essential for Navy is the reliability of its ashore networks: Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and OCONUS Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-Net.)

NMCI is the Navy's shore-based enterprise network in the continental United States and Hawaii, providing a single integrated, secure information technology environment for reliable, stable information transfer. NMCI serves 700,000 users in 2,500 locations that send more than 33 million weekly email messages.

ONE-Net delivers comprehensive, end-to-end information and telecommunication services to OCONUS Navy shore commands by using a common computing environment for both the Non-secure IP Router Network (NIPRNet) and Secure IP Router Network (SIPRNet). Together, these systems serve as not only IT assets, but as information weapons systems in and of themselves.

To this end, both NMCI and ONE-Net operators are vigilant about cybersecurity and defending the Navy's systems against attacks to ensure user access and to protect the Navy's data and applications.

NMCI alone relies on 10 classified and 25 unclassified server farms, and 30 microserver farms to deliver enterprise network IT services to its more than 700,000 users. NMCI blocks 231 million unauthorized intrusion attempts, detects 26 million threats and blocks 3.5 million spam messages per month.

In the not too distant past, Navy networks were viewed as delivery systems for email and administrative actions. With the evolution of cyberspace capabilities and vulnerabilities, Navy networks can be viewed as cyber platforms that deliver decisive effects from seabed to space.

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 19, 2013) Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Anthony Pisciotto, right, familiarizes Information Systems Technician Seaman Cameron Treanor with the Consolidated Afloat Ships Network Enterprise Services (CANES) system in the Local Area Network (LAN) Equipment Room aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69). CANES, the Navy's next generation tactical afloat, was recently installed aboard Milius. U.S. Navy photo by Rick Naystatt.
SAN DIEGO (Nov. 19, 2013) Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Anthony Pisciotto checks network connectors on the recently installed Consolidated Afloat Ships Network Enterprise Services (CANES) system in the close confines of the Local Area Network (LAN) Equipment Room aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69). U.S. Navy photo by Rick Naystatt.
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