During an early August visit to SSC Atlantic in Hampton Roads, Virginia, SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. David Lewis encouraged personnel to learn together as an organization and to tap into the expertise within the SPAWAR Command.
The admiral placed particular emphasis on the need to ask questions when help is needed — from the deckplate up. “Don’t keep it a secret. Can’t solve it? Start asking for help,” Lewis said. He urged employees to discuss any issues they have with supervisors and subject matter experts for resolution.
Admiral Lewis explained that he provides status reports to the Chief of Naval Operations and fleet commands every two weeks, so SPAWAR has a very visible platform. However, he said, “If I don’t know about problems, I can’t help solve them.”
CANES — On Time, On Schedule
The admiral discussed the faster pace of the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services installations and the progress SPAWAR has made in getting the installations completed on time.
CANES is the Navy's tactical afloat network. It represents a critical component of the Navy's modernization planning by upgrading cybersecurity and command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems afloat. The increased standardization will reduce the number of network variants by ship class across the fleet.
The success of the CANES program means that installs are increasing, Lewis said, and we need to share the lessons learned from installations on both East and West coasts. The CANES install on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Lewis said, was completed within a remarkable eight months, even though first CVN installations took 18-24 months.
Lewis has had oversight of the CANES installs on USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). “I ask questions,” he said. “That’s how I can help.”
USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) is getting major upgrades, and four ships are getting CANES installations at the same time — this is unprecedented in the amount of work that is being accomplished. The workload is higher than ever, Lewis said, and the CANES installs are occurring in addition to the usual technical work being done for other ships.
To further advance CANES’ capabilities, a production facility to preload hosted application and configure CANES up to SECRET will soon be available at Naval Station Norfolk in building V-53. This will be a significant factor in SPAWAR’s attempt to reduce time installation time. One has already stood up in San Diego, and the benefits are already being seen, Lewis said.
The admiral expressed that he’s very upbeat about the quality and speed of CANES installations and ship modernization processes and the impact they will have on fleet readiness.
“Now it’s a matter of using the resources we have. We must figure out how to work through the challenges for being on time, on schedule, and on cost,” Lewis said.
Lewis encouraged personnel to read Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson’s “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” — if they hadn’t already. “Information Warfare is now considered a warfighting specialty, equal with surface, submarine and air,” Lewis said. The CNO placed a great deal of emphasis on the need to develop the information warfare domain areas cited in the Design.
Information Warfare needs procedures, configurations, training, and doctrine just as the surface, submarine and air domains have, Lewis said.
“It’s on us how to deliver these procedures and help ships implement them. It’s part of being in the warfare domain — we have to have the same discipline. We are maturing as a warfare domain,” Lewis said. “The architecture, configuration, installation — it’s all on us, and it has to be right.”
Lewis said that it’s not good enough to just deliver a package to the fleet. Sailors need to be able to operate the equipment too, and it’s SPAWAR’s responsibility to ensure they can.
Lewis said that this is a good time to be in C4I. “We’re getting positive attention. But it needs to be better,” he continued.
SPAWAR makes up nearly half of the Information Warfare/Big Navy community with about 11,000 personnel.
“We are the engineers for the C4I community. If there’s an engineering problem, it’s ours. Step one in solving the problem is acknowledging that there is a problem then how do we fix it?” Lewis said. According to Lewis, many C4I problems have already been resolved, but there is more to do.
A recurring theme in many of the admiral’s meetings with personnel and with the fleet is the unmatched technical expertise that SPAWAR delivers.
“We solve tough problems and deliver innovative solutions that enable decisive operational advantage,” Lewis has said.