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CHIPS Articles: PEO C4I Program Offices Host Fleet Stakeholders Working Group Summit

PEO C4I Program Offices Host Fleet Stakeholders Working Group Summit
By Jim Vitha, Program Executive Office Command Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence - March 23, 2018
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy's Information Assurance and Cyber Security Program Office (PMW 130) and the Navy's Tactical Networks Program Office (PMW 160) hosted a Fleet Stakeholders Working Group (FSWG) March 6-8. Both PMWs are part of the Program Executive Office Command Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I).

The three-day working group provided a discussion forum to help enhance awareness and promote understanding of PMW 130 and PMW 160 programs, their capabilities and limitations in the fleet today, and their plans for future capabilities. The FSWG also provided an opportunity for direct user feedback through a series of panel discussions, plenary briefings and breakout focus groups. Attendees included afloat fleet representatives, fleet information technology leads (N6s), cyber operators and maintainers, resource sponsors, and supporting shore command and acquisition community personnel.

Claude Barron, director for Assured Command and Control (N2N6F1) within the offices of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6), kicked off the event with a keynote speech. Focusing on the National Defense Strategy, he noted that networks play an important role in national defense now and have for decades. He referenced the use of radar during the Battle of Britain as an analogy.

"The British didn't win the Battle of Britain because they had radar," said Barron. "They won when that technology was implemented as part of a networked system with a corresponding concept of operations that included other sensors, command and control nodes, and fighter squadrons."

Barron challenged the acquisition work force personnel in attendance to effectively steward their resources in a challenging fiscal environment.

Rear Adm. Carl "Chebs" Chebi, program executive officer, PEO C4I, also spoke about making effective use of resources, speaking about the need for the Navy to accelerate the delivery of required C4I capabilities that are affordable, integrated and interoperable.

He also stressed the importance of having PEO C4I members listen to the voice of the fleet.

"We want to hear from the Sailors who operate and maintain our equipment, especially if our training and support materials need work," said Chebi. "We need that feedback."

He added that the solution to training deficiencies isn't more training materials, it is often a single well-crafted training product targeted at the Sailor.

Capt. Kurt Rothenhaus, PMW 160 program manager, added to the discussion on Navy networks, explaining that the present is an important time to be working in this field.

"In the past, we enjoyed significant advantages in networking capability over our potential adversaries," said Rothenhaus. "Maintaining our technological edge will become increasingly difficult as potential adversaries improve their own capabilities and efforts to deny our access."

He asserted that working with key stakeholders at events like the FSWG is critical to ensuring that acquisition professionals deliver the right capabilities to the Sailors and Marines they have the privilege to serve.

However, finding the right capabilities in the right configuration isn't an easy feat. Rob Diaz, PMW 130 program manager, explained that, "Defense in depth is the key. There is no single tool or capability that protects Naval networks. Not only do we need multiple tools/capabilities at various levels in our architecture-we owe it to the Sailors and Marines we support to ensure they can operate them as necessary. We are providing numerous tools to secure the network and, based partly on last year's FSWG, we provide mission essential training of our systems at the deck plate level now-not just in the classroom."

PMW 130 plans, manages and executes program resources to ensure continued protection of Navy and joint information, telecommunications and information systems from hostile exploitation and attack. PMW 130's mission is to acquire and sustain cyber security products and services to ensure strong authentication, data integrity, confidentiality, non-repudiation and availability of network resources and information.

PMW 160 is PEO C4I's program office for tactical networks, providing operationally effective and cost-efficient networks for Navy tactical forces. PMW 160 delivers integrated wide area, local networking and foundation computing systems to support a robust network of cyber-ready, geographically dispersed Naval Force supporting Joint and coalition global operations.

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