Email this Article Email   

CHIPS Articles: Priority to Deliver Network Interoperability Solutions Affirmed

Priority to Deliver Network Interoperability Solutions Affirmed
By Andrea V. Houck - January-March 2007
Speakers at the 11th annual Naval NETWAR FORCEnet Enterprise and Industry Conference unveiled plans to tackle current readiness issues and to provide coalition interoperability capabilities to the joint warfighter.

The conference, held Nov. 14-16, 2006, in San Diego at the Bahia Hotel on Mission Bay, attracted nearly 600 military, government and industry attendees and focused around a wide range of perspectives on "Evolving the Network: Meeting the Warfighter's Critical Information Needs."

"This has been an exciting first year for the Naval NETWAR FORCEnet Enterprise, and we are already beginning see the benefits of this collaborative effort," said Vice Adm. James McArthur, Commander Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), who also serves as the NNFE's chief executive officer (CEO).

"While we are still shaping alignment, we are looking at resources, funding technology in the future and how we can meet fleet requirements. We are on the cusp of dramatic changes in C4I [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence] and making huge leaps in capabilities to support the warfighter," McArthur explained.

In an effort to produce and deliver the most effective network capabilities to combatant commanders while efficiently allocating the Navy's resources, the Navy's acquisition organizations that support the air, surface, submarine, expeditionary and network communities have realigned under an enterprise model to increase efficiency, decrease costs and improve speed to capability for the fleet.

The NNFE is an enterprise approach to implementing FORCEnet and delivering network-centric capabilities to the warfighter. This is a collaborative effort between NETWARCOM, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV N6), the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and a host of additional stakeholder organizations, including the Navy's Program Executive Offices (PEO) for C4I, Space Systems and Enterprise Information Systems.

"We are marching down the path to fully support the NNFE," said Rear Adm. Michael Bachmann, Commander SPAWAR. "As the chief operating officer (COO), I am committed to ensuring we effectively deliver FORCEnet capabilities, such as interoperable platforms, to the fleet," he said.

The NNFE's Board of Directors is led by top admirals who meet monthly to assess the enterprise's progress in delivering its products and services. The NETWARCOM Commander is the CEO, the SPAWAR Commander is the COO and OPNAV N6, Vice Adm. Mark Edwards, is the chief financial officer.

By leveraging the power of networks and the information they provide to a wide range of users, the FORCEnet operational construct and architectural framework are expected to improve the fleet's lethality and quicken the pace of decision-making. FORCEnet is the core of Navy and Marine Corps transformation and is the means by which naval forces will make network-centric warfare an operational reality.

For the second consecutive year, NETWARCOM and PEO C4I joined SPAWAR and the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) in sponsorship. The conference served as a major symposium for senior military, government and industry officials to share their perspectives on acquisition strategies and business opportunities for large and small businesses.

The conference was designed to explore multiple facets of the NNFE. The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition chief engineer, Carl Siel, was the keynote speaker who opened the conference by defining the Navy Acquisition Enterprise framework as a behavioral model. Siel said that the model operates within the Navy's command structure to clarify accountability for Navy-wide efficient use of resources and to promote enhanced coordination and collaboration among all stakeholders in mission effectiveness and decision-making.

The discussion progressed into a dialogue on the NNFE's requirements and results, followed by presentations highlighting service initiatives from Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force representatives.

The final day featured perspectives from the acquisition providers — PEOs from C4I, Space Systems and Enterprise Information Systems — and concluded with the "Voice from the Customer" segment. Vice Adm. Barry Costello, Commander Third Fleet, and Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Commander Second Fleet, discussed their requirements and how network-centric capabilities can assist joint warfighters. (Vice Adm. Evan M. Chanik relieved Vice Adm. Fitzgerald Nov. 28, 2006. Fitzgerald departed 2nd Fleet to become the Director, Navy Staff in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.)

"For the past few years, coalition interoperability has been a top priority and requirement not only for Third Fleet but for all the numbered fleets," said Costello. "I believe in coalition interoperability, and I am committed to industry to find the solution to provide the systems and products to connect all the fleet together."

Other featured speakers included FORCEnet Director, Capt. Richard Simon; Senior Adviser for Command and Control Modeling and Simulation Office of the Chief of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer, Secretary of the Air Force, Keith Seaman; Coast Guard Research and Development Program Manager, Navy Capt. John Macaluso; and other senior military and government officials.

As part of the network-centric warfare acquisition portion of the conference, Chris Miller, acting PEO C4I, discussed the organization’s realignment to better deliver valuable, cost-effective C4I capabilities without compromising safety or acquisition integrity. He also provided an update on a new contracting strategy called Efficient Contract Requirements and Use (ECRU), which was formerly known as Transition to Industry Primes. ECRU is designed to maintain a competitive landscape in order for industry to focus on engineering efforts and to allow PEO C4I to focus on acquisition and interoperability efforts.

"We have to remember we're a nation at war," said Miller, "and we must be able to adjust to our changing environment in order to have a clearer focus on our mission as premier C4I providers and provide compatible interoperability to the warfighter."

The conference concluded with the presentation of the A. Bryan Lasswell Awards at the sixth annual NDIA Fleet Support Awards Banquet. The event recognized technical and management personnel who made significant contributions to fleet readiness and support.

Fitzgerald was featured as the banquet's keynote speaker, and the evening was highlighted by a poignant moment when Jim Lasswell, former NDIA San Diego Chapter president and son of the award's namesake, spoke of his father's accomplishments in the Marine Corps. This was the inaugural year in which the awards were presented in honor of the senior Lasswell.

"Particularly impressive was the lineup of superb speakers, presenters and panel members that provided two-and-a-half days worth of perspective from the key players of our government, military and civilian sectors," said Dwayne Junker, NDIA San Diego Chapter president.

"It was very encouraging to observe the rapt attention each received during their time on the podium and the spirited question and answer sessions that followed. The result was a significant amount of substantial information provided — and received," Junker said.

Presentations from the conference may be found on the SPAWAR Web site at http://enterprise.spawar.navy.mil/. Additional information on NDIA co-sponsored events can be found at http://ndia-sd.org/.

Andrea V. Houck is with the SPAWAR corporate communications team.

Nearly 600 military, industry and civilian employees listened to Vice Adm. James McArthur, Commander NETWARCOM, deliver his address at the Naval NETWAR FORCEnet Enterprise and Industry Conference, held Nov. 14-16, 2006, in San Diego.
Nearly 600 military, industry and civilian employees listened to Vice Adm. James McArthur, Commander NETWARCOM, deliver his address at the Naval NETWAR FORCEnet Enterprise and Industry Conference, held Nov. 14-16, 2006, in San Diego.

Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Commander Second Fleet, discusses the concept of standing up Maritime Headquarters with Mission Operation Centers and how the concept fits into the Chief of Naval Operations’ 1,000-ship Navy concept. Vice Adm. Evan M. Chanik relieved Fitzgerald Nov. 28, 2006. Fitzgerald departed 2nd Fleet to become the Director, Navy Staff in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Commander Second Fleet, discusses the concept of standing up Maritime Headquarters with Mission Operation Centers and how the concept fits into the Chief of Naval Operations’ 1,000-ship Navy concept. Vice Adm. Evan M. Chanik relieved Fitzgerald Nov. 28, 2006. Fitzgerald departed 2nd Fleet to become the Director, Navy Staff in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Ruth Fox, the NNFE development deputy lead, discusses government - industry partnership at the NNFE and Industry Conference.
Ruth Fox, the NNFE development deputy lead, discusses government - industry partnership at the NNFE and Industry Conference.
Related CHIPS Articles
Related DON CIO News

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
Hyperlink Disclaimer