Today’s operational environment can be characterized as one of increasing competition and rapidly changing technological advances. Rising military powers, a diffusion of military capability flowing to non-state actors, and greater access by individuals and small groups to lethal weapons, sensors and other technologies means that U.S. forces operate in an increasingly complex threat environment.
Assessing the current and future threat scenarios, the Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028, issued by the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance, Director of Warfare Integration for Information Dominance (OPNAV N2/N6F) Rear Adm. William E. Leigher in March, amplifies the Navy Strategy for Achieving Information Dominance (2013-2017). The roadmap describes the capabilities needed to synchronize Navy’s diverse information-related programs, systems, functions and initiatives for future warfighting, and it outlines the expected operational and informational environments over the next 15 years.
Navy Information Dominance is defined as the operational advantage gained from fully integrating Navy’s information capabilities, systems and resources to optimize decision making and maximize warfighting effects in the complex maritime environment of the 21st century.
Achieving the advanced capabilities that are needed will require leveraging Navy’s intellectual, technological, human and financial resources across the fleet, systems commands and OPNAV staff, Leigher wrote in the foreward to the roadmap.
The roadmap takes into account analysis from the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World and Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, which predicts that the future international system will be almost unrecognizable from previous decades owing to the rise of emerging powers, an increasingly globalized economy, an unprecedented transfer of relative wealth and economic power flowing to Asian states, and the growing influence of several non-state actors. The report states that while the United States will remain the single most powerful country in the late 2020s, it will be less dominant on the world stage, and will see its relative strength — even in the military realm — decline.
The ongoing shift in relative wealth and economic power flowing from West to East is expected to continue. The world will move toward an even more globalized, multipolar international system where long-standing gaps in power between developed and developing countries will narrow. Of primary concern to U.S. planners, is that such multipolar international systems have historically been more unstable than bipolar or unipolar ones, suggesting that the next 20 years of transition will lead to a new world order filled with instability and risks.
To ensure the U.S. Navy will continue to play a significant role in global maritime security, the roadmap focuses on long-term Navy planning and resourcing decisions for developing the information-based warfighting capabilities and capacities the Navy will require to maneuver freely in future high-threat, information-intensive environments at sea.
The roadmap addresses information-related capabilities and activities under Navy’s control that involve decision making and warfighting within the battlespace to enable understanding of the enemy, networking the force, shortening combat kill chains, expanding warfighting options, and more. The Navy’s plans for achieving information dominance in an evolving world order center on: (1) assuring command and control (C2) for deployed forces regardless of the threat environment; (2) enhancing battlespace awareness to shorten the decision cycle inside that of the adversary and to better understand the maritime operating environment; and (3) fully integrating traditional kinetic and emerging non-kinetic fires to expand warfighting options to both Navy and joint commanders.
To accomplish these plans, today’s information-based capabilities involving assured C2, battlespace awareness and integrated fires will require continual changes and improvements in a number of diverse areas.
Assured C2 will require a more robust, protected, resilient and reliable information infrastructure that undergirds the Navy’s overall information environment and allows uninterrupted worldwide communication between deployed units and forces ashore. Navy’s information infrastructure must be able to maintain essential network and data link services across secured segments of the electromagnetic spectrum to transport, share, store, protect and disseminate critical combat information.
Battlespace Awareness will require enhanced information content, advanced means to rapidly sense, collect, process, analyze, evaluate and exploit intelligence regarding adversaries and the operating environment. Information content will serve as the basis from which nearly all decisions will be made, enabling naval forces to more effectively maneuver and coordinate actions that target and engage enemy forces.
Integrated Fires will require new capabilities to fully employ integrated information in warfare by expanding the use of advanced electronic warfare and offensive cyber effects to complement existing and planned air, surface and subsurface kinetic weapons within the battlespace. Future information effects will be designed to adversely affect and change enemy behavior, or when necessary, to control, manipulate, deny, degrade or destroy an enemy’s warfighting capabilities.
The Joint Staff Joint Operational Access Concept (JOAC) indicates that the essential access challenge for U.S. military forces will be the ability to project force into a contested operational area, and to sustain it in the face of armed opposition by increasingly capable enemies equipped with sophisticated anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) defenses.
Advanced A2/AD capabilities and weapons are rapidly becoming available to both less-developed states and non-state actors. By 2020, numerous nations and non-state actors will have the military means to selectively deny access to key maritime chokepoints and other strategic areas.
The roadmap recognizes that while the U.S. Navy continues to operate from the information “high ground,” employing superior intelligence and network technologies faster than the nation’s adversaries, these advantages are eroding steadily because some adversaries are now actively exploiting modern information-based capabilities and technologies for their own use, while others are simply using the Internet and the commercial global information grid as their own low-cost C4ISR system for networking their low-technology military forces.
The roadmap acknowledges that U.S. high tech weapons and communications systems can be countered with low-technology responses and that small numbers of sophisticated weapon systems can have a dramatic effect on the operational environment. As a forward deployed force, the fleet is highly dependent upon space-based systems, cyberspace and the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. Under such threats the Navy and operational commanders must be able to:
- Command Forces in any Environment;
- Understand the Operating Environment;
- Coordinate Fires in all Domains;
- Enhance Blue Fires;
- Assess Fires and its Own-Force Status;
- Fuse Essential Combat Information;
- Enable Informed, Decisive Action; and
- Disrupt, Deny and Defeat Red Fires.
Under each of these objectives, the roadmap discusses the technologies required to ensure the Navy maintains or exceeds these core capabilities. Technological advances are important because rising powers in Asia are poised to employ breakthrough technologies to include robotics, nanotechnology and the next generation of the Internet in the next 10 to 15 years. The proliferation of advanced information technology could hinder U.S. efforts to maintain future access to the cyberspace domain. Noted is the particular importance in the “operationalization” of the EM spectrum and cyberspace into a warfighting domain, to enable use of the EM spectrum as maneuver space.
Over the next six years, a number of changes will improve the Navy’s ability to assure C2 in current and near-term warfighting scenarios. Advances in Navy afloat core services include the following.
- Navy investments in satellite-based communications will provide viable, high-bandwidth, over-the-horizon transport options for connecting forward deployed naval units at the tactical level.
- A warfighting “thin-line” (Does thin-line mean core warfighting capability? No, this means the minimum information exchange requirement in any operating, scenario. ) will be delivered to sustain critical communication paths in contested environments using protected satellite communications (SATCOM) with split-Internet Protocol (IP) broadcast and tactical high frequency (HF) data networks, and by manually shutting down non-critical systems. In addition, low bandwidth line of sight (LOS) communications will be relayed through surface, subsurface, or air layers to support transport requirement.
- The Navy expects the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program will begin to deliver the next generation Navy tactical network with a Common Computing Environment and Afloat Core Services (ACS) enabling information sharing and a common understanding of the battlespace.
- The Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) is beginning to provide secure, net-centric data and services for the Navy and Marine Corps. NGEN will be the foundation for Department of the Navy network consolidation, and will be interoperable with, and able to leverage, the Defense Department’s Joint Information Environment (JlE) services.
- The initial deployments of improved tactical data link (TDL) networks will begin to address current capability and capacity limitations.
- Accurate positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities from satellite-based GPS signals in a range of operational environments.
- The Navy will begin to install limited EM spectrum controls to ensure the transport infrastructure delivers reliable high-bandwidth connections to naval platforms, enabling a number of warfighting applications. Fleet commanders at maritime operations center (MOC) level can establish and share a basic maritime operational picture that is periodically updated, and employs limited COP tools to assist planning and execution decision making. Several data interfaces will exist between Navy combat systems and C2 networks.
Looking ahead to 2028, the Navy will require assured EM access with the ability to field increased numbers of LOS communication systems for tactical operations for communications, electronic warfare and navigation radars. Other requirements include:
- A dynamic flexible information grid to ensure that every node, platform, sensor and weapon system can connect to and extend the grid.
- Assured positioning, timing and navigation services as an alternative to GPS.
- Enhanced data link networks and targeting networks, self-healing and aware network systems.
- Smart sensor systems.
Battlespace Awareness - Know the Enemy, Know the Environment
Battlespace awareness (BA) is the ability to understand the disposition and intentions of potential adversaries as well as the characteristics and conditions of the operational environment. A number of current state/near-term capabilities are anticipated for the 2013–2019 timeframe, including the following.
- Centralized fleet collection management and tasking to support both standing and ad hoc requirements across diverse intelligence disciplines.
- Manned, unmanned and other diverse platforms will be fielded to extend organic sensor capability and capacity.
- The transformation to distributed network environments will begin to emerge and high-performance computing will better understand and predict the physical and virtual environments.
- An emerging system-of-systems approach for providing a common operational and maritime picture will begin to shape tactics, techniques and procedures to enhance multi-domain awareness.
- Data sharing will be enhanced, enterprise solutions will be pursued for data purchasing and cross-domain solutions will be developed to begin consolidating Top Secret and Secret networks into a single classified domain.
- MOCs will remain as the centers of gravity for fleet BA coordination and will serve as central nodes for the C2 of Navy ISR assets and resultant in-theater analysis. Improved BA training for all operators and watchstanders will be developed.
To optimize BA functions in such environments, the Navy will require: (1) improved strategic/operational/tactical sensor coordination and collaboration; (2) integrated intelligence and operational information; (3) better data and information access and sharing; and (4) advanced information fusion, analysis, dissemination, management and relay – all developed with the intent to enable informed, decisive action and increase warfighting options.
For the 2020-2028 period, the Navy envisions a fully integrated collection plan with a single database to manage Navywide collection requirements, and to develop a display to visualize all available collection assets. Advanced sensor development across all domains with fully automated processing, fusion and product delivery will assist in understanding the capabilities and intentions of allies, adversaries and neutrals.
Integrated Fires – Sustain the Initiative, Disrupt Enemy Intentions
Navy Integrated Fires (IF) coordinates all elements within the blue kill chain and disrupts red kill chains to seize and hold the initiative in combat, and to limit an enemy’s freedom of maneuver and action. The information dominance capabilities within Navy IF are the culmination of the assured C2 and BA functions just described which enable the delivery of essential and timely combat information to Navy commanders, deployed units and weapon systems.
Over the next six years, a number of improvements are programmed that will enhance the Navy’s current ability to integrate fires across the fleet. The ability to defeat A2/AD capabilities by potential adversaries is driving the increased integration and interoperability of platforms, sensors, weapons and systems in line with efforts such as the Air-Sea Battle (ASB) concept. These initiatives are centered in the three emerging capabilities and functional areas of Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA), Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) and Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO).
Highlights over the 2012–2019 timeframe involve fielding initial assured C2 capabilities that mitigate existing tactical data link capability and capacity shortfalls in A2/AD environments, such as Link 16 Concurrent Multi-Netting Four Channel (CMN-4) and netting Line of Sight (LOS) sensors through Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT). Fielding initial increments of Net Enabled Weapons (NEW), such as the Joint Stand Off Weapon (JSOW-C1), Small Diameter Bomb (SDB)-II and OASuW weapons, with the development and fielding of counter-red C4ISR decoy and deception capabilities will increase target accuracy and thwart an adversary’s knowledge of blue forces.
Advanced capabilities developed during the 2020 to 2028 timeframe will prevent an adversary from initiating kinetic and non-kinetic operations and enable increased weapon range, effectiveness and lethality. The employment of cyber-based military deception tactics to slow or confuse adversary planning and targeting efforts and the development of a cyber-exploitation and attack capability to predict and defeat cyber-attacks before they occur coupled with a fully integrated offensive cyber capability into military operations will help prepare the battlespace in major campaigns and in locating and identifying high value targets in irregular and conventional warfare.
The roadmap states that innovative technologies are needed to advance the EM Maneuver Warfare concept as a primary element of warfighting. In the future, Navy’s IF capabilities will enable forces to promptly act across domains to neutralize A2/AD threats by degrading, disrupting or destroying adversary space, air, maritime and land capabilities.
The roadmap illustrates the Navy’s understanding of how information dominance contributes to its mission in both current and future operating environments. It helps in the tough calls in both programmatic resourcing and how the Navy organizes, trains and equips the fleet to fight with these capabilities. Finally, it keeps industry, scientific and technical partners fully apprised of the Navy’s future needs and priorities.
Future information effects will be designed with the intent to impact and change adversary behaviors, or control, manipulate, deny, degrade or destroy their warfighting capabilities.
The entire U.S. Navy Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028 can be accessed via the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S.10th Fleet website: www.fcc.navy.mil/
Forecasts in Advanced Computing Power
Information and communication technology, advanced electronics, bioengineering and nanotechnology will all have profound effects on military operations in the coming years. Some scientific advances may well redefine many dimensions of civilian society. Developments in quantum computing and nanotechnology could lead to a fighting force further enhanced by improved robotics and remotely-guided autonomous and miniaturized weapons, all supported by advanced communications systems that will become more self-organizing and distributed.
Forecasts from the Army’s Operational Environment (OE) 2009–2025 indicate that:
- By 2015, computer chips will have evolved from silicon transistors to nanomaterials.
- Computing power is expected to grow exponentially in the next 10 to 20 years, with computing speeds more than 1,000 times faster than today’s supercomputer.
- New data storage techniques such as “nanotechnology-enabled memory” will vastly increase the capacity to store and transmit data.
- In terms of bandwidth (ashore), supply will exceed demand.
- By 2025, given other advances in science and technology, quantum computing will be possible.
Dual-use Information Technologies: Relatively low-cost, dual-use civilian technologies involving high-resolution imagery, information transfer and display, and global positioning systems are widely available on the commercial market and will continue to proliferate. Such dual-use technology transfers have already proven invaluable to those actors seeking to upgrade their weapons systems or facilitate research and development efforts. This spread of low-cost, high technology commercial systems could present the U.S. with an array of future technological peers in a relatively short timeframe.
- Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028
Edited from the U.S. Navy Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028 by Sharon Anderson