San Diego—Capt. William “Ben” McNeal, program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Tactical Networks Program Office (PMW 160), received a 2016 Department of the Navy Information Management/Information Technology (DON IM/IT) Excellence Award (Individual) during a ceremony at the DON IT West Coast Conference February 17.
According to the DON Chief Information Officer (DON CIO) criteria, the award recognizes an individual who “transformed the Navy and Marine Corps through information technology. Winners were selected for their superior leadership skills and innovative use of IM/IT to significantly improve the effectiveness of the organization in delivering its mission.” Capt. McNeal earned the prestigious honor through his work leading the Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program.
“CANES is an important step forward in information warfare for our Navy and our military,” he said. “Guiding its initial implementation has been my privilege, but this award extends beyond me and really belongs to the hundreds of Sailors, civilians, and contractors who have worked as a team to make CANES a reality for the fleet.”
CANES is a $10 billion major acquisition program with an inventory objective of 178 ships, submarines, and shore sites. It contributes to enterprise IT initiatives by consolidating five existing networks and reducing the afloat IT footprint while providing a common IT infrastructure across all security domains.
Capt. McNeal brought the CANES program from concept to reality, guiding it through its first installations to full at-sea operations on 28 ships as of Feb. 17, 2016. Capt. McNeal also led CANES to a Full Deployment Decision on Oct. 13, 2015, which granted authority to field CANES’ full target inventory and delegated Milestone Decision Authority from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition).
The captain also established a technology refresh strategy that ensures the system is modernized on a regular basis to provide increased capabilities, mitigate end-of-life vulnerabilities and maintain pace with the latest cybersecurity tools. To streamline application hosting, he manages the Application Integration process that tests the integrated fabric of the network, applications, connected systems and cybersecurity to ensure they meet mission requirements.
“CANES is an incredibly complex undertaking,” Capt. McNeal explained. “It’s not just about converging networks. At this stage in the program’s lifecycle, we are advancing from the evolutionary step of transitioning from legacy networks to the revolutionary steps necessary to realize the enterprise vision of CANES. That evolution is about creating a warfighting platform that offers more security and more functionality to users. It’s about looking at the future and building in methods to leverage the computing advancements of industry so that we can pace and exceed the cybersecurity threat while not falling behind the technology curve. The award is not about what I did, it’s about what matters for our Sailors and for our Navy.”