SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L), Frank Kendall, visited the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's (SPAWAR) Old Town Campus and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific's (SSC PAC's) facilities Aug. 24, 2016.
During his trip, Secretary Kendall exchanged ideas with Navy cyber acquisition warriors during an All Hands meeting, an awards ceremony, roundtables and laboratory tours. He had the opportunity to interact with disparate members of the SPAWAR enterprise, which includes headquarters, Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), PEO Space Systems, SSC PAC and SSC Atlantic. The intent of the undersecretary's visit was to meet personally with the SPAWAR acquisition workforce and command leadership to hear firsthand their challenges, successes, questions and concerns as well as to provide an update on AT&L priorities and initiatives.
"With Better Buying Power and things like Should Cost and getting better deals, you start to see a significant improvement," said Secretary Kendall during an all-hands assembly at SPAWAR headquarters. "BBP] is going on to this day, and we need to continue this."
During the all-hands, the undersecretary also handed out several Spotlight Recognition Awards to highlight specific SPAWAR-enterprise accomplishments that contribute to AT&L priorities and/or Better Buying Power (BBP) 3.0 initiatives. The recipients were:
Bill Farmer who directed efforts to establish C4I cyber baselines that will ensure ships receive the most complete and secure C4I systems. As a leader in SPAWAR's cybersecurity efforts, he made significant gains in delivering certified C4I systems and services that enable sustainable cyber-ready platforms while also reducing vulnerabilities.
Emily Nguyen for her leadership as the project manager of a team that releases six software applications each month for U.S. Marines. The team rapidly develops and deploys software solutions to meet technology gaps identified by Marine Expeditionary Forces. She also employs the agile software development process to incorporate user feedback quickly into the development of capabilities. This approach results in shorter delivery times, less re-work and evolved solutions that better match emergent warfighter requirements.
Dai Nguyen for his successful development and implementation of a Virtual Training Environment (VTE) solution for Network Security Vulnerability Technicians. His innovative approach gives the Navy the ability to quickly refresh technology and to deliver updated instruction to Sailors underway or in fleet concentration areas. His VTE effort will result in approximately $6 million in lifecycle savings and will improve the effectiveness of other C4I end-to-end training in VTEs.
"Training is important to Sailors," Dai Nguyen said. "By virtualizing training we make it more efficient. We help warfighters spend more time on missions instead of in class, and we can invest money and time that used to be spent on training back into other resources for the Navy. I want to emphasize that this is a team effort. A dedicated group of people makes this successful."
During the All Hands, Kendall spoke about BBP 3.0, the latest iteration of the Defense Department's plan to be as efficient as possible when providing capability to the warfighter. The 3.0 version has special relevancy to the SPAWAR community, which is a leader in cyber for the Navy. Cybersecurity is a new emphasis area, and the overall focus of BBP 3.0 is the overriding concern that U.S. technological superiority is at risk. Recognizing that innovation increasingly emanates from the commercial sector and overseas, the guidance emphasizes the importance of the federal workforce in identifying and using these sources of innovation and technology.
Secretary Kendall is promoting interaction between the Armed Forces and industry to create a stronger cyber culture in U.S. military missions. Advancing cyber capability includes changing an acquisition process that is too lengthy to keep up with the speed at which cyber evolves. The strategic goals and activities of the SPAWAR enterprise align well with BBP 3.0, paving the way to enable delivery of modern information technology services; to own cyber technical leadership; to reduce the cost of operations; and to optimize the cyber workforce. The work at all levels boils down to a more simple idea: provide warfighters with the latest cyber capabilities so they can win on every battlefield every time.
SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. David Lewis said, "SPAWAR delivers cyber warfighting capabilities from seabed to space. Better Buying Power 3.0 helps us continue our mission to support the fleet with secure and effective information systems to fight in the cyber domain."
After his remarks, Secretary Kendall took questions from the workforce about efficiencies, processes and the impact of fixed-cost contracts on limiting competition among cutting-edge industry partners. Kendall provided in-depth responses on how his office and the Defense Department are addressing these types of concerns and issues.
Kendall spent his afternoon touring SPAWAR System Center Pacific's extensive laboratories such as the Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality Lab which is exploring the warfighting possibilities of virtual and augmented reality.
With his extensive technical background, Kendall meshed quickly with the engineers and scientists as they jumped from demonstrations on cyber situational awareness and unmanned vehicles to nanosats and command and control systems. He completed his tour onboard the navy's newest autonomous surface test vessel the Sea Hunter; the naval warship equivalent to a self-driving car.
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