SAN DIEGO - The Navy’s Tactical Networks Program Office (PMW 160) successfully completed virtual environment for training (VE4T) for more than 50 Sailors on board the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), April 28 and May 12.
The VE4T training events were on the Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) on board Mount Whitney and Blue Ridge. In 2016, PMW 160, along with the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), partner program offices and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command completed the pre-pilot for virtualizing schoolhouse training for CANES. This pre-pilot set the stage for bringing high-velocity learning to CANES and the recently conducted training events for the VE4T.
The VE4T training events validated that effective CANES training can be provided in remote locations and on a ship’s upgraded CANES system baseline while avoiding the expense of sending Sailors to schoolhouses located in fleet concentration areas stateside.
“San Diego and Norfolk [Virginia] are the only two locations where Sailors are now trained on CANES and earn the CANES NEC [Navy enlisted classification code],” said Nichole Sellers, PMW 160 assistant program manager, training. “We are limited to only 12 seats per class with 10 classes per year per location. That means that only about 240 Sailors can be trained each year.”
PMW 160 worked with the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) CANES schoolhouses to implement the VE4T model of training, which depends less on physical configurations of CANES and more on virtualizing those configurations. This approach makes training accessible via laptops and desktop terminals at Navy Education and Training Center (NETC) electronic classrooms worldwide.
“This training methodology potentially increases available seats from 240 a year, up to 840 while reducing travel costs,” said Sellers. The VE4T enables students to receive differences training to cover any upgrades their system received without leaving their ship’s homeport, which saves travel costs.
“Differences training is offered as follow-on training to CANES system technicians and is tailored to the ship’s network configuration,” said Sellers.
Blue Ridge is the first in its class to host the VE4T training for CANES. This training was conducted remotely in its homeport in Yokosuka, Japan with the curriculum provided electronically from the training development site stateside. Twenty-eight Blue Ridge Sailors took part in the differences training utilizing an NETC electronic classroom located within walking distance of the ship. The curriculum focused on the differences between the CIWT CANES schoolhouse training and Blue Ridge’s technology refresh upgrade. “Blue Ridge Upgrades Network to CANES,” features the Blue Ridge crew’s perspective on receiving CANES and the improved capabilities it provides.
Mount Whitney, normally homeported in Gaeta, Italy, entered dry-dock December 2016 in Croatia for a vital systems and hospitality upgrade including the installation of CANES. A training team flew out to Mount Whitney and conducted CANES VE4T training for 31 Sailors.
"The CANES differences training proved to be quite advantageous to USS Mount Whitney Sailors,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Caleb R. Hunsaker, a Sailor assigned to Mount Whitney.
“It was excellent refresher training on the CANES network and software utilities while providing a comprehensive overview on both the hardware and software differences between the baseline build and our upgraded version," said Hunsaker.
CANES replaces existing afloat networks and provides the necessary modern infrastructure and services for applications and systems to operate in the cyber domain. CANES hosts and connects the latest command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, warfighting, and business applications used by the fleet.
“Our Sailors are on the front lines of cyber defense and training is key to mission success - with these new approaches we can deliver more in depth and dynamic training to keep pace with the rapid changes in technology and defend our afloat networks,” said Capt. Kurt Rothenhaus, PMW 160 program manager.
PMW 160 provides mission effective, affordable and cyber resilient networks for Navy tactical forces and delivers integrated wide area, local networking and computing and data systems afloat to support a robust network of geographically dispersed Navy, joint service and coalition forces.