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Compile To Combat In 24 Hours - Transforming The Navy's Information Warfighting Platform

RDML Danelle Barrett, USN, Navy Cyber Security Division Director
The Navy has moved out with “Compile to Combat in 24 Hours” (C2C24), a significant transformation of our information warfare platform.
 
When we think of the warfighting platforms that the Navy traditionally operates, we gravitate towards ships, aircraft and submarines. The advent of Information warfare has added a dynamic dimension to this mix -- those who best use and control information in the future will be the victors in conflict.

Ensuring the information warfare platform is in top form is key to success; it is a warfighting capability unto itself and is a supporting platform for those other traditional areas of warfighting that rely on networks, data and communications to achieve their operational effects.

In a world of exponentially accelerating and converging technology, speed is of the essence in getting our “information house” in order. C2C24 provides the roadmap for our journey. C2C24 uses industry open standards, best practices and capabilities to fundamentally change how we develop, exchange and use data across the naval enterprise for warfighting advantages.

By leveraging cutting-edge technology, and focusing on the transport and data layers, we can achieve improvements in speed and accuracy to enable superior decision making,capability delivery through to the tactical edge, operator confidence in the fidelity of data to make decisions, precise bandwidth use and quality of service for efficient data exchange, enhanced cybersecurity and greater awareness of network health.

  ​C2C24 provides not only the information warfare platform for operational advantages it provides is a platform for innovation and significant savings in resources through those process reforms   

C2C24 uses an enterprise framework approach to go after those challenges. It addresses the foundation of the Navy’s “information house,” the transport and data layers, by targeting four key pillars with an end-to-end view of putting in place infrastructure to apply big data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to use our information for warfighting advantages. Those four pillars of C2C24 are: data standardization, use of shared hardware and software infrastructure, automated cybersecurity and functional testing and deployment in a structured Development, Security and Operations (DEVSECOPS) environment, and use of the commercial cloud for big data analytics and improved cybersecurity. These pillars adhere to industry open standards and best practices so we can be agile and shift with our industry partners as they move to the next, best thing.

The importance of addressing the foundational issues from an end-to-end architecture perspective is the key to success. Unlike many commercial industries that operate on a single, homogenized network with almost limitless bandwidth, the Navy’s networks and communications infrastructure have long been an amalgam of networks, standards, development environments, and processes patched together but with many seams. These network and communications systems work, but were not designed holistically to provide the best inter operability, efficient movement and discovery of information, cybersecurity, or ability to rapidly insert new technology.

Ships at sea operate in austere bandwidth environments that require satellites to “reach back” to shore to exchange data. These ships must also be able to operate when satellites are not available so off-the-shelf solutions are not viable. With the exception of cruise or merchant shipping businesses, commercial industry typically does not face these same challenges.

With C2C24 and its four pillars, we are breaking with past practices and providing the structure, standards and information warfare platform that will be key to enable an agile operational information environment.

Over the years, disparate efforts have focused on specific pieces for data or transport improvements individually, because tacking the whole problem seemed insurmountable. But trying to fix the architecture piecemeal simply hit the tip of the iceberg and did not address data in the context of transport, which is critical for the Navy particularly to our tactical edge with ships at sea. C2C24 brings that holistic end-to-end architecture of how to standardize the data and move it efficiently to get the right information securely, to the right decision maker, at the right time.

The advantages of implementing the C2C24 framework go far beyond the technical and are resulting in process re-engineering across the Navy of legacy constructs that are now fundamentally different in the new more agile environment. This results in interoperability and capability improvements and enables significant process reform across the enterprise, as old methods simply don’t apply in this more agile and standardized environment.

Most of the challenges faced are not technical, they are cultural or institutional as innovation forces people to see things in a new way. Creative thinkers across the Navy are questioning every process and procedure that existed before, starting with a clean sheet of paper to see the art of the possible. By shedding old processes to wring out even the smallest efficiencies through reform and being willing to rapidly jettison old ways of doing business, we become more a more agile force, able to leverage new technologies quickly on our platform.

C2C24 provides not only the information warfare platform for operational advantages it provides is a platform for innovation and significant savings in resources through those process reforms. As we say in the Navy, this is an “all hands on deck” effort, and the spirit of creativity and innovation in the Navy are showing the force is up to the task.

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