The rapid expansion of the Internet of Things and the rise of digitization are transforming our world and the way the Navy does business. In fact, it is predicted that by the year 2020 the number of Internet-connected devices will reach or even exceed 50 billion.
By Elisha Gamboa, staff writer, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific Public Affairs
The Internet of Things refers to devices or objects that are connected to the Internet such as a personal cell phone, tablet, or smart watch, while digitization is the process of converting information into a digital format. For example, mail has been converted to email, books to eBooks, maps to GPS, and so much more.
To explore this digital transformation, and address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) joined industry, military, academia and other government organizations at the 2017 Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Symposium April 26 and 27 at the Liberty Station Conference Center in San Diego, California.
During the two-day conference, sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), SSC Pacific leaders and senior decision makers served as speakers, moderators and panelists to stimulate discussion about the future needs and requirements of the fleet, and to plan, prepare and deliver the next generation of warfighting capabilities.
Kicking off the event, Capt. Gisele Bonitz, SSC Pacific’s commanding officer, turned the audience’s attention to the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX), held at Camp Pendleton concurrently where government, industry, military and academia worked together to rapidly prototype, demonstrate and experiment with emerging technologies to improve future warfighting capabilities.
“We need to ensure that we understand the warfighting environment, that we anticipate the warfighters’ demands, and that we continue to push ourselves to discover new and innovative ways to provide C4ISR and space solutions for the warfighters, before they even know they need it,” said Bonitz.
Following Bonitz, George Galdorisi, SSC Pacific director of Corporate Strategy and Rachel Volner, SSC Pacific strategic analyst, discussed the “Strategic Landscape Facing the DoD and the Navy.”
“SSC Pacific supports the Navy and Marine Corps and in doing so we have to be able to walk in our warfighters’ shoes and understand the current and future digital warfighting environment,” said Galdorisi.
Volner spoke about the Navy’s new Digital Warfare Office, quoting Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, deputy chief of naval operations for Information Warfare/director of Naval Intelligence, saying the Digital Warfare Office “would work to emulate industry who has long been able to leverage their own data into digital strategies and make smarter business decisions.”
Throughout the day, subject matter experts discussed a number of topics ranging from “Architecting a Digital Navy,” to “Using Open Standards to Drive Interoperability,” to “Cyber Security Policy and Strategy,” all of which came back to the issue of digital transformation.
During the second day of the symposium, Delores Washburn, SSC Pacific’s chief engineer, led a discussion focused on data management strategies for the Internet of Things.
“The Internet of Things is the merging of the physical world with the computer-based world,” said Washburn. “As the Internet of Things continues to increase, we are going to have automated everything— from smart homes, to smart cities, to smart factories. The question is how do we, the DoD, leverage that.”
Other panels included “Operating in a Cloud Environment” and “Mobility and Security in a Digital World.”
Concluding the event, Peter W. Singer, author of “Ghost Fleet” and an editor with Popular Science, spoke to the audience about Internet trends, and how we need to be aware of how these trends are shaping the world that we live in and changing the environment that the military operates in.
“What is coming on line is not just merely smart phones, it is smart cars, smart power grids, smart toys, things bundled together into smart bases,” said Singer. “This whole idea of bringing this all together changes our experience of the Internet, it brings massive new innovation and efficiencies, but it also brings new consequences.”
Looking to the future, the C4ISR Symposium raises money for the AFCEA San Diego Education Foundation, with 100 percent of the symposium's proceeds donated to a program that encourages and benefits students and teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.