CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic leadership and initiatives were highlighted during the 11th annual Charleston Defense Contractors Association (CDCA) Defense Summit, held Dec. 5 through 8.
Keynote speeches, panels, technical track discussions and exhibits featured SSC Atlantic employees and center programs involving command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I), cyber forensics, cybersecurity and system development, software defined networks, and transitioning science and technology investments to the battlefield for Marines.
The CDCA Defense Summit's theme, "Powered by Technology, Energized with Community," highlighted the collaborative spirit of the defense and contractor community. The summit agenda included flag officers and senior civilian leaders from the National Security Agency, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Secret Service, Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS), HP Enterprises, Microsoft Services, The Citadel and the Medical University of S.C.
SSC Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Heller welcomed the more than 1,200 attendees on the first day of the conference, and showed a video highlighting the center's accomplishments during 2017, including 1,297 command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) installations, 5,930 casualty reports (equipment needing repair), 77,745 incident tickets, 6,130 contract actions, $1.6 billion contract dollars obligated, 94 robotics teams sponsored, 44,500 student contacts and more than 17,000 volunteer hours expended by SSC Atlantic employees.
Chris Miller, executive director of SSC Atlantic, served as a keynote speaker during the first day of CDCA, discussing the accelerated pace of technology and the strategic transition point our nation now faces.
"After more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are beginning to reset our military to focus on the threats and opportunities that will define our future," Miller said. "Meanwhile our adversaries have been adopting and modernizing for the future operating environment."
In addition to building key technical capabilities at SSC Atlantic and partnering with industry, Miller said there is a need to focus on the speed of decision making, making speed a key performance parameter in center operations.
Miller said that artificial intelligence (AI) and "big data" represent the next big revolution. Using the example of Stanford University computer scientists who created an algorithm that processes visual data to diagnose melanoma, Miller said AI is the next big game changer in the C4ISR realm. Government and industry collaboration will be required to develop AI-enabled information warfare solutions, he added.
In a presentation Dec. 7, the commander of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), Rear Adm. Christian "Boris" Becker, discussed where SPAWAR is headed in the next decade and the critical role industry partners will continue to play. SPAWAR's vision remains as valid as it was three years ago, he said, but within the context of the strategic landscape there is an urgent need to counter the threat of diverse adversaries who are rapidly evolving new capabilities.
"Our vision stresses urgency, streamlining and capabilities that are designed to be easily upgradable and always current," Becker said, adding that SPAWAR's industry partnerships offer value for the warfighter and the taxpayer, leveraging the strength of government, the capacity of large businesses, and the agility and innovation of small businesses. "We need to think like one team to get this right."
On the last day of the conference, SSC Atlantic's contracting department representatives were on hand for the CDCA's 46th Small Business and Industry Outreach Initiative (SBIOI). Bill Deligne, deputy executive director of SSC Atlantic, kicked off the SBIOI with an update on key priorities and initiatives within the command.
Steve Harnig, SSC Atlantic contract competency lead, and members of his team provided updates on contract metrics and opportunities. Contract-related workshops on doing business with SPAWAR, small business strategies, proposal evaluation processes and other information useful to prospective industry partners was also presented. A reverse industry panel allowed a team of industry partner leaders to provide valuable feedback to the entire SSC Atlantic contracts team.