"The pace at which potential competitors are moving demands that we in turn increase the speed at which we act. Our advantage is shrinking - we must reverse this trend," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson in his white paper published in The Future Navy, May 2017.
SSC Pacific is following Richardson's lead and is working to 'reverse this trend,' and increase the fleet's advantage.
Most recently, SSC Pacific participated in WEST 2018, the leading naval conference and exposition on the West Coast. The three-day conference took place at the San Diego Convention Center, Feb 6-8, where government, military and industry leaders came together to demonstrate cutting-edge technologies and discuss how new operational concepts can strengthen the fleet's warfighting capabilities, now and into the future.
Co-sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International and the U.S. Naval Institute, WEST challenges leading subject matter experts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from across the nation to 'increase the speed at which we act,' to work together in quickly identifying problems and efficiently providing solutions.
In its third year at WEST, the Navy Information Warfare (IW) pavilion took center stage with its forward thinking and innovative technology, showcasing some of the most ground-breaking products and services being delivered to the fleet today. Additionally, the IW Pavilion demonstrated the Navy's commitment to warfighting in the information age through the use of speakers, panels, subject matter experts and capability displays.
During the event, SSC Pacific joined a number of IW pavilion exhibitors including the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet, Navy Information Forces Command, Office of Naval Intelligence, Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence and others.
One of the most anticipated events of WEST 2018 was the "Meet the SSC Pacific Business Portfolio Managers," session where attendees had the opportunity to exchange innovative ideas and discuss how they can potentially partner in the development and fielding of warfighting capabilities with Center Business Portfolio Managers in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting.
"It is very important that we know what industry has to offer, both in the near term as well as what technologies industry is investing in for the future," said Tom Tiernan, SSC Pacific's Executive Portfolio Manager. "Having the open dialogue with industry allowed us to hear their capabilities and questions about how to do business with us. Our workforce is a mix of government and industry engineers and scientists, and better understanding each other and working together will benefit the warfighter as we collectively and collaboratively transition concepts to capabilities."
Additionally, among WEST's featured speakers was SSC Pacific scientist Dr. Josh Harguess who lead a Young AFCEAN panel, titled "Disruptive by Design -- Artificial Intelligence: A Path Forward." Made up of government, industry and academia subject matter experts, the panel examined how the U.S. military should harness artificial intelligence (AI) to counter potential adversaries and maintain future superiority.
"AI will be integral to essentially every part of the military mission of the future," said Harguess. "From enhancing training with intelligent agents in virtual reality environments to improving intelligence gathering from satellite imagery and social media, AI has the potential to become a game-changer for today's military. However, there is much work to be done in making AI a reality for the war-fighter."
In addition to providing noteworthy speakers and participating in thought-provoking panel discussions, SSC Pacific showcased a number of innovative technologies and advanced warfighting capabilities dedicated to the fast pace modernization of today's Navy at the IW Pavilion, some of which included:
* Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) technology: The BEMR laboratory demonstrates how cutting edge, low cost commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) mixed reality technology-virtual and augmented reality- is applied to training, operations, prototyping, and maintenance applications within the Navy and Marine Corps in the near future.
* Accelerated Capability for Testing, Integration, and Operation of Nanosats (ACTION) Lab: The ACTION Lab enables rapid prototyping and demonstration of nanosat capabilities for the Navy and other Department of Defense (DoD) sponsors in a government-owned and operated environment. ACTION improves military nanosat speed-to-capability with a facility to integrate applications and payloads from various vendors and suppliers, including government-unique payloads, capabilities, and prototype solutions, prior to industry production.
* Atmospheric Propagation technologies: The Atmospheric Propagation Branch provides the Navy and DoD with basic research and fielded capabilities that can assess, predict, and leverage the ocean-atmosphere environment and its effects on propagating electromagnetic signals. At WEST 2018 they demonstrated their capability in developing tactical decision aids which incorporate meteorological and oceanographic data to improve overall electromagnetic situational awareness. Specifically, TrueView, a physics-based, electro-optical/infrared scene simulator; Refractivity Data Fusion, a radio frequency data fusion algorithm, and a High Energy Laser Weapon assessment tool were demonstrated. By providing these and other capabilities that determine what signals are propagating in the battlespace, that characterize all detected signals, and provide accurate predictions for system performance, the Atmospheric Propagation Branch enables full spectrum dominance and furthers the U.S. Navy and DoD mission.
* JUNO/BOND: The Jungle and Urban Non-GPS Orientation (JUNO) for the dismounted infantry Marine or Soldier provides a hands-free navigation aid that does not rely on GPS. Utilizing today's commercial technology, the Battlefield Objective Navigation Display (BOND) plots and identifies friendly forces, tactical control measures, and enemy threats on a user-centered map, thereby enhancing command and control and execution of combat operations in jungle and urban environments.
* LOST WARFIGHTER: The Lost Marine Beacon Finder assists search parties in locating dismounted infantry Marines during entry-level navigation training, where trainees rely on maps and compasses and are do not use phones or radios. The software is based off the first version of the SSC Pacific BOND Android app, which uses Internet-based Google services. Search party members, who include staff and sometimes students, can install the software on their personal phones to speed up the search.
* SPAWAR Unified DevOps Orchestration Engine (SUDOE): SUDOE has bridged the gap between development and deployment, and greatly improved the deployment phase by employing development operations principles and practices in conjunction with custom built software tools. SUDOE is an innovative approach using microservice architecture to reduce the bandwidth needed to deploy software. Following a set of best practices and utilizing a suite of open source and custom-built tools for provisioning management (Ansible), code scanning (SonarQube), code compilation (Jenkins), containerization (Docker), automated software orchestration (Kubernetes), and user-friendly infrastructure controls has led to a decrease in cost, on time deliveries, and more secure higher quality products. Additionally, SUDOE can be tailored and applied to DoD projects of varying requirements and complexity.
Concluding SSC Pacific's participation at WEST 2018, the BEMR Lab gave a brief on the advantages of incorporating mixed reality in the warfighting environment, focusing on the speed at which technologies and capabilities are delivered safely to the fleet. BEMR leads Heidi Buck and Mark Bilinski presented a number of mixed reality technologies including: virtual equipment environment (V2E) government-off- the-shelf virtual parts assembly and disassembly engine, GunnAR, a unified gunner system with augmented reality system, the 3D fleet scanning and virtual planning environment, and the Aircraft Carrier Environment Simulator.