Why Next 10 Years of Information Warfare Will Smash Last 10
By Synlethia Bagwell, NIWDC N5 S&T/Innovation Department
The Navy began transforming Information Warfare (IW) capabilities with the establishment of the Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC) in March 2017. The center leverages the advantages of a multi-domain environment, shifting from traditional platform-centric warfare tactics toward an integrated holistic approach that capitalizes on warfighting power in multiple domains at sea and on shore.
Warfighting development centers (WDCs) enhance Fleet high-end warfighting capabilities and readiness at the operational and tactical levels of war. In support of combatant commanders, numbered fleet commanders, strike group commanders and other operational commanders, part of NIWDC’s first year strategy is to institute a roadmap to develop full operational capability and establish IW programs, processes and tactics relevant to the Fleet.
NIWDC’s lines of effort include advanced training, doctrine development and experimentation, subject matter expertise (SME) support and warfighting assessments. To date, the center’s approach has led to notable accomplishments in experimentation and doctrine. Additionally, SME support for fleet tactical grid, which introduces the concept of sensor integration through experimentation and the publication of intelligence support to visit, board, search, and seizure operations and operational security tactical memorandums are just a few examples.
The center is comprised of a core staff and six mission area departments that provide expertise in command and control, cyberspace operations, electronic warfare, intelligence, meteorology and oceanography, information operations and space capabilities. This expertise supports Fleet efforts to improve IW operations and drive mission success. As the Fleet lead for IW, NIWDC has a unique mission to increase warfighting effectiveness across platforms and in all domains by providing advanced IW tactics and training across individual, unit, and integrated levels to transform combat and day-to-day operations in support of global missions. These initiatives align across afloat and ashore IW capabilities and support tactical development and experimentation.
Modernization efforts of near-peer competitors require the Navy to project power during peacetime and war as the maritime warfighter must be prepared to face non-state actors and less traditional threats that "think outside the box." In order to mitigate evolving threats, NIWDC has the responsibility to enhance IW capabilities that provide the Fleet with options to more effectively conduct the mission.
NIWDC’s vision is to provide a standardized advanced training program (individual and team) that produces IW tactical experts, while hastening efforts to accelerate "cutting edge" IW capabilities in support of operational plans, direct warfighting, global information and operational environments, as well as day-to-day forward presence operations.
Advanced training and the development of the Warfare Tactics Expert (WTE) and the Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) programs are NIWDC’s top priorities. The programs will provide the Navy with first rate mid-level IW officers, who know how to use the newest tactics and training processes to support 21st century warfighting. Future plans for an enlisted program are being reviewed. NIWDC-trained Sailors will follow a training pipeline that brings NIWDC mission areas together to promote an understanding of IW warfighting. Graduates will be designated as WTEs, and with additional training, an elite subset will become WTIs, supporting the Fleet demand for tactical experts in IW mission areas. NIWDC is also developing live, virtual, and constructive training capabilities to effectively train the Fleet to meet objectives in the Optimized Fleet Response Plan.
An aggressive campaign to establish an IW tactics training program also has its challenges as it involves engaging support from communities that will be required to embrace change. The Navy is faced with continual changes in information warfare and information technology, and NIWDC is at the forefront to lead Navy efforts in this critical warfare area. NIWDC will prepare the Fleet for future conflicts by integrating all aspects of IW to enhance warfighting power and battle space awareness at the right place and the right time. The IW Commander will lead efforts that allow the Navy to maintain a decisive edge in the IW domain. The establishment of NIWDC was a huge step toward implementing an advanced warfighting model that ensures warfighting capability and readiness.
New concepts, innovation, and technologies must be incorporated into the Fleet, as the U.S. Navy strives to strike the balance between a competitive security environment and developing a more effective Navy.
NIWDC’s concept of operations (CONOPS) development and experimentation efforts supports new concepts and emerging technologies that have the potential to transform maritime warfighting tactics. Outcomes from experimentation and doctrine development reveal doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy (DOTMLPF-P) gaps that highlight the need to adapt to changing operational and tactical environments. NIWDC’s integrated approach redefines maritime warfighting with IW capabilities that address advancing and evolving technology and information.
Doctrine and tactics, techniques and procedures development (TTP), and validation support Fleet IW training on tactics implemented to support the mission. The need for doctrine that assesses communications in contested environments is particularly acute to retain sea control amid emerging threats. NIWDC’s strategy to address doctrine includes coordination with other WDCs to develop new doctrine and provide revisions to existing doctrine to provide support in areas where the Fleet needs it most.
Recognizing the impact of innovation and Fleet experimentation, NIWDC began planning for Trident Warrior ’18 (TW ‘18) shortly after establishment of the command in 2017. TW ’18 will provide an opportunity for the Fleet to evaluate new innovations in real-time for TTP development in the IW domain. NIWDC’s participation in TW ‘18 will involve data collection, reporting, and technical analysis targeting cybersecurity issues. IW is a focal point as improved information sharing and maintaining a favorable tactical situation (TACSIT) while maneuvering critical elements for warfighting success. NIWDC is paying attention, the command’s contributions assist with capabilities that help the Navy mitigate threats associated with cyberspace.
Adversaries’ capabilities are becoming more sophisticated and their tactics are less predictable. Warfighting readiness must improve by revolutionizing how IW is executed in the Fleet. NIWDC plays a key role in this transformation by aligning and synchronizing efforts amongst various IW communities. As the Fleet lead for IW doctrine and TTP development, NIWDC provides relevance, supporting the effectiveness of naval forces. NIWDC represents a new approach to IW, supporting multiple warfare areas with a warfighting model that works.