SPAWAR assistant program managers for engineering (APM-E) and other representatives from SPAWAR’s Office of the Chief Engineer used this opportunity to gather candid customer feedback to better understand how well their systems and portfolios are meeting fleet expectations, solving fleet problems and fulfilling fleet needs.
APM-Es are experienced SPAWAR engineers embedded in program offices to ensure engineering rigor and technical oversight for systems within their respective portfolios. There are about 70 APM-Es matrixed to SPAWAR’s three supported program executive offices today.
During the visit, SPAWAR engineers gathered raw feedback directly from the fleet, observed their equipment in operating spaces, interacted with system operators and maintainers, and exchanged contact information for targeted follow-up discussions.
More specifically, engineers discussed the benefits and challenges associated with operating and maintaining a number of SPAWAR systems with numerous members of the ships crew including strike group communication, intelligence and joint interface control officers; ships combat systems officers, combat systems information and maintenance officers; division officers and systems administrators; and representatives from the type commander.
“These opportunities don’t present themselves too often for our engineers,” said Capt. Dan Colpo, SPAWAR’s Office of the Chief Engineer principal military deputy. “Anytime we have a chance to see and hear from the operators and maintainers on how the systems we help design, produce and deploy are helping our warfighters fight and win, we’re going to take full advantage of it.”
Participating APM-Es included representatives for the following SPAWAR systems and portfolios: Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES), Distributed Common Ground System-Navy, Global Command and Control System-Maritime, carrier and air integration, and ship integration.
This visit was especially notable because the Stennis was the first aircraft carrier to receive and implement CANES, a network infrastructure designed to consolidate and enhance five shipboard legacy network programs to provide the common computing environment infrastructure for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence. Talking to those who are operating and maintaining SPAWAR systems reinforced to SPAWAR participants the importance of their role in developing and delivering warfighting capabilities to the fleet.
“Ship visits to platforms like Stennis, where we have nearly the full range of SPAWAR products, help engineers and scientists better understand what the operators and maintainers really need,” said Cdr. Patrick Pemberton, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) combat systems officer. “We always jump on the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the engineering teams since that will help us down the road with improved products."
Concluding the visit, SPAWAR engineers left the ship visit with valuable feedback and recommendations on how to improve processes, architecture and integration efforts that inform requirements, design and interoperability. Additionally, they came away with a better understanding of the challenges associated with configuration management, human integration, and the size, weight and power of systems.
SPAWAR is dedicated to the continual advancement of their products and services. These type of opportunities allow the developers and the end-users to have a two-way conversation about what is working, what is not, and how they can work together to improve warfighting capabilities in the future.
SPAWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities supporting naval, joint, coalition and other national missions. SPAWAR consists of more than 10,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet to keep SPAWAR at the forefront of research, engineering and acquisition to provide and sustain information warfare capabilities to the fleet.