To maintain a decisive edge over the enemy the Navy must accelerate its operations and how it develops as a service, particularly when it comes to dealing with big data, according to top naval leadership.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, speaking at the 68th Current Strategy Forum that took place at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island on June 13, addressed concerns about the "OODA Loop," according to Federal News Radio. OODA is an acronym for the cyclic strategy decisions combat operations go through, meaning "Observe, Orient, Decide and Act."
With the rapid advancement of technology, more and more devices are gathering and feeding data throughout the web. As these connections progress, more information will be brought forth and with that information comes "a new age of cognitive computing decision, and cognitive assistance, machine assistance, to help us make sense of all that data," Richardson said.
The U.S.'s advantage in observation is deteriorating, according to Richardson, because the critical detail of orientation, the second "O," has changed. Sea Power Magazine reports Richardson said that the orientation entails rapidly sorting through "avalanches" of data coming in from the ever-expanding Internet of Things while still understanding the operational environment to find any important changes.
"In an era in which cube sats are being launched into space, and zetabytes of information available, the advantage boils down to not who gets the information, but who can make the better sense of it. Who can orient themselves better, and make the better decision," he said.
Similarly, the Army is seeing and preparing for a "change of character" in military competition. According to a post authored by Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on the Association of the U.S. Army's website, the character of war can be defined as the "expression and form" of war, which is known to change due to "unique geopolitical, social, demographic, economic and technological developments interacting, often unevenly, over time."
This change means that "speed of recognition, decision, assemble, and action" will be a premium in war and conflicts. Plus, the change will bring about vicious contesting of all domains, including any that have previously and unquestionably held by America, Milley noted.
The Navy no longer has the "luxury of moving slowly. It is an imperative to speed up," Richardson said. Also off the table: leaving information and data unexamined. "The team that orients and decides better is going to win. ... This era of precision and observation is giving way to an era of competition for decision," he said.
"The sensors are now omnipresent, the positioning information is embedded, so now the competition [is] orienting, finding a way through that information and making a decision," he added.