To gain greater unity of effort across its information warfare entities, including those at sea and those ashore, the Navy last fall created an information warfare enterprise.

“We needed an enterprise governance system,” Vice Adm. Brian Brown, commander of Naval Information Forces command, said May 6 at the Sea-Air-Space conference. “We formed an [information warfare enterprise] to start getting after how do we get the continuum of readiness from the shore platform all the way out to the mobile platforms.”

Since then, he said, the IW enterprise, essentially an arrangement to unify IW across the service, has followed the paths of the surface warfare, naval aviation and undersea warfare enterprises.

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According to a chart displayed during Brown’s presentation, the enterprise consists of an executive committee that includes the deputy chief of naval operations for IW, the commander of Naval Information Forces, and the head of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. It also has a board of directors to include platform type commands, systems commands, resource sponsors, program executive officers and fleet stakeholders.

Specifically, the group of information warfare leaders are focusing on three primary areas:

  • Ensuring information warfare readiness: This includes manning, training and equipping; sustainment and modernization; resiliency and redundancy; cybersecurity; integrated product support; configuration management; operational effectiveness; metrics; and technological authority, standards and certification.
  • Advancing information warfare capabilities: This includes rapid acquisition, implementation and integration; tech advances in big data and artificial intelligence; concepts of operation, tactics, techniques and procedures; lethality; and tactical development.
  • Aligning and integrating information warfare: This includes alignment across stakeholders, domains and platforms; interoperability; a C4I-based (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) road map and prioritized requirements; execution alignment; and smarter investments.

Brown said the initial focus areas of the enterprise this year will include fleet integration, shore modernization governance, and information-warfare training and metrics maturation.

Other top leaders also stressed the importance of information warfare.

“It’s just not the technology in this business, it’s [that] the information itself has become a vital commodity for people to get their hands on, to understand and to use it as a war-fighting advantage,” Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence, said during the same conference. “I’m looking at the organizers of Sea-Air-Space, I’m wondering if we don’t have the name of this event right anymore. It’s sea, it’s air, it’s space and I think we ought to add an ‘I’ to that for information.”

Kohler said information must be part of the Navy’s war-fighting approach, whether part of the high-end kinetic fight or day-to-day operations.

But Brown added that the Navy’s larger, distributed maritime operations concept doesn’t work without the three legs of the information triad that underpin it:

  • Assured command and control, which consist of communications, networks, cybersecurity and fire controls.
  • Battlespace awareness, which consist of information content, such as intelligence.
  • Integrated fires, including the merging of information operations and electronic warfare into kinetic operations.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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