WASHINGTON — The Navy plans to experiment with an information warfare cell at a maritime operations center during a big exercise this year, according to a top official.

The concept stems from the addition of information warfare composite commanders at the carrier strike group level, Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, N2/N6, said Wednesday at the C4ISRNET Conference.

Beginning in 2017, the Navy created information warfare commanders at each strike group to act as the focal point for the strike group commander to integrate disparate aspects of information warfare from electromagnetic spectrum to cyberspace to intelligence to oceanographic operations.

“I talk to every strike group commander that comes to the Pentagon; I ask him specifically, ‘How is that IWC [information warfare commander] concept working?’ Every one of them love their IWC and love that concept,” Trussler said. “It’s worked out very well.”

As the information warfare environment becomes more complex and more important, the Navy wants to replicate the tactical-level concept at the operational level.

Trussler said the Navy will experiment with these cells at the maritime operations centers, which is where the joint force maritime component commanders sit and where the operational level of war takes place.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday has expressed the desire to build out new dedicated information warfare cells within fleet maritime operations centers, a project that was supposed to be informed by the results from an exercise that was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the Navy will experiment with the information warfare cell at its Large Scale Exercise scheduled later this year, using feedback to further evaluate the concept, Trussler said.

At the end of 2019, Gilday had noted that exercises would help refine requirements and timelines for the information warfare cells as part of the budgeting process for fiscal 2022.

“We think it’s a powerful concept. We think it’s just a continued maturation of the information age, and we need to manage that information differently, not only with the tools we’re going to develop, but with how we process that in the decision-making of a commander and his staff,” Trussler said.

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

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