The Navy's new strategy

The Navy is looked to expand the web of connections currently linking its ships, planes and weapons to include submarines, smaller ships and unmanned systems to create a warfighting network that would be challenging for an adversary to bring down, the Navy’s surface warfare director (OPNAV N96) said.

Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall said that the Navy is comfortable with its Aegis Combat System and the Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) construct built around it, but that the service would have to expand this idea to keep up with global threats.

“Unfortunately we’ve had a little bit of a glass ceiling at the ship level, and until we get to the system level and get that across all platforms, that’s the challenge,” he said of Aegis, while speaking at the American Society of Naval Engineer’s annual Combat System Symposium.

“We’ve got to continue what I think we have been the lead on in surface warfare: connecting sensors to those firing platforms. But again, that’s got to proliferate, and that’s got to proliferate amongst all the platforms that we have and all the different networks that we have.”

The ultimate goal, Boxall said, is to create a fleet where “more platforms – again, many of those being armed, hopefully – will create a network of armed nodes that the adversary has to deal with the entire system: not just that ship, not just that strike group or not just that submarine. That’s the future we’re getting into.”
I think the new F-35's will also fit into this systems approach to naval warfighting.  One of the key questions to such an approach is the vulnerability of the various ships and other craft to cyber attacks.


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