NORFOLK – Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic hosted the quarterly fleet Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) familiarization seminar to increase fleet readiness February 11-14, in Norfolk, Virginia.
Sponsored by Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) and Program Executive Office (PEO) C4I and Space Systems, the event is geared towards Carrier Strike Group and Amphibious Ready Group personnel who require familiarity with current afloat C4ISR systems and associated installation and logistics support processes and points of contact. This is the first of these seminars to take place outside of San Diego.
“In today’s great power competition, we must take every opportunity to improve fleet readiness,” said NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker. “These seminars help us connect with fleet operators that use our systems, especially given the unprecedented pace of technological advancements that we are seeing today and will continue to see in the future. It is imperative that we stay tightly coupled with the fleet.”
NAVWAR and PEO C4I program managers, engineers, and associated commands directly involved with afloat C4ISR system planning, installation, integration, logistics, and fleet support presented briefs to attendees covering a host of topics including overviews of NAVWAR and the Fleet Readiness Directorate, as well as available C4ISR training; platform integration for aircraft carriers, ships, and submarines; shore and expeditionary systems infrastructure; system lifecycle readiness resources; the C4ISR system program; cyber readiness and security; fleet C5I modernization; casualty resolution support, and more.
“The course is dynamic in that it is constantly being updated by the program offices, the NIWC’s, and all the other entities that brief during the seminar,” said Capt. George Clark, NAVWAR 4.1/4.2 Department Head. “You can sense the energy from the presenters that they’re glad to be talking to a new group of folks who haven’t had this material before.”
The quarterly seminars, open to afloat, deploying C4ISR staff and ships company personnel (E7 or above), are intended to improve fleet understanding of C4ISR capabilities, installation processes and deployment preparations for NAVWAR and PEO C4I systems.
“It’s a good opportunity to meet your counterparts on other ships too,” said Clark. “It provides a forum where people who perform the same function in the Navy come together and not only learn, but talk with each other, and maybe learn something from their buddy down the pier who they hadn’t met before.”
Clark and long-time seminar coordinator Maria DeSandre, have the continuous task of ensuring the quarterly seminars go off without a hitch. It is the responsibility of Clark, DeSandre, and rest of their department to collect and consolidate briefs and keep attendees informed on the logistics, despite the challenges associated with this event being the first to happen on the east coast.
“I think it’s safe to say this has been a big success. We’ve got 111 people here and normally in San Diego we usually get around 70 [people],” said Clark. “NIWC Atlantic has been really instrumental in helping us put this together, both with logistics and helping us find subject matter experts (SMEs) that live in Norfolk that can brief, because we weren’t able to bring all of the briefers from San Diego.”
According to Clark, after the next seminar toward the end of the spring/early summer in San Diego, the team is expected to take the show on the road again to its first overseas location in Yokosuka, Japan.
“So, when we go back [to San Diego] and the admiral decides to expand our east and/or west coast offerings, now we’ve got the opportunity to tap into the SME’s in Norfolk and Charleston,” said Clark. “We’ll use SMEs in Hawaii and Japan to do the majority of the presenting so we don’t have to fly people over or rely on video teleconferencing because, as you can imagine, with the time difference [13 hours] that would be challenging. Then hopefully we’ll hit the Pacific Northwest and possibly Mayport [Florida] sometime in the next fiscal year.”
Clark added it’s important for commands to invest the time and money in sending their people to this course, whether in Norfolk or San Diego.
“In the Navy, we have schools for all of our systems, but there aren’t many opportunities where you can gather folks from the program office and headquarters, the NIWC’s and the In-Service Engineering Activity who provide the waterfront support, into one place to hear all of them, and be able to paint the picture of how this place works. For me, it’s a unique opportunity, and one that commands should support if they can, because it provides a great return on investment.”
As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.