SPAWAR's strategic plan focusing on cyber

The plan, among other things, calls for advanced cyber capabilities, a clear structure for cyber leadership and ready access to data.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has released its 2016 Strategic Plan, which places adding advanced cyber capabilities among its five key objectives. The plan, which supports SPAWAR’s seven-year vision launched last year, was issued recently by SPAWAR Commander Adm. David Lewis.

“SPAWAR’s vision is to rapidly deliver cyber warfighting capability from seabed to space,” the strategy states in its overview, which emphasizes cyber’s inseparable presence in all warfighting systems.

The document defines cyber as “the all-encompassing domain of or related to computing, with networked capability that has been extended to provide a decisive advantage over our adversaries” adding that this capability extents to the core of the nation’s warfighting systems. “Our dependency on cyber for daily activities and warfighting advantage has revealed a new warfighting domain…Effective, assured cyber operations must become part of our core mission to maintain our warfighting advantage.”

To achieve SPAWAR’s vision, the document listed five goals: Accelerate and streamline delivery of new capability and advanced technology; enable the delivery of advanced IT and cyber capabilities and transform what it means to operate and maneuver within the cyber domain; provide the cyber technical leadership required across the Navy; reduce the cost of operations for affordable warfighting solutions, and; optimize the organization and workforce to enable these changes. 

Among several sub-objectives, SPAWAR described the need to identify, mature, integrate and deliver technical capabilities as to “get the right technology to the warfighter at the right time.”     

The document also calls for the establishment of an enduring SPAWAR organizational structure to own cyber technical leadership. The strategy says an annual SPAWAR cybersecurity master plan should be published to provide overarching guidance on the planning, execution and management of SPAWAR cyber activities, and calls for the establishment of a cyber war room to showcase successes, current activities and future initiatives to support the response to the rapidly changing cyber threat. 

Another priority: data access as a means of optimizing information for effective decision-making. “The purpose of this objective is to make institutional data easy, accessible, reliable, consistent and secure to support informed planning and decision making by all,” the strategy said. “This requires transforming the organization’s use, management and understanding of data…Through employment of advanced data practices, master data management and exploitation of data analytics, the organization will shift from being reactive to proactive.”

Cyber Command commander Adm. Michael Rogers recently described data as a commodity. “Data is increasingly a commodity of value all on its own,” he said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council last week, adding that the power of big data analytics has changed this paradigm. “If you go back five, 10 years ago, I remember discussions where we thought there’s just so much data here no one could put it all together.” Prior to big data analytics, the sheer size of data rendered it useless to adversaries, he said. 

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