Navy takes holistic approach to interoperability

New roadmaps, personnel changes to drive structure and system changes

The Navy is actively seeking a better perspective of its numerous IT systems and how they all work together, and hopes to move away from stovepipe-type approaches of its networks and programs, according to one official.

To do so, building in interoperability must begin early with the initial engineering of systems, said Michael Spencer, chief engineer at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). Spencer spoke Jan. 26 at the AFCEA West conference in San Diego.

“If you don’t adjust the front-end engineering of interoperability, it doesn’t get addressed soon enough,” Spencer said. “We’re putting checklists in place to do better.”

Spencer said his office has come up with 13 roadmaps, with six published so far, for getting a better system-of-systems understanding and improving interoperability between various networks and systems. The remaining roadmaps are expected to be published by March, he added.

The roadmaps will be accompanied by a major convergence effort, expected to launch this summer.

“If you don’t want 13 roadmaps to be 13 stovepipes, you need to converge,” Spencer said.

To achieve a broader system-of-systems approach, personnel moves also can be expected.

“We’re looking to develop a cadre of system-of-systems engineers,” rather than stovepipe-oriented types, Spencer said.

The plans are part of broader Navy goals in achieving information dominance, he said. The efforts are bringing together Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command, SPAWAR and other fleet stakeholders in order to get a better, more holistic approach to interoperability, Spencer noted.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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