SPAWAR Atlantic gets tech tools to battlefields
Command integrates new systems for rapid deployment
- By Henry Kenyon
- Jun 09, 2011
The Navy’s research and acquisition office is busy trying to get equipment into the hands of combat personnel.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Atlantic (SSC Atlantic), is the Navy’s technical authority for acquisition of command, control, communications, computers and information systems, business applications and communications equipment.
Unlike SPAWAR’s Pacific office in San Diego, Calif., which is more focused on research and development, the Atlantic facility in Charleston, S.C., works primarily on acquisitions and rapid fielding.
“Our mission is to get it done quickly,” said Chris Miller, SSC Atlantic's executive director, speaking June 9 at AFCEA NOVA’s 10th Annual Naval IT day. The command also provides advanced communications and information capabilities for the Navy, joint and coalition forces.
Among the programs that SSC Atlantic helped manage and expedite is the Defense Department’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle deployment. The center delivered 16,000 such vehicles with fully integrated C4ISR packages. Miller said that the C4ISR elements in each vehicle cost more than the vehicle itself because they consist of a complex mix of jammers for improvised explosive devices, communications equipment and command and control systems.
SSC Atlantic also deployed the Common Submarine Radio Room, which is a single standard radio room layout and equipment configuration for submarines. Navy surface ships still do not have a uniform radio room layout, Miller said.
However, although the center is getting equipment out to the field, there are other considerations, such as budget and contracting, which affect how things are done.
Miller said that the changing acquisition environment means that the government and private sectors have to work more closely than ever. Besides working with commercial firms, the government must work on its side to relearn the art of the acquisition tradecraft and to hire the right people with the right skills, he said.
Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.