Battlespace Tech

Navy still has long way toward CANES installation

The Navy announced the installation of the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services system, or CANES, on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, bringing the service another step closer to full CANES installation across its fleet, though there is still much more to be done.

CANES is a shipboard tactical network that provides ships with services including improved information assurance, firewall and intrusion detection as well as greater flexibility enabling for an adaptable IT platform to meet requirements for current operating systems and easy upgrades when they become available. 

CANES replaces and consolidates the functions of five legacy command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems with a single integrated software-based platform. 

Following installation on the Nimitz, CANES still has a ways to go before integration among the entire fleet. Steven A. Davis, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command spokesman, told Defense Systems that as of this month, the Navy has completed CANES installation on 30 ships with plans for installation on 219 ships to be completed by 2023. 

As it stands, three nuclear air craft carriers, one amphibious assault ship, two cruisers, 20 guided missile destroyers, two dock landing ships and two submarines make up the 30 vessels with CANES installations. Additionally, 13 installations are continuing currently. 

“Installed systems are performing operational missions and have received positive feedback from fleet users,” Davis said, adding that the associated acquisition system saves money throughout the lifecycle.

Aboard the Nimitz, roughly 1,300 new workstations will be on the new system, improving the speed of the network and internet access, the Navy said in a release. The Nimitz, along with all other CANES-enabled ships, require automated data processing to switch to temporary local area networks.

The first CANES installation occurred in November 2013.

One aspect the system is intended to improve is cybersecurity, something the Navy has been focusing on. The Task Force Cyber Awakening, announced in 2014, aims to establish teams to take a “holistic view of cybersecurity risk across the Navy and address the fragmented and uneven efforts across our platforms and systems.”

In line with this new posture, CANES enhances cybersecurity with better systems management, information assures tools, network defense and greater automation compared to legacy systems.  The Navy has touted CANES’ ability to deal with cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could not otherwise be mitigated, allowing the network to become part of the service’s combat capability.

Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, commander of the Navy’s Cyber Command has alluded to the network operating as a warfighting platform. Moreover, the Navy has maintained that, “In the not too distant past, Navy networks were viewed as delivery systems for email and administrative actions. With the evolution of cyberspace capabilities and vulnerabilities, Navy networks can be viewed as cyber platforms that deliver decisive effects from seabed to space.”

In January of last year, the Navy added two additional contractors to the five already awarded deals under the $2.5 billion CANES contract. The new vendors under the contract will each construct one destroyer-class system and then compete for work for the remainder of the program.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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