Defense IT

Navy's CANES installation ahead of schedule

The Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services, or CANES, system, a shipboard tactical network that will replace and consolidate five legacy command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems with a single integrated software-based platform, is ahead of implementation schedule, according to one Navy official.

“We’re completing – aggressively – completing our installation of CANES, our tactical network for our enterprise on ships. We are almost ahead of schedule now,” Janice Haith, deputy CIO for the Department of Navy, said at an AFCEA hosted breakfast May 11. Haith said CANES could be completed as early as 2020, ahead of the 2022 target date the Navy originally set, although an early completion date depends on a raft of factors.

Among those factors is the availability of ships, which, among other things, depends of what’s going on in the world. “We keep a large number of ships out…you can’t bring them back unless one is ready to go out, so that’s the balance we have,” she told Defense Systems following a panel discussion. Ship rotation can be quite difficult given the heightened threat environment U.S. faces, defense officials acknowledge. According to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the U.S. faces five distinct threats – Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and terrorism. This array of threats is much wider and expansive than the singular threats the U.S. has faced in the past, leading some such as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to admit that in 50 years in the intelligence business, he “cannot recall a more diverse array of challenges and crises that we confront as we do today.”  

As such, recalling assets around the globe for routine maintenance, and in this case, necessary installations that will improve shipboard network cybersecurity, can be a challenge. 

Haith said that since the beginning of the CANES installation process, which began in 2013, both the Navy and vendors have grown better. “We’re doing [implementation] fast and doing it faster because we’ve gotten better at it. So the faster the vendor can go, that means the more ships we can do.  I think we’ll get there sooner,” she said. “They have fine-tuned [installation]…it’s much more precise. It was a little challenging at first but every ship has its own configuration so you have to work with that configuration. I’d just say they’ve gotten better at it.” The Navy has a total of seven contractors on its $2.5 billion CANES contract. 

As of February 2016, CANES was installed on 30 ships with 219 to go.

About the Author

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

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