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Naval forces do not have to be engaged in constant communication.  Deployed Navy vessels have demonstrated independence of action within coordinated operations for hundreds of years. 

Littoral operations, single-purpose ships, and unmanned systems pose a growing set of naval challenges and opportunities that can be exploited through communications stealth and tactical effectiveness.

Network-Optional Warfare (NOW)

  • Vulnerabilities arise for naval forces conducting constant communications due to lack of stealth and dependence on continuous data exchange.
  • "Radio silence" emissions control (EMCON) and judicious use of low-probability of intercept (LPI) communications can restore naval covertness and tactical surprise.
  • Data compression and a coherently defined signal book can enable fluid operations across NCW and NOW, aiding command autonomy and freedom of action.

Network-Centric Warfare (NCW)

  • “Seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive advantage through the robust networking of well-informed geographically dispersed forces.”
  • “This networking—combined with changes in technology, organization, processes, and people—may allow new forms of organizational behavior.”
  • Source:  Network-Centric Warfare, Wikipedia

Operational View (OV-1) shows line-of-sight (LOS) optical signaling via Quick Reaction (QR) codes and Digital Flashing Light (DFL).

Only two EM-based lightning bolts!

Technology enablers for NOW include Efficient Messaging, Optical Signaling, and Semantic Coherence, three long-running areas of composable research work.

Overview Resources for NOW

Tactical Opportunities afforded by NOW

  • Stealth:  gain deeper access into battle space, utilize inherent covertness of unmanned systems

  • Surprise:  choose time and place to shift from passive to active use of electromagnetic spectrum

  • Coherence: formal mission brevity codes are actionable and precise with well-defined semantics

  • Uncertainty: reduced opponent confidence that force locations are known and attack is unchallenged

  • Flexibility:  tactical commanders decide use of NCW/NOW on per-platform, per-mission basis

  • Scalability:  incremental response using low-cost assets avoids destabilizing high-cost escalation

  • Autonomy : loosely coordinated command via Rules of Operation (ROO) and Engagement (ROE)

Contact

Don Brutzman, brutzman@nps.navy.mil voice +1.831.656.2149

 

 

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