FORCEnet is the Department of the Navy’s (DON’s) approach for enhancing its capability to perform network-centric operations. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) has embraced the following definition of FORCEnet:
[FORCEnet is] the operational construct and architectural framework for naval warfare in the information age that integrates warriors, sensors, networks, command and control, platforms, and weapons into a networked, distributed, combat force that is scalable across all levels of conflict from seabed to space and sea to land.1
The CNO has requested that the Naval Studies Board of the National Research Council (NRC) provide advice regarding both the adequacy of this definition and the actions required to implement FORCEnet (see Chapter 8 for the terms of reference). The Committee on the FORCEnet Implementation Strategy was formed by the NRC to respond to that request.
APPROACH TO DEVELOPING RECOMMENDATIONS
The principal recommendations and a concise version of the arguments that support them are contained in Chapter 7 of this report.2 That chapter builds on the idea of an implementation strategy by incorporating the committee’s recommen-
dations within a set of objectives required for such a strategy. The committee emphasizes its belief that all of these recommendations are important and that the implementation of some of them should not preclude implementation of the others. This Executive Summary is a greatly condensed presentation of the committee’s findings, organized under the eight implementation imperatives listed below. Accompanying the findings are extracts from the committee’s detailed recommendations and footnotes referencing other detailed recommendations and supporting material.
IMPLEMENTATION IMPERATIVES AND MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS
The following implementation imperatives (addressed in individual subsections below) are distilled from a set of implementation strategy objectives presented in Chapter 7 of this report. The imperatives are necessary to establish a set of guiding principles for the Navy and Marine Corps to realize FORCEnet.
Recognize that FORCEnet is more than an information network.
Accept that FORCEnet has no fixed end state.
Establish governance mechanisms that span the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), the acquisition community, and the fleet.
Devote more resources to developing operational constructs.
Base resource allocation decisions on packages that reflect network-centric operational concepts.
Strengthen architectural development and systems engineering capabilities.
Strengthen the naval coupling to the combatant commanders.
Exploit Global Information Grid (GIG) capabilities while preparing to fill GIG gaps and determining the limits of network-centricity.
Recognize That FORCEnet Is More Than an Information Network
Recommendation for OPNAV, Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), and Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC): Articulate better the meaning of the terms “operational construct” and “architectural framework” in the description of FORCEnet and indicate how FORCEnet implementation measures relate to each of these concepts.
Recommendation for OPNAV, NETWARCOM, and MCCDC: Make clear that FORCEnet applies to the entire naval force and not just to its information infrastructure component. In so doing, the organizations should specifically indicate that the concepts of employment and the architectures devel-
oped must apply to the operation of the whole force and not just to its information infrastructure component.
The committee finds the definition of FORCEnet quoted above to be adequate,3 but notes that this definition implies three components:
The doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures for conducting network-centric operations and the warriors trained in these concepts;
The materiel developed and acquired in accordance with an architectural framework that enables these operations; and
An information infrastructure that integrates the warriors and the materiel in the conduct of these operations.
Some equate FORCEnet with only the last of these three components. However, the committee believes that all three must be pursued in parallel, and uses the term “FORCEnet Information Infrastructure” (FnII) to refer to the third component. It will be important for the Navy and Marine Corps to accept the quoted definition of FORCEnet as being inclusive of the entire naval force and not just its information infrastructure, and thus to pursue concepts for employment of capabilities and architectures for the entire force.
Accept That FORCEnet Has No Fixed End State
Recommendation for the CNO and the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC): Promote as a guiding principle that the realization of FORCEnet capabilities will require a process of continuous evolution involving the close coordination and coupling of the individual departmental functional processes—operational concept and requirements development, program formulation and resource allocation, and acquisition and engineering execution.
There is no defined end state for FORCEnet,4 just as there are no defined end states for the Navy and Marine Corps. The realization of network-centric capabilities will require the coevolution of materiel and concepts for employment of that materiel, just as the Navy coevolved materiel and concepts in its development of sea-based air power and the Marine Corps coevolved materiel and concepts in its development of amphibious warfare capabilities. The full realization of these developments required the period of time between the world wars, and the full realization of network-centric capabilities will likely also occupy a generation.
The coordination of concept development (including experimentation), requirements generation, program formulation, and program execution during a protracted coevolution, across the naval forces, will be a major challenge because there is no official below the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) who is responsible for all of these activities.
Establish Governance Mechanisms That Span the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Acquisition Community, and the Fleet
Recommendation for the SECNAV, in conjunction with the CNO and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN(RDA)): Develop a means to integrate more closely the Navy’s program-formulation and acquisition functions, to ensure that adjustments in program execution are consistent with program intent and best serve the overall need of providing forcewide FORCEnet capability.
Recommendation for the CNO, in conjunction with the ASN(RDA): Establish a set of FORCEnet goals to be realized by specified dates in order to drive the implementation process.
The committee notes with approval the action by the ASN(RDA) to establish an executive committee for overseeing and synchronizing FORCEnet materiel acquisition, although more participation by the fleet would be desirable. However, this committee struggled with the challenge of finding mechanisms to propose for coordinating the responsibilities of OPNAV for program formulation and resourcing with the responsibilities of the acquisition community and for setting short-term and mid-term goals for the entire FORCEnet enterprise.5 Statutory requirements that program executive officers (PEOs) report directly to their Service acquisition executives (the Service acquisition executive for the Navy is the ASN(RDA)) prevent interposing a coordinator between the PEOs and the ASN(RDA). After much discussion, the committee sees two options for a coordinating mechanism:
Establish a FORCEnet board co-chaired by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) and the ASN(RDA), or
Appoint a senior officer as the director of FORCEnet, reporting directly to the VCNO and the ASN(RDA).
Some members of the committee were skeptical that a FORCEnet board would have the continuity to accomplish much, and instead favored the appointment of a forceful three-star or even four-star flag officer as the director of
FORCEnet. Others noted that a director of FORCEnet, having no line authority over the PEOs and perhaps none over the relevant Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations (DCNOs)—the DCNO for Warfare Requirements and Programs (N6/N7) and the DCNO for Resources, Requirements, and Assessments (N8)—would need to have recommendations turned into commands by his or her seniors, just as the chief of staff of a board would. A board would have a dedicated staff that would meet daily, just as the staff of a FORCEnet director would.
In considering these options, the committee noted that neither of them would appropriately link the requirements and acquisition processes to the needs of the operational community. Accordingly, the committee discussed the possibility that, in parallel with either of these options, the CNO might establish measurable FORCEnet capability goals with required dates, as well as an annual FORCEnet master plan, and charter the Commander, Fleet Forces Command (CFFC), to monitor the accomplishment of these goals from the perspective of the fleet. These goals and plans would be useful regardless of the establishment of any new requirements-acquisition oversight office.6
The committee did not attempt to make analogous recommendations concerning the Marine Corps, primarily because MCCDC currently oversees and integrates Marine Corps concepts, requirements, and experimentation.
Devote More Resources to Developing Operational Constructs
Recommendation for NETWARCOM, and the Second and Third Fleets especially: Devote significantly more resources to concept development. The criticality of concept development to the overall realization of FORCEnet capabilities certainly requires this increase. The committee recommends that the CFFC determine whether the increased resources would come by reassigning personnel already assigned to the organizations or by request to the CNO for additional personnel.
Within the Marine Corps, MCCDC has long been responsible for both concepts and requirements. The Navy quite recently entrusted both of these responsibilities to the CFFC. Although the committee applauds combining these responsibilities in one command, it notes that the CFFC has delegated these responsibilities to diverse operational agents, with the NETWARCOM responsible mostly for the FnII, the Second Fleet for Sea Strike and Sea Basing, and the Third Fleet for Sea Shield.7,8 The committee found too few resources dedicated to concept development and, in the case of the Second and Third Fleets, to the formulation of requirements. Further, the division of responsibilities generates a
requirement for close coordination between the operational agents—a requirement that is not always met, perhaps because of the shortage of resources.
Accordingly, the committee believes that the CFFC would benefit from a greater assignment of resources to its operational agents for concept development and to the Second and Third Fleets for requirements formulation. Pacific Fleet resources could also be brought to bear on this need. In addition, the committee believes that NETWARCOM’s FORCEnet concept development and experimentation role is slowly being extended beyond the FnII and applauds further extension of NETWARCOM’s role in this regard.
Base Resource Allocation Decisions on Packages That Reflect Network-Centric Operational Concepts
Recommendation for the N6/N7 and N8: Develop resource-allocation methods directed at realizing forcewide FORCEnet capabilities. Instead of basing the methods on the current Naval Capability Packages, the Navy should instead use “packages” that inherently reflect network-centric operational concepts.
The N6/N7 and N8 are responsible for formulating and resourcing programs. Their current, bottom-up approach is structured in such a way that each Naval Capability Pillar (Sea Strike, Sea Basing, Sea Shield, and FORCEnet) formulates resource recommendations, and the resulting, narrowly defined FORCEnet—that is, essentially the FnII plus some, but not all, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance—competes for resources with the platforms and weapons that it is supposed to empower.9
Accordingly, the committee expresses its concern that the current Navy resource-allocation process is not constructed on packages—such as FORCEnet Engagement Packs—that reflect network-centric operational concepts.10 In addition, while the Navy has sought improved modeling and simulation tools commensurate with the needs of network-centric operations, these efforts to date have been less successful than is desirable. In particular, they have not fully included the “fog of war,” and their setup procedures are so lengthy that few full campaign simulations can be conducted during each program assessment cycle.
Strengthen Architectural Development and Systems Engineering Capabilities
Recommendation for the CNO and the ASN(RDA): Designate the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), drawing on its open architecture experi-
ence, as having a major role in developing the FORCEnet architecture, particularly as pertains to its representation of invariant boundaries and the ability to allocate functionality.
Recommendation for the ASN(RDA) with the support of the systems commands and the relevant PEOs (primarily the PEO for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Space; and the PEO for Integrated Warfare Systems): Develop the capability necessary to effect FORCEnet systems engineering. Very high standards, commensurate with the challenge, should be set.
Materiel must be specified, developed, and acquired in accordance with an overarching FORCEnet architecture.11 The committee does not find that the draft FORCEnet Architecture and Standards developed by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)12 provides optimal guidance for architecture development: Volume I primarily surveys potential FORCEnet components without venturing into functional allocation, and Volume II primarily directs interoperability standards for the FnII. The committee prefers the approach of the Open Architecture for Combat Systems developed by a NAVSEA initiative.13 That approach reflects the ideas of invariant boundaries and functional partitioning that are required to engineer complex systems.
Evolving the complex system that is the transformed naval forces in accordance with the FORCEnet construct and architecture will require highly skilled people drawn from DON and industry. Not only must these personnel ensure that the evolving parts work together effectively, but they must also eliminate the possibility of catastrophic failure modes affecting the entire force. The integration and testing of new capabilities will require access to a facility analogous to the Navy’s current Distributed Engineering Plant for combat systems. The committee does not believe that the plans for the Joint Distributed Engineering Plant have crystallized sufficiently for FORCEnet to rely on them. Instead, by extending its Distributed Engineering Plant to meet FORCEnet needs, the Navy could help the realization of the Joint Distributed Engineering Plant.14
Strengthen the Naval Coupling to the Combatant Commanders
Recommendation for the fleet commands and Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs): Build on current interactions with regional combatant commands in order to grow the relationship between naval and joint concept development and experimentation. This means ensuring both that naval concepts are properly embodied in joint concepts and that they reflect the needs of the joint concepts.
Recommendation for the N6/N7 and the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Plans, Policies, and Operations: Work to articulate clearly how FORCEnet capabilities pertain to joint operations and satisfy the needs of combatant commanders.
The functional allocation that is part of FORCEnet systems engineering must eventually extend across all Services.15 Combatant commanders must be able to compose their capabilities from resources supplied by all Services. The Joint Defense Capabilities Program envisions a process through which combatant commanders’ expressions of needs drive the acquisition process. The Naval Services must provide capabilities that fulfill combatant commanders’ needs and make sure that the relevance of these capabilities is understood. The committee expresses its concern that the Fleet commands and Marine Expeditionary Forces do not appear to be effectively feeding the needs of combatant commanders into the CFFC and MCCDC requirements processes. Further, the committee believes that OPNAV may need to more actively articulate naval programs’ relevance to joint capabilities.
Exploit Global Information Grid (GIG) Capabilities While Preparing to Fill GIG Gaps and Determining the Limits of Network-Centricity
Recommendation for the N6/N7 and the Marine Corps Director for C4I: Adopt a prudent course with respect to joint GIG programs, endorsing the further development of these programs but also requiring a clear and continuing assessment of their technical and programmatic progress. In this context, the N6/N7 and the Director, C4I, should clearly understand the limits of applicability of network-centric capabilities, especially at the tactical level.
Although FORCEnet is not a program, FORCEnet-related programs will have joint impact and therefore will entail joint certification. The joint network-centric information infrastructure is being planned by the Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Networks and Information Integration (ASD(NII)) as the GIG. The components of the GIG are being developed by combat support agencies and by the Services. The FnII may be considered the maritime portion or extension of the GIG.16
By coordinating the development of the GIG, the ASD(NII) is enabling interoperability and focusing Service and agency efforts. However, the committee has some concerns about the GIG.
GIG backers have promised that communications bandwidth will no longer be a constraint on system design. Relying on this promise, the Defense Information Systems Agency has embraced a services-oriented enterprise information architecture that has numerous advantages, but that multiplies communications capacity and connectivity requirements and depends on continuous high-capacity, low-latency connectivity.
However, the Transformational Satellite Program that promises high capacity keeps being delayed. Even when it is completed, and even if the Navy develops and deploys suitable shipboard terminals, the Navy’s communications capacity will not be infinite, and naval ships will still be subject to satellite communications interruptions caused principally by antenna blockage. Also, the GIG programs ignore the challenging problem of communicating with submarines at speed and depth in order to make them part of the networked force.
The challenge for DON will be to be prepared to exploit GIG capabilities as they come online, while pursuing science and technology to meet naval-unique challenges such as the antenna and submarine problems just cited as well as to address the information-management problems specific to naval operations. While the highest priority should be given to ensuring robust connectivity across naval units and to resolving naval information-management challenges, DON will also have to contribute to meeting challenges common to all network-centric operations, such as ensuring the security and reliability of mobile network infrastructure.
Despite the improved information infrastructure promised by the GIG, network performance or reliability may be insufficient for some functions. Mission-based, red-teamed analyses are needed to determine, for any given level of network capability, what functions are best performed locally rather than in a distributed fashion. The provision of alternate communication paths and facilities and opportunities for training in and rehearsal of operations suffering from degraded network capabilities must not be neglected.