JOINT FIRES NETWORK
Russ Green MSIM
JFN goes beyond the Navy … JFN is an initiative to coordinate efforts and to share intelligence / sensor data among all of the armed forces (including coalition forces) for unified prosecution of targets within a multi-dimensional theater of battle.
For a short-duration (10 week) project to be successful, it was necessary to focus on just that part the Navy plays in JFN and to concentrate on just the USW component within the Navy’s role in JFN.
NOTE:Narrowing the scope was the most difficult (and most necessary) step in the project planning process.
For this project, the information requirements for both JFN and CV-TSC systems were compared and contrasted. The information architecture, flow, control, and presentation were described. This was a low-impact, high-level (outside) look at both systems using publicly available (to the naval fleet) sources.
The goal of this project was to provide recommendations pertaining to the utility of using CV-TSC as the USW component of JFN based on their functions, information requirements, and system descriptions.
Using a (compressed) Readiness Assessment methodology, I sought to provide the CV-TSC community with enough useful information regarding JFN, and how the in-place CV-TSC component (USW) may fit within JFN standards, to allow this community to make decisions on how to proceed with their transformation to the “Net-Centric” Navy of the future.
READINESS ASSESSMENT PROCESS (COMPRESSED):
- Information Gathering-- through online research and interviews.
- Assessed assumptions -- shared engagement doctrines.
- Compared functions of each system’s USW components (“grids” below).
- Assessed status -- past efforts, current efforts / interests / commitments.
- Consensus Building -- Restricted in this area by client constraints.
- Risk assessment
- Assessed organizational hurdles, technical hurdles, gaps in requirements from what currently exists.
- Preliminary project plan -- scale out.
- Possible solutions to technical issues / risk abatements.
- Education plan.
The U.S. Navy is employing new technologies to successfully accomplish their national security mission. They are moving toward “Net-Centric” information architecture for sensor data analysis, real-time targeting information, and “Command and Control” information flows. The system currently in place is one of “Stove Pipe” sensor / data arrays and information flows. The move to a “Net-Centric” system will allow for real-time information sharing, and will give battle zone (theater) commanders a more comprehensive, real-time picture of their “Area of Influence.”
The foundation of “Net-Centric” technologies will be commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software. A major information component of this future system, the Joint Fires Network (JFN), previously known as Naval Fires Network (NFN), will tie together sensor data and analysis from the old “Stove Pipe” warfare specialty groups such as Strike, Surface, Undersea, Air, and Mines. JFN is a collection of standards being moved forward to make the data analysis, targeting, and information sharing aspects of the system seamless.
Carrier Vessel Tactical Support Centers (CV-TSC) are currently deployed on all aircraft carriers. This COTS-based, Net-Centric system is used primarily for undersea warfare (USW). However, based on demonstrated capabilities inherent in the system, CV-TSC has been deployed in Strike, Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Mine Warfare (MIW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Air Operations Support (AOS).
Current CV-TSC Systems:
As part of conducting an efficient transformation from the “Stove Pipe” systems in the Navy today to the “Net-Centric” Navy of tomorrow, existing “Net-Centric” building blocks need to be identified. The purpose of this project was to identify the common and disparate functions between JFN and CV-TSC, focusing mainly on the USW components within each.
JOINT FIRES TARGETING CYCLE TARGETING DISCONNECTS
- Obstacles / Recommendations
- Development / implementation costs (including infrastructure installation). Total costs undetermined at this point. [Issue #1]
- Feasibility studies. In-house development commitment for customizing / sustaining efforts. Develop review / stop-loss plan for out-sourced implementation efforts.
- Transition time -- maintaining coordinated undersea search capability during the transition period will require maintaining legacy systems until all components are brought online. These redundancies can adversely affect response timelines. [Issue #2]
- Have hardware in place end-to-end, perform coordinated switch-over in a fleet exercise environment.
- Testing new systems on operational platforms without removing those platforms from their operational commitments. [Issue #2]
- Fleet battle experiment exercises seem to be working.
- Training operators on the new systems without affecting manning levels needed to operate current systems. [Issues #3 & #4]
- Implementation training for fleet / force system operators. Establish service schools for the new systems.
- Buy-in by USW component commanders (air, surface, submarine) as well as NATO forces. Dismantling of old “stovepipes.” Hand-over of weapons release authority. [Issue #5]
- Go through Mandate Process and train on benefits.
- Risks / Recommendations
- System upgrades may require down time for parts of the network or may cause data / transmission errors. [Issue #2]
- Schedule upgrades during refit periods.
- Information overload may impact reaction time. [Issue #4]
- Air, Surface, and Submarine platforms prosecuting undersea targets don’t need full data overlays -- just those that reflect their own operating environments (e.g. Pilots don’t need overlays on nautical charts showing depth readings). Look into menu driven, configuration optimization for platform specific USW role changing.
- Security of digital networks and communication links. [Issue #2]++
- Comm. link reliability / data integrity / bandwidth. [Issue #2]++
- Real-time De-confliction in littorals can introduce errors. [Issue #2]++
- Future commitment to the new system by all forces involved cannot be guaranteed (especially NATO forces). [Issue #5]++
- ++ “Next Steps.” These risks still need to be fully considered.
1) Current CV-TSC Systems graphic: Presentation for “CV-TSC Role in Battle Group USW As Currently Fielded” available from the Undersea Warfare center at Keyport, WA
2)Joint Fires Targeting Cycle graphic: “Concept of Operations for JOINT FIRES” available at
3) Targeting Disconnects graphic: “Navy Experimentation and Expeditionary Warfare” Navy Warfare Development Command, available at http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/ewc/Navwar.pdf
- 4) Focus section (artist‘s concept) graphic: “Vision … Presence … Power -- Planning Objectives … Programming Decisions“ The United States Navy, available at http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/navy/docs/vis99/v99-ch1b.html
- 5) Functional Capabilities graphic: “The Naval Fires Network (NFN) Converged Architecture” presentation at the NDIA Interoperability Conference, Presented by Andrew Cox (C21 and Combat Support Chief engineer).
- 6) All Sensor-to-Shooter Grid graphics: “Naval Fires Network and Network-Centric Grids” presentation at the 2002 DoD Interoperability Conference, Presented by Phil Anselmo (Northrop Grumman).
- ) Low impact limited number of interviews would be allowed.
- ) Research must be low key. Politically Charged atmosphere exits due to the JFN being a radically new concept. The old “Stove Pipes” are being dismantled. Warfare communities are concerned about giving up their “Piece of the Pie.”
- ) 10 week time frame very detailed analysis not realistic in this amount of time. This also caused a lot of effort that went into limiting the scope of the project.
- ) Utilize CV-TSC’s existing undersea / anti-sub warfare capabilities, or develop JFN capabilities in this area from scratch?
- ) What are the technology issues in merging CV-TSC with JFN?
- ) Taxonomy differences between USW communities of different nations.
- ) Different user interface (information presentation) needs between air, surface, and submarine platforms conducting USW operations.
- ) When different USW platforms must operate in concert … who’s in charge? How is weapons release authority disseminated?
- Information Gathering
Basic architectures and functions were gathered for JFN & CV-TSC USW systems. Existing & desired networks are described below: