SPAWAR Commander Notes Urgency of Maintaining Information Edge
By PETER ATKINSON, Deputy Editor
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The commander of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) stressed the “absolute urgency” of maintaining the nation’s “information edge” during remarks at the Navy’s Information Warfare Pavilion in the Sea-Air-Space Exposition exhibition hall April 9.
“This is the frontline of deterring aggression of maintaining freedom of the seas and when necessary, when called upon, fighting and winning our nations wars — information,” said Rear Adm. Christian “Boris” Becker.
“What I want to do this morning is give you the sense of urgency, absolute urgency, with which we need to approach this mission area,” he said. “Because we are in an era of great competition, a strategic competition.”
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan presented a marked change in the strategy and tactics U.S. forces had traditionally fought and defeated, and that transformation has continued at an accelerated pace as the battlefield has moved into the information domain, Becker said.
“We have no preordained right to victory on the battlefield. That should make you very concerned. That should change the way you think,” he said. “In previous wars and battles, we always knew we were going to win. We can’t count on that any longer, because our potential adversaries, they’re catching up. Not only in the traditional sense, but in the very areas where we have maintained strategic advantages: in asymmetric warfare, in information.
“It doesn’t take tremendous capital to create what is necessary to create a capital effect in the world of information,” he said.
Becker described SPAWAR’s central line of business as taking the capabilities that come from platforms and bringing them together to enable them to outperform potential adversaries.
“That’s what makes a weapons system — that’s what makes a warfighting system,” he said. “If we can’t do that, we’re wasting trillions of dollars.”
And necessary to all of those capabilities within the realm of SPAWAR is its ability to protect the networks that are at their core, Becker noted, “so that the adversary is not able to get inside of our world, so that the adversary is unable to take advantage of what we rely on.”
He also spoke of SPAWAR’s role in helping provide what Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson has been calling “the Navy the nation needs,” noting there was more to that than just building up to a fleet of 355 ships.
“It’s about building a Navy that’s bigger, better, more networked,” Becker said, “a more agile Navy, a Navy filled with talented people, a Navy that’s ready. These are the lines of operations employed by our Navy to build the Navy that our nation needs. Because that’s the Navy that we need to compete and win.”
“That Navy rests on, travels, will fight and win on the information edge that we deliver.”