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Three technologies for the Navy's future

Jan. 15, 2014 - 01:51PM   |  
By MICHAEL HARDY   |   Comments
Navy CIO Terry Halvorsen
Navy CIO Terry Halvorsen (Navy)
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In the current budget environment, agencies are adjusting to a “new normal” in various ways. At the Department of the Navy, writes CIO Terry Halvorsen, the emphasis is on going from a mindset of cutting back to one of cutting-edge.

In a blog post, Halvorsen considers three technologies that may enable the Navy – and other departments – to continue to meet mission demands within the confines of reduced budgets.

Additive manufacturing (aka, "3D printing")

“Three-dimensional printing is one of the most revolutionary technological developments of the last century,” Halvorsen wrote. More properly called additive manufacturing, the technology creates parts by layering material shaped to fit a design, rather than the traditional method of cutting and drilling the material.

“No longer will we cut away or machine metal from a solid block to create an auto part; instead, we will be able to create that part from a digital image,” he wrote. “Further, these ‘printed’ parts can often be made lighter than parts forged from metals or other dense materials, leading to fuel savings.

Mobile, the cloud and the mobile cloud

Mobile technology has already fundamentally changed the way we communicate, he wrote. The challenge for the DON is to make the most of the technology, “in a world where we still primarily communicate via email and our mobile technology is five or six years out of date.”

Cloud computing has also changed things dramatically. Combined with mobile devices, the technologies open the door to a powerful way to conduct operations – but with significant security risks and concerns.

“Our digital networks and infrastructures are more than the sum of their parts,” he wrote. “They are strategic assets and must be secured accordingly. With security a paramount – and non-negotiable – element of all we do, what will the next generation of data security look like?”

API – making sure the right people get the right data at the right time

Application programming interface technology specifies how software programs interact with each other. In a military environment, it could, for example, enable a company that builds unmanned aerial vehicles to provide sensor capability data to a third party without requiring the Navy to provide its data or processes for analyzing that data.

Despite their challenges, these three technologies provide opportunities for the Navy to advance its capabilities without breaking the bank. The biggest hurdle, Halvorsen concluded, is the need for a highly educated workforce and opportunities for that workforce.

“We've already taken steps with training by establishing policy for cyberspace/IT workforce continuous learning, and we will continue to look for solutions that work,” he wrote. “These are only first steps, but important ones to take on a journey that will move quickly, rather than slowly.”

Related: Read Halvorsen’s full blog post .

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