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WASHINGTON: Acknowledging that “information” underlies its mission set, the Navy’s primary developer of information technology systems and satellite communications changed its name from SPAWAR to NAVWAR on Monday–dropping the word “space” from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and rebranding itself as the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson made the announcement Monday in a two-minute video posted to the SPAWAR website. “We have been on a steady drumbeat since the issuance of the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority (in 2016) to further normalize information warfare into the way we do operations and warfighting in the Navy,” he said. “This new name more accurately describes the full totality of the mission, supporting naval warfare — from seabed to space.”

Though there’s no “I” for “information” in the new acronym and NAVWAR continues its responsibility for Navy satellite communications, “the intent of the name change is to recognize the power that information warfare brings to the fight,” states a NAVWAR press release. “The change aligns the command name with the command mission to identify, develop, deliver and sustain information warfare capabilities and services that enable naval, joint, coalition and other national missions.”

The Navy’s increasing emphasis on information warfare was on display in its exhibits at May’s Sea-Air-Space 2019 event, which included: technology demonstrations of swarm modeling and control; position, navigation and timing; military satellite and nanosatellite communication systems; and advanced mobile applications.

“In this era of great power competition, information is a fundamental element of warfare, an essential concept of the Navy’s strategy, and a warfare area that transcends the traditional domains of air, sea, land and space,” said NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker, in his own video announcement. “This name change underscores the importance of information warfare in providing our fleet with an unfair advantage in today’s complex and increasingly competitive security environment.”

The new branding follows two related name changes from earlier this year when SPAWAR’s systems centers in Charleston, SC, and San Diego, CA, were renamed Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic and NIWC Pacific respectively. The new naming convention aligns with Naval Air Systems Command’s air warfare centers and Naval Sea Systems Command’s surface and undersea warfare centers.

NAVWAR consists of the same six organizations as it did before. They are:

  • NIWC Atlantic, which is responsible for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems (C4ISR), as well as IT and some space capabilities.
  • NIWC Pacific also develops C4ISR systems, including data management, and is the lead organization for the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program. CANES replaces five C4I networks with a single hardware infrastructure on approximately 300 Navy ships.
  • Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) provides integrated communication and information technology systems, including software development.
  • Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) oversees enterprise-wide information technology programs, and manages the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and the current Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract.
  • Program Executive Office Space Systems (PEO Space Systems) manages the five-satellite Mobile User Objective System system that provides global beyond-line-of-sight voice, video, and mission data on an Internet Protocol-based system capable of connecting to military networks.
  • Space Field Activity, which coordinates naval space and warfare systems activities within the National Reconnaissance Office.

SPAWAR’s genesis is traced back to 1966 when it was established as the Naval Electronic Systems Command. It was renamed SPAWAR in 1985.





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