The West 2024 conference floor on Feb. 14 in San Diego.

Feb 14 2024

WEST 2024: Upgrades to Navy Networks Will Provide Fleetwide Connectivity

Software-defined networking, hyperconverged infrastructure and other technologies boost bandwidth and security, Navy officials say.

Networks that serve the U.S. Navy are being upgraded so that the vast amount of data collected by its sailors and sensors can be distributed quickly, especially in the current unstable world environment, top Navy officials said Tuesday.

Tools ranging from endpoint monitoring solutions to artificial intelligence depend on a quantity of data not always transmittable through current networks, said Vice Adm. Craig Clapperton, commander of the Navy’s U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, speaking at the WEST 2024 conference in San Diego.

“How are we going to push data to the afloat infrastructure? That’s a unique problem for the Navy,” he said. “There’s bandwidth problems, there’s technology problems and there’s how you’re going to move the data through the ship’s network.”

The U.S. Pacific Fleet is beginning to use software-defined networking solutions that provide expanded bandwidth through Starlink and similar companies, Clapperton said.

Combined with hyperconverged infrastructure, “we are then able to really figure out new and exciting ways to move that massive amount of data through the bandwidth we have.”

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Navy, DOD Expand Networks for Broader Reach

In addition, the Navy’s Project Overmatch seeks to provide connectivity fleetwide, which will help as the service moves to a hybrid, manned-plus-unmanned fleet, said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations.

“We’re building a software-defined networking solution and modern software pipelines to provide as many pathways as possible to connect and share information,” she said. “It’s the connective tissue between today’s fleet and tomorrow’s hybrid fleet.”

The Defense Information Systems Agency is also in the process of upgrading DODNet, a consolidated network that serves the Department of Defense’s combat support agencies, about 400,000 users. DODNet’s Generation 2 is expected to be ready to accept agency migrations in May.

The modernized environment should bring “greater agility, better security and improved user experience,” said Carissa Landymore, program director of DISA’s Defense Enterprise Office Solution.

“You’ll see us taking that hybrid approach, leaving some things on-prem but trying to start to transition to the cloud to take advantage of that flexibility,” she added.

To learn more about WEST 2024, visit our conference page. You can also follow us on X (formerly Twitter) at @FedTechMagazine to see behind-the-scenes moments.

Photography by Elizabeth Neus

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