Proof of the Navy’s commitment to achieving decision superiority will show through on whether they continue full support for the suite of programs to guarantee it. These range from battle manager platforms like E-2D, the Advanced Hawkeye to other cyber and electronic warfare programs.
Roughead has matched his vision talk with concrete moves preparing his staff to confront the big budget decisions ahead. He just reorganized the Navy staff at the Pentagon by combining the N2 intelligence and N6 network functions into one post. Basically the decision superiority piece of the program will get full-time three-star attention. That’s not just a management move. He’s also migrating big electronic warfare programs with real dollars into the new directorate.
That will be useful in the upcoming budget debates. All are expecting whole system kills to meet fiscal goals. But, the Navy needs to continue with decision superiority programs like E-2, which is the carrier-based radar plane with a 24-foot radar dome on top. The Navy has used radar planes to watch for threats and manage the air battle for decades. However, E-2D is a new-design plane geared up for a tough mission. An advanced radar is tuned to find cruise missiles and other difficult objects. But more than this, E-2D should be seen as a network node in the sky, capable of extending secure links so a destroyer can take information from an F-35 or F/A-18E from the carrier.
A big question is how to measure decision superiority. Here again, Americans have gotten used to swift decisions on the attack. But with cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, cyber operations and other air and surface menaces, the Navy has to measure defensive decision superiority, too. How fast can an E-2D spot a cruise missile launch and pass the information through the net so the gatling gun in the Close In Weapon System can chew it up? What’s the architecture a carrier strike group needs for ballistic missile warning? How will stealthy F-35s pass data to each other and to F/A-18s chipping away at surface-to-air missile sites?
Achieving decision superiority rests on questions like these, and fortunately, Admiral Roughead is asking the tough questions and making sure the senior Navy leadership is engaged.
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