This blog post is by Captain Carl Conti, U.S. Fleet Forces Command’s Director of Experimentation. Captain Conti will be participating alongside Cmdr. Dave Varnes, Trident Warrior 2010 Director during a DoD Blogger’s Roundtable Tuesday, July 13 at 1:30pm EST.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command’s (USFF) Experimentation Directorate (N9E,) is tasked with finding new and innovative ways to properly equip the warfighter to fight effectively and keep ahead of the adversary in a rapidly changing battlespace. We experiment with new initiatives that address tactics, techniques, and procedures along with technologies to see if they can fill a warfighting need.
Our marquee venue for this experimentation is Trident Warrior (TW), which USFF directs each year. This year, we teamed with Third Fleet, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), industry, academia, and a host of partnering nations off the Pacific Coast in June just prior to the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC). We coordinate TW with RIMPAC to leverage the ships and other assets already assigned to that exercise and maximize the return on investment involved in sending ships to sea. The goal this year is to analyze approximately 100 critical maritime initiatives and to eventually develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures to aid maritime forces.
One of the great aspects of TW is it provides a venue to test out new ideas and innovations in a real-world environment. In the experiment, we put each of the initiatives into the hands of the Sailors and Marines where we evaluate them for warfighter effectiveness. Taking these initiatives directly to the warfighter allows TW experimentation to examine their potential and influence the direction of their development and implementation, resulting in enhanced capabilities for the warfighter.
We have found that the best way to do this is to align the initiatives into focus areas to include: maritime domain awareness; networks; coalition interoperability; information operations; command and control; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; electronic warfare / fires; cross-domain solutions; and information transport. Once the initiatives are aligned under their focus area, our team works with the sponsors of each initiative to develop an experiment designed to answer specific questions the technology is trying to address, an example of which might be “will this initiative reduce communications time by 40%.” The team then builds a detailed data collection plan to ensure we can answer those questions with hard numbers and then takes them out to sea for experimentation. If the initiative is successful, we then work with the sponsors and requirements folks to determine which have the potential to be accelerated for acquisition and into the hands of the warfighter as soon as possible.
Throughout Trident Warrior, one of our underlying themes is always enhancing partnerships. Each year, we work with partner nations in an effort to better understand each other’s needs and in turn develop tactics, techniques and procedures to benefit all. For TW10, participants included our coalition partners throughout the Pacific; Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea, as well as others around the world in the United Kingdom and France. In addition to the Navy and Marine Corps, TW10 had significant partnership from the US Air Force, US Coast Guard, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Department of Homeland Security.
To wrap things up, TW10 is one of the largest and most complex afloat Navy experiments to date. The majority of the experimentation is complete and the analysis of the data has begun. We are excited to get the results back on how these initiatives did so we can get the most relevant ones to the warfighter. In the end, that’s what this is all about, saving time, saving money, and most importantly, giving our Sailors and Marines the right tools to make them more effective warfighters, which will help save lives.