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Office of the CIO: US Navy’s Key Priorities

The U.S. Navy is working to drive the expansion of the service’s cloud environment to the tactical edge, according to Navy chief information officer Aaron Weis.

Weis, a 2022 Wash100 Award recipient, said edge computing capabilities top the Navy’s list of priorities as the service pushes modernization initiatives, and especially in the wake of the Defense Department’s recently released JADC2 implementation plan.

“We’ve been very focused on cloud and everyone focused on big cloud, macro cloud, enterprise cloud but we have got to get to solutions on edge cloud, tactical edge cloud,” Weis said in February.

This push of the service’s enterprise cloud environment out to the tactical edge is particularly imperative for the Navy, whose mission workforce is at sea – an environment in which transmission and communication capabilities can be jeopardized by lack of bandwidth and limited satellite connectivity.

The service branch is working to containerize tactical applications that exist on its fleet of over 300 ships, and this effort is expected to intersect with the Navy’s Project Overmatch to update this newly “containerized world,” Weis said.

Weis added that the Navy has plans to then layer the updated, containerized environment with “real tactical edge cloud capabilities so that the ship compute environment essentially becomes a tactical edge cloud.” 

A large part of this process relies on data, said Thomas Sasala, the Navy’s chief data officer. Currently, the service is working to better analyze, aggregate and determine the value of its mission data.

Sasala is scheduled to speak during the Potomac Officers Club’s in-person 3rd Annual CIO Summit on April 26. Registrations are open now.

“Our challenge here is not necessarily discovering the fact that the data exists, but discovering what an appropriate use of the data might be, and where that data can be processed to be most effective,” Sasala said in December.

Sasala added that a key challenge of this data collection, analysis and integration process is that the Navy has never done it before. “We’re just at the very early stages of some of this right now,” he explained.

The Potomac Officers Club’s 3rd Annual CIO Summit on April 26 gathers public and private sector occupants of the increasingly critical office of the CIO to discuss the key challenges, opportunities and priorities driving their respective organizations today. 

Hear from John Sherman, the Defense Department’s CIO and acting chief digital and artificial intelligence officer, in person as he shares his unique insights into the Pentagon’s current and future information strategies.

Register here.

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