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Navy League 2021: US Navy sees command-and-control as key for unmanned operations

As the US Navy (USN) works towards the development of unmanned platforms, the service is focusing on the command-and-control (C2) of those systems and integrating them with traditional manned operations, according to Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations (CNO).

“One of the key challenges for a hybrid fleet is going to be the ability to command and control it,” Adm Gilday said on 20 July during a Navy League 2021 Sea-Air-Space exposition virtual online “prequel” discussion in advance of the actual exposition, which is scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 August in Maryland.

“What this really comes down to is information dominance, and to put us, the United States Navy, and actually the joint force, in a position where we can decide and act faster than an adversary,” Adm Gilday said.

That C2 development is part of the Pentagon's Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort, which, the Congressional Research Service notes, is the Department of Defense's concept to connect sensors from all of the military service into a single network.

“The navy's approach to JADC2 is to really build a communication-as-a-service framework,” Adm Gilday said. “What we're trying to do is create a network-agnostic system of systems that allows us to transfer any data over any system to an endpoint where an end-user is assisted by microprocessing – think applications – that allow him or her to decide and act very quickly, based on whatever function they're doing in the battle force.”

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