In each issue of GovConExec‘s magazine, government contracting executives sound off about issues facing both public and private sector organizations including big data, mobility and bring your own device to work, among others.
Top thought leaders caught up with GovConExec in the Spring 2012 issue on C4ISR and how it is affected by big data following the Winter 2011 issue, which focused on the new C4ISR.
C4ISR has driven revolutionary changes in military affairs and completely altered the nature of intelligence missions and warfare.
Executives told GovConExec about customers’ needs, where the next innovations will come from and special network and security requirements that the government will soon address.
According to Bob Edmonds, vice president of Air Force programs at ITT Exelis, USAF leaders frequently tell him they are swimming in sensors and drowning in data.
Edmonds said the most pressing need is the ability to manage large amounts of data sets and finding ways to collect, process, manage, protect and exploit useful information from the data unmanned aerial systems are aggregating.
He told GovConExec that in the future, products will more fully exploit the C4ISR spectrum to enhance future platforms and weapons, but this will demand a better understanding of cyber technologies and security needs.
With increasing budget constraints, Edmonds said the government is going to have to partner with industry to develop technology that drives costs down by use of open architecture-based autonomous systems.
Terry Collins, Boeing’s vice president and general manager for electronic and mission systems, suggested to GovConExec that C4ISR is becoming more critical than ever as the government operates with fewer boots on the ground.
Collins said it is critical that government and industry continuously strive to make C4ISR capabilities more affordable and adaptable for a changing strategic environment.
C4ISR has are four links to the chain: sensors, assured communications networks, data and actionable information, according to Biff Lyons, Parsons’ vice president of defense and security sector.
Lyons said there is an enormous amount of data being produced through C4ISR that cannot be used in a timely fashion.
He calls for organizations to determine how they can use the data they already have by investing in analytics technologies.
Greg Wenzel, a senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, told GovConExec the next-generation capability needed for C4ISR is an integrating framework.
Wenzel said an interconnected sensor and ground system network would create new capabilities without the cost of an entirely new program and enable government to amplify the money already invested in C4ISR capabilities.
Budget reductions will act as the tipping point to actually achieving this convergence when it comes to C2ISR, Wenzel said.
Chris D“™Ascenzo, BAE Systems’ vice president for intelligence and security, also suggests there is an increased need for interoperability throughout the related community.
The U.S. Army is receiving open architecture products that secure communications and integrate data, D’Ascenzo said.
He suggests there is a need for products in support of coalition networks such as multiple waveform radios, battlefield sensors and other products that act to simplify combat-vehicle C4ISR integration.
D’Ascenzo adds that customers need commercial, off-the-shelf solutions to integrate networks and address technological gaps.