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Convergence of Sea Power and Cyber Power Vision Discussed at Oklahoma City Navy Week

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080615-05
Release Date: 6/15/2008 3:00:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lucinda Thierry, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

OKLAHOMA CITY (NNS) -- Engineering students and faculty from University of Oklahoma (OU) and Oklahoma State University (OSU) were briefed on the Convergence of Sea Power and Cyber Power vision for the year 2030 during Oklahoma City Navy Week, June 11-12.

Rear Adm. Michael J. Browne, senior officer for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Strategic Studies Group (SSG) XXVI, shared his vision with engineering students and faculty from University of Oklahoma (OU) and Oklahoma State University (OSU).

"It's as much of an engineering challenge as it is anything," said Rear Adm. Michael J. Browne, senior officer for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Strategic Studies Group (SSG) XXVI, who called upon the current and future computer science, artificial intelligence and robotics engineers, as well as those of other engineering disciplines, to think of ways to use the "virtual world" to make an impact on the physical world.

"We need to take advantage of the technological tools available today and think of ways to bring them to ships that operate in a technologically constrained environment," he said. "We also need to keep the interest of our young Sailors and those of the next generation."

Browne summarized three recommendations the SSG XXVI gave to the CNO: "Global Reach Forward, Virtually Enabled Operations, and Unity of Effort." He explained that "Our adversaries enjoy the current U.S. cyberspace posture, so we need warriors and a culture of innovation that enhances the prevention of war and, if necessary, fighting and winning wars."

He added that "Unity of Effort" involves putting a plan in place to share information among various organizations and services.

A Reservist who serves as the Naval Sea Systems Command deputy chief engineer (SEA 05A) and strategic planning, Browne is an executive for IBM and utilized his corporate knowledge and use of a Linden Lab virtual product called Second Life to conduct SSG XXVI meetings in the virtual world.

"We would meet physically for meetings, but every Thursday afternoon, we were required to log on to Second Life for a virtual conference in a our virtual conference room," he said. "No more than two of us could work together at a time, which forced us to get better at using the technology."

In further demonstrating how the virtual affects the physical, Browne gave the example of a Navy aviator who found a flight simulator on Second Life that is better that any simulator he's ever used, and it was built by a private citizen.

"Virtual absence is actual absence," Browne said. "You're missing something if you're not yet engaged in the virtual world."

Browne asked his audience of engineers, many of whom are conducting research for the DOD and other federal agencies, to envision concepts like virtual command centers with live video feeds, computerized operations rooms and real-time language translations.

"Cyberspace brings together people who are separated by geography, culture and language," he said.

Associate Professor Dr. George Scheets of OSU's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering asked if there is a risk of over reliance on the use of these virtual technologies, where we would be concerned with continuing operations after a system shutdown, for example.

Browne noted that addressing these kinds of concerns is a real challenge, and that's where the Unity of Effort comes in. "We have to balance security with some openness of sharing."

Browne said there are also questions of how to locate cyber adversaries who can't be seen and how to prosecute them in countries where the U.S. has no authority once they have been identified.

Browne said SSG XXVI, which convened throughout 2007, just started the debate with its findings. SSG XXVII is now responding to the questions that were generated.

Over 20 cities throughout the United States will host Navy weeks in 2008, in an effort to increase awareness in metropolitan areas without a significant fleet presence.

For more news from Navy Office of Community Outreach, visit www.navy.mil/local/navco/.



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