A Better Backbone
FORCEnet’s 2007 at-sea tests are focused on
common standards for diverse software applications
By GLENN W. GOODMAN Jr., Special Correspondent
The U.S. Navy’s Trident Warrior ’07 experiment, set to take place off the Virginia coast
March 20-30, is expected to mark another
major step along the road to achieving network-centric
command-and-control capabilities within the naval
services. The linchpin of the Navy’s network-centric
warfare thrust is called FORCEnet, which will provide
the architecture to align and integrate naval warfare
systems, functions and missions.
Its purpose is to leverage U.S. superiority in information systems and bind together and enhance the
military’s ability to sense, detect, identify, communicate, attack and assess. A 2005 statement by the Navy
and Marine Corps said FORCEnet would foster greater
initiative, adaptability and increased tempo by U.S.
military units once “all forces and organizations down
to the level of individual entities are interconnected in
a networked, collaborative command-and-control
The Trident Warrior experiment evaluates the services’ abilities to integrate widely distributed naval commanders, staffs, operating units, sensors, platforms and
weapons into a networked combat force with shared
The experiments, conducted in a
realistic operational environment at
sea with fleet ships and sailors,
assess new FORCEnet prototype
technologies and ideas that promise
to remedy gaps in naval capabilities.
During Trident Warrior ’07, the utility of more than 70 prototype technologies or new tactics, techniques
and procedures will be assessed. The
results of the experiments, conducted annually since 2003 using an
afloat expeditionary strike group or
carrier strike group, have allowed
the Navy to leapfrog the normal
development process in many cases
and accelerate the delivery of new network-centric
warfare capabilities to the fleet.
The two key sponsors of the Trident Warrior series are
Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM) in
Norfolk, Va., and San Diego-based Space and Naval
Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR).
They operate with the Naval NETWAR FORCEnet
Enterprise (NNFE), a collaborative effort between
NETWARCOM, SPAWAR, the Office of the Chief of
Naval Operations and a host of other stakeholder
The NNFE board of directors is led by top admirals
who meet regularly to assess the enterprise’s progress in
delivering products and services. Included are NNFE’s
chief executive officer and NETWARCOM commander,
Vice Adm. James McArthur, representing the fleet; its
chief operating officer, SPAWAR commander, Rear Adm.
Michael Bachmann, representing the naval services’
research, development and acquisition interests; and the
chief financial officer, Vice Adm. Mark Edwards, deputy
chief of naval operations for communication networks,
who is the resource sponsor.
“We have a weekly board of directors phone meeting
and typically meet face-to-face once a month. We’re able
Trident Warrior ’07, to begin this month, will assess the utility of
more than 70 prototype technologies or new tactics.
■ FORCEnet aims to interconnect all forces “down to the level of
individual entities,” bolstering shared situational awareness.
■ One apparent success is Subnet Relay, which links radios to
create a tactical intranet within a coalition task group.
■ The Coalition Chat Translation Tool automatically translates
text into a variety of languages, facilitating communications with