Marriage of Old and New
Coast Guard C4IT head focuses on interoperability, cyber security
As the Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for Command and Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology (C4IT),
Rear Adm. David T. Glenn this year faces the challenge of
equipping legacy assets with technology compatible with that on
newer platforms, while planning key budget decisions for the coming
years in an uncertain economic environment.
Glenn, who also is the service’s chief information officer, said he is uncertain how the new administration will affect his office, but that cyber security will remain a primary focus. Continued deployment of the Rescue 21
and Command 21 systems is a key goal for the service in 2009, as is
improving the National Automatic Identification System (NAIS).
Glenn said that, in a perfect world, Coast Guard assets would receive
upgraded C4ISR equipment every five years. The $24 billion, 25-year
Deepwater fleet modernization program has done a lot to update that
equipment on old and newer platforms, he said.
Glenn, who previously was chief of staff of the Coast Guard’s
Seventeenth District, Juneau, Alaska, discussed his goals and challenges for the coming years with Assistant
Editor John C. Marcario. Excerpts follow:
What’s the hardest part about your job?
GLENN: I would say the various challenges — cyber
security, the threats, improving information sharing,
and interoperability. [The Coast Guard] has to continue to be interoperable with the Department of Defense
[DoD] and, specifically with the Navy. At the same
time, being under the Department of Homeland
Security [DHS], we have the added challenges of
ensuring that we’re interoperable and sharing information with all 22 components of the DHS.
In the coming year, what is your biggest challenge
going to be and how are you going to make sure
it doesn’t become a problem in the future?
GLENN: On the C4IT side of the Coast Guard, it will be
continuing to deploy Rescue 21, the search-and-rescue
and command, control and communication system,
around the country. Also, we’ll start to deploy
Command 21, which is our situational and maritime
domain awareness component, [and] continuing to be
involved in taking over the major acquisitions — the
Deepwater pieces — that are coming online.
A lot of new pieces of C4IT equipment [are] coming
onboard that we have to maintain. … We just announced
the award of the next segment of NAIS, and deploying
that and integrating the tremendous increase in information that will provide [is] going to be great in terms of
helping our situational awareness.
How has network centricity changed over the
years for the Coast Guard?
GLENN: There have been improvements, that’s for sure.
The most recent example would be that the new HC-144A
medium-range surveillance aircraft [purchased through]