The Power of e-Sailors

By Vice Admiral James R. Fitzgerald, U.S. Navy (Retired)

In this environment, the client can run in the background without "taking the glass"—i.e., an operator doesn't have to do anything overt. This results in the client maintaining the accuracy of the answer for the display, without delay or manipulation, when selected by the operator. The USW architecture allows asynchronous execution of client and server processes and allow clients on any processor to take advantage of servers and data storage areas across all local area network assets. In such a configuration, the service repository, event reactor, and physical data store may each be manifested on any one or many computers in the logical USW network.

Initially, this architecture was created to allow processing nodes on a network to require no operator; they could automatically ingest data via passive taps and initiate processes that acted on that data. The system can "talk" to itself without operator interaction, and can update other computer data bases, routines, etc. This evolved into a USW architecture that is a data driven interface enabled mesh. Within this object framework, individual software modules provide services to other areas of the system; in addition, such object implementations actually monitor their own performance and have the ability to take themselves off-line, reinitialize themselves, and reregister for services without bringing system performance down.

The ability to "bend" as an architecture is key to guaranteeing the reliability of our e-sailors to support and/or drive the decision process for the war fighter. Through resilience, independent strength, and event driven orientation, today's systems provide a clear, current, cogent picture of the USW environment out of the myriad grainy data sources, much as the human mind considers the input from the eye's thousands of cones.

Clearly, this architecture was sculpted to allow the Navy and others to realize the requirement of doing more with less—more data ingest, more data processing, more decisions, with less need for operator interaction, less watchstander intrusion, less margin for error, and less elapsed time from data to decisions.

The power of the e-sailor behind the glass will provide the fleet with greater situational awareness and facilitate competency capture and knowledge management. Developers who grasp its intent will flourish; those who continue to insist on synchronous execution of foreground processes quickly will cease to exist. The days of owning the glass, the processor, and the data are over. The new systems will share the data and the processors with e-sailors and share the glass with other clients operating in an organic, object-based, asynchronous, multithreaded processing environment.

With limited resources and reduced manning, coupled with a requirement for information dominance to face the conflicts that await us, we need help. Our new recruits—the e-sailors—have arrived just in time, ready to man their watch station, our emerging information technology infrastructure. Our ability to leverage the advances in IT has never been greater. The infrastructure is being installed that will allow true collaboration within and between teams. The technology is available today, and an executable plan has evolved to harness it. It is time to execute both the plan and the legacy thinkers.

Admiral Fitzgerald is vice president, director of ASW C 4 I, for Analysis & Technology, Inc., in Arlington, Virginia. While on active duty, he served as Department of the Navy Inspector General and as Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.


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