Being Efficient with Bandwidthn three fundamental capabilities: assured command and control (C2), battlespace awareness, and integrated fires. None of these are possible without effective communications links. Networks—and more specifically, the information flowing through them—are now a center of gravity for the Fleet.1 Maritime tactics and operational plans rely on levels of synchronization only possible through high-bandwidth communications. Satellite communication (SATCOM) is the Fleet’s primary path for high-bandwidth C2. However, afloat units may be denied access due to equipment failure, technical problems, weather phenomenon, or enemy actions, forcing reliance on lower-bandwidth alternatives.
For afloat units, bandwidth has become a critical but painfully finite resource that must be conserved. SATCOM carries data from a large number of disparate systems often referred to as “stovepipes.” These systems vary in function from tactical to administrative, and the data formats for each application vary greatly. The result is communications only occurring vertically within a system, but not across the breadth of different systems.