WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, Commander, U.S. Second Fleet and Rear Adm. John Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, presented remarks at the DSI’s 5th Annual Joint Networks Summit in Washington, D.C., Feb 3.
Lewis and Meier discussed facilitating the swift and seamless exchange of information during the two blocks of virtual conversations. They also spoke in support of distributed maritime operations and advancing the concept of a joint command and control network that is fully integrated and addresses needs across all levels of conflict.
The virtual event discussion brought together members of the DoD, military services, industry, and academia to examine and discuss efforts toward developing and implementing a joint tactical network that is unified, resilient, and interoperable for the warfighter and component commanders.
“I have had the honor of being the commander of both U.S. 2nd Fleet and Joint Force Command Norfolk since 2018,” said Lewis. “While there are many things I will take from this tour, one realization stands out more clearly in my mind than any of the others. The importance of cultivating strong relationships with organizations across the Atlantic cannot be overstated. Maintaining security and stability in the Atlantic is a responsibility shared amongst many in order to ensure the international waters where we all operate remain free and open.”
Senior-level speakers from across the DoD, such as Lewis and Meier, offered their perspectives on how they are helping to develop the architectures and technologies needed to connect tactical data links, as well as strengthen overall C4IT capabilities for mission success.
While Lewis also touched on near terms considerations on how to guide the development of an interoperable network capable of a truly convergent set of integrated attack solutions, Meier mentioned how the joint network operability across the integrated networks will serve as an inherent benefit to naval aviators.
“In an era of information warfare with robust networks the aircraft carrier remains the most survivable and versatile airfield in the world and serves to provide Naval Aviation and the nation the flexibility, and lethality in the era of near-peer competition,” said Meier, who has been a naval aviator for 34 years, and assumed command of AIRLANT in May 2020, also compared the historical advances over the past century and the inherent capability it provides to Naval Aviation. “When comparing the 20th and 21st centuries, we are in the era of robust network capabilities and asymmetric advantages they provide to our forces.”
Meier also touched on the recent remarks made by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said during the 33rd Surface Navy Association on Jan. 11, 2021.
“In the near-term fight, adversaries will attempt to contest all domains and deny us safe haven. The fight for control of the seas will take place in the information and space domains, and across the electromagnetic spectrum.”
Meier also touched on the robust capabilities of Naval Aviation assets the Carrier Strike Group provides, touching on the interoperability and integration with the Marine Corps.
“Naval Aviation has always benefited from the rich teaming with our Marine Corps team; we benefit as an organization from the robust communication capabilities,” said Meier.
Meier additionally touched on the various Naval Aviation assets that provides operational domain knowledge to the Combatant Commander, the Fleet, service counterparts, and the Carrier Strike Group, such as the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye’s highly specialized electronic equipment which can simultaneously search, identify and track more than six million cubic miles of airspace and hundreds of targets.
The moderator for the conversations for both Lewis and Meier was retired Brig. Gen. David Kumashiro, USAF, Director, Research and Analysis National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.
COMNAVAIRLANT is responsible for six nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 43,000 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel based on the East Coast of the United States. It provides combat ready, sustainable naval air forces with the right personnel, properly trained and equipped, with a focus on readiness, operational excellence, interoperability, safety, and efficient resourcing.