SPAWAR exec goes for net-centric business

'They are going to see a strong push on a business framework that focuses on the concept of getting things done. We're making measurement a workplace reality.'

'James Ward, Executive Director, SPAWAR-Charleston

As the highest-ranking civilian at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston, S.C., James Ward is responsible for managing the 2,300 workers'mostly engineers and technical support staff members'who handle IT system and security functions for the center.

At SPAWAR, engineers design, build, test and support many major command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems in use by military services today or planned for the future.

All of the systems'from a joint command and control communication suite installed on Navy ships to intelligence and information warfare systems'fall under Ward's purview as executive director for SPAWAR-Charleston.

Developing C4ISR systems has become a critical military task, considering the nature of warfare in recent years, Ward said. To boost such development operations, he is working to improve the business framework at SPAWAR.

The command's IT workers 'are going to see a strong push on a business framework that focuses on the concept of getting things done,' he said. 'We're making measurement a workplace reality. We really have got to measure what we want to change.'

The technologies SPAWAR develops include sensors, videoconferencing, image processing, and air traffic control, navigation and security systems.

'We're going to some very scary places in the world,' Ward said recently. 'This gives us the ability to be able to move that type of capability, to really enable the warfighter in today's environment. It provides agility.'

Engineers and technical support staff at SPAWAR-Charleston have designed and fielded numerous high-tech Navy programs.

They range from systems that conduct seemingly mundane operations, such as the Automated Fuel Handling System, to complex communications efforts such as the Automated Digital Network System.

ADNS is one of the larger systems under Ward's management.

It is installed on amphibious ships, carriers, cruisers and destroyers to connect tactical and strategic C4I networks. The TCP/IP networks provide automatic routing and switching to link battle group units with each other and with the Defense Information System Network ashore via radio, Ward said.

'This is a program that most effectively utilizes the bandwidth that we have,' Ward said.

SPAWAR-Charleston is also the fleet integrator for the Navy's Task Force Web initiative. Task Force Web integrates Navy apps into a Web environment for users of the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet and IT for the 21st Century portals.

Under Task Force Web, Navy users can access 30 to 40 separate apps without having to log in to each of them, Ward said.

'It provides a common method for accessing the apps they would need,' he said.

Task Force Web also lets Navy and Marine personnel access pay, personnel, medical records, technical manuals, training syllabi, command and control, logistics and other information using their PCs.

The Automated Fuel Handling system provides security at fuel terminals, Ward said, by letting terminal operators monitor and control the fuel inventory from a central control panel.

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