Navy’s Information Boss Addresses IW Challenges, Opportunities at WEST 2023
24 February 2023
SAN DIEGO, CA. --
Naval Information Warfare Enterprise leaders attended WEST 2023 at the San Diego Convention Center Feb. 14-16, openly discussing today’s information warfare environment to a variety of industry, government and military leaders.
WEST 2023, co-sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), is the premier naval conference and exposition on the West Coast. The theme for this year’s theme was “Readiness, Capability and Capacity: How Do the Sea Services Match Up Against the Future Threat?” The conference brings together tens of thousands of leaders in military, government, industry, and academia to discuss information warfare, integrated warfare, near-peer challenges and associated creative and agile solutions.
Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, NAVIFOR commander, started the conference Feb 14 by participating in a panel titled “Naval Type Commanders and how they are seeing readiness, capability, and capacity in their warfare community.” During the panel, commanders of Naval Type Commands (TYCOMs) were represented and fielded questions from both the moderator and audience on their top priorities in meeting future threats.
Aeschbach highlighted to the panel audience how Naval Information Warfare capabilities and expertise are in high demand across the fleet, and how IW plays a role in every naval mission, every day.
“I would say that people are our weapons system in information warfare. Our biggest challenge right now is facing demand. We are needed everywhere, and I cannot produce enough information warfare capacity and capability to disrupt it everywhere that we would like to have it,” noted Aeschbach. “And so that remains a real pressing challenge for me: how we prioritize where we put our talent and ensure that we have it in the most impactful place.”
On Feb. 15, Aeschbach delivered remarks from the IW Pavilion, stressing the importance of integrating Navy IW fully into Live, Virtual, and Constructive training.
“We are pressing hard to get into live virtual constructive training environment,” said Aeschbach. “As many of you know, information warfare capabilities are typically the type of capabilities that we either don't have the authorization to fully exercise in our own airspace and waters, or frankly, if we could fully exercise them, we don't want to reveal what we're truly capable of. And so we need to be in a virtual environment where we can allow our Sailors to explore the full capability and capacity that we currently deliver…if we unleash Sailors in those environments, they will innovate in a way that will discover we have capability we didn't even know we had.”
That evening Aeschbach was the keynote speaker at the Women in AFCEA Appreciation Award reception, during which she shared her perspectives on the importance of mentoring. Aeschbach reflected back on her 33 years in the Navy and the mentors and sponsors that have impacted her career as a career intelligence officer and Navy IW community leader.
“When I consider Navy Information Warfare and the Navy at large, I think we share a lot of the same objectives as everyone in this room. First, I think we recognize two things. One, which you all make a priority is that we need more women in STEM, serving as STEM professionals in every facet of industry, academia, and government, and I really admire and commend the work that women in AFCEA are doing in this field,” said Aeschbach. “And secondly, that no progress, none of that advancement happens without mentorship and sponsorship.”
In addition to participation from the Navy’s Information Boss, the IW pavilion on the WEST show floor showcased the various naval aspects of information warfighters and the importance of IW in the Navy. Various IW Sailors and civilians were on hand from across IW disciplines. The pavilion allows the industry professionals who design and build the platforms, equipment and weapons to talk first hand with WEST attendees about the demand and challenges of IW.
The IW Pavilion, now in its seventh year at WEST, highlights the Navy’s commitment to warfighting and the warfighter, now and in the future. Through interactive pavilion displays and a robust speaker’s series, subject matter experts from commands across the IW enterprise were on-hand to meet with attendees and highlight current technologies utilized by the Fleet.
NAVIFOR’s mission is to generate, directly and through our leadership of the IW Enterprise, agile and technically superior manned, trained, equipped, and certified combat-ready IW forces to ensure our Navy will decisively DETER, COMPETE, and WIN.
For more information on NAVIFOR, visit the command Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces/
or the public web page at https://www.navifor.usff.navy.mil