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January 2017 Issue

Naval Oceanography Strengthens
Competitive Advantage in Information Warfare

By Brian Leshak
Corporate Communication Director,
Office of the Oceanographer, U.S. Navy

In 2016, the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy (OCEANAV) celebrated the 186th anniversary of U.S. Naval Oceanography and the 51st anniversary of the meteorology and oceanography designator, known as METOC.

Naval Oceanography encompasses a wide range of missions that undergird all Navy operations, including oceanography, hydrography, meteorology, climate science, geospatial information science, astrometry, Earth orientation and precise time.

This past year, the Naval Oceanography team ushered in new research vessels, oceanographic survey ships and a new electromagnetic maneuver warfare strategy, and began launching Littoral Battlespace Gliders from Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyers.

New Oceanographic
Survey Ship

The Navy welcomed its newest oceanographic survey ship, the USNS Maury (T-AGS-66), on February 16, 2016. The sixth ship in its class, it was designed to perform acoustic, biological, physical and geophysical surveys. Unlike the other five ships in its class, Maury is 24 ft. longer at 353 ft. in length, with an overall beam of 58 ft. The additional space accommodates a moon pool for deployment and retrieval of AUVs.

“In concert with the Navy’s five other oceanographic survey ships, Maury will no doubt significantly contribute to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander, Pacific Fleet’s vision for theater anti-submarine warfare wholeness,” said Oceanographer of the Navy RAdm. Tim Gallaudet. “Furthermore, with her twenty-by-twenty-foot moon pool, Maury will be a leader in AUV operations, to include numerous deployments of a shared pool of common AUVs.”

While Maury is the last in its class, the latest and greatest technologies aboard will lay the foundation for the next class of survey vessels.

New Oceanographic RV
The Navy welcomed its newest research vessel, the Oceanographic RV Sally Ride (AGOR-28), last October.

Oceanographic research vessels provide scientists with the tools and capabilities to support ongoing research around the globe to gain a better understanding of the world’s oceans, atmosphere and solid earth to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Sally Ride is based on a single-hull commercial design; it measures approximately 238 ft. long and incorporates the latest technologies, including high-efficiency diesel engines, emissions controls for stack gasses, and new information technology tools for monitoring shipboard systems and communicating with the world.

“RV Sally Ride will advance our understanding of the oceans for decades, and we need this understanding in order to protect our country, our interests and our allies,” said Gallaudet. “Climate change, the study of fisheries and understanding sound in the sea are three primary research efforts Sally Ride will explore in its upcoming travels.”

The ship will be operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a charter party agreement with the Office of Naval Research. The vessel has accommodations for 24 scientists and will operate with a crew of 20 personnel.

Release of Electromagnetic
Maneuver Warfare Strategy

The electromagnetic spectrum is an unseen but integral part of the Navy. Naval forces rely upon electromagnetic propagation to operate communications systems and data transfer networks. The fleet’s weapons systems use radar, electro-optical and laser sensing systems.

Under his role of commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC), Gallaudet released his Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW) Strategy last March. The strategy’s goals are to influence development of the Navy’s EMW capabilities, improve Naval Oceanography’s environmental sensing and prediction capabilities and integrate EM environmental impacts into the Navy’s decision-making process. Furthermore, Gallaudet’s strategy includes objectives focused on coordinating and expanding partnerships to build environmental awareness into warfare systems and tactical decision aids.

“The electromagnetic (EM) environment is so fundamental to naval operations and our national interests that future conflicts will not be won simply by using the EM spectrum of cyberspace, they will be won within them,” said Gallaudet. “Occupying the high ground is a significant tactical advantage in any battlespace. In today’s crowded electromagnetic spectrum and increasingly networked systems, we must understand the terrain of the electromagnetic spectrum and exploit that high ground to our overwhelming advantage.”

Deploying Gliders from Destroyers for ASW
In late 2015, the Naval Sea Systems Command approved the deployment of unmanned Littoral Battlespace Gliders from Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyers (DDGs). Until recently, the gliders were only deployed from the Navy’s six oceanographic survey ships. Deploying them from DDGs increases the number of platforms that are able to deploy and recover them. “Most importantly, it puts gliders in the same battlespace where the fleet is conducting anti-submarine warfare, or ASW, giving them an undersea advantage over an adversary by collecting oceanographic measurements that greatly improve ocean and acoustic models,” said Gallaudet.

The gliders persistently measure conductivity, temperature, pressure and optical clarity. The data are available to the ship’s crew, as well as transmitted several times per day to the Naval Oceanographic Office to update high-resolution oceanographic models that directly support naval assets conducting a broad range of operations, including anti-submarine, mine and Naval special warfare.

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