CANES: An Open Systems C4I Networks Design



CANES: An Open Systems C4I Networks Design
The Navy has entered the full production phase that will install
CANES on all platforms in its inventory objective, which includes
ships, submarines and land sites. Navy photo of the USS Ronald
Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group.
An Open Systems C4I
Networks Design
The Navy’s newly deployed afloat information technology system called
CANES is a cyber-secure solution that consolidates key legacy C4I networks
by employing flexible open architecture to generate long-term savings and
bring operational agility to the warfighter.
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CANES: An Open Systems C4I Networks Design
CANES units bound for installation aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) are
loaded and tested in the SPAWAR Network Integration and Engineering Facility prior to delivery.
Photo: U.S. Navy
CANES, or Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise
Services, is based on a Northrop Grumman design that
leverages the company’s vast expertise in cyber and
embraces open systems for continuous competition to
drive innovation up and cost down.
Northrop Grumman applied its Modular Open Systems
Approach-Competitive TM (MOSA-C) for the CANES
design to bring the lifecycle benefits of open-systems
architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components
and software. The MOSA-C process allows for longlasting solutions that improve interoperability and lower
total ownership cost.
“By maximizing commonality and using our MOSA-C
to drive down material costs, Northrop Grumman has
delivered dozens of affordable, highly capable shipsets
that enable information dominance to the warfighter,”
says Sam Abbate, vice president and general manager for
the command and control division at Northrop Grumman.
Since winning the contract for a limited-production
run for CANES in early 2012, Northrop Grumman has
delivered 37 shipsets. Some of them are already installed
on Navy ships and actively serving forward deployed
sailors and Marines.
With CANES, the Navy is making sea-based C4I
networks easier to operate, creating a common computing
environment, reducing costs associated with maintaining
legacy systems, and allowing for rapid upgrades to get the
most capable technology to the warfighter while quickly
meeting emerging threats.
“CANES is designed to maximize commonality across
the fleet. Its open architecture allows for rapid deployment
of new and existing apps,” says Catherine Meyn, Northrop
Grumman’s program manager for CANES. “And we
integrated information assurance into the product right
from the beginning.”
Assured Cybersecurity
When the CANES program was initiated years ago, the
world was in the early stages of recognizing the harm
potential adversaries or hackers could inflict in the cyber
CANES: An Open Systems C4I Networks Design
domain. In the time since, the threat has become palpable, and
countering it has grown into an urgent national security priority.
“The CANES shipsets we are producing today are
information-assured cyber-robust systems,” Meyn says.
Northrop Grumman was among the earliest in the defense
industry to grasp cyber’s importance and leverage it into
the design and development of CANES. Northrop Grumman’s
broad approach accounted for a host of issues, ranging
from the physical protection of the system to system-wide
monitoring, as well as identification and protection against
potential threats, says Meyn.
“We’re applying our 30-plus years of cyber expertise
to ensure customer missions are protected,” Meyn says.
“To defend against an increasingly sophisticated threat,
cybersecurity has got to be part of the plan. Building it in
upfront makes it affordable and allows you to operate in a
trusted environment.”
SCI Networks
CANES is consolidating multiple legacy ship information technology
networks. U.S. Navy image.
“Even back then we were looking beyond a Blackberry,
to think about how this new technology would transition,
and we assumed there would be movement toward other
devices,” Meyn says.
Northrop Grumman’s ACTC developed an advancement
in trusted mobility called TEMPO that the company will
demonstrate to the government. TEMPO complies with access
validation through a Common Access Card (CAC) approach and
would allow sailors to securely use smartphones or tablets
with CANES. TEMPO ensures proper user identity and checks
apps on the devices to ensure they are safe, Meyn says.
“We are using our internal research and development to
identify even more ways that we can improve cyber on CANES
and carry it to the deck plate and beyond,” Meyn says.
Reaching for the Cloud
CANES is simplifying the IT infrastructure on Navy ships.
As the Navy proceeds with CANES, Northrop Grumman will
continue to offer cyber solutions to guard against tomorrow’s
threats, and has already developed new technology,
leveraging expertise from its Advanced Cyber Technology
Center (ACTC), to allow end-users to safely interact with
CANES using portable devices like smartphones and tablets.
The ACTC, which launched last year, harnesses cyber
innovation from across the company to bolster resiliency for
customers worldwide.
The open architecture standards designed into CANES allow
for the introduction of new, emerging technologies like iPhones
and Android devices before they were household items.
The Navy is planning to use CANES as the backbone
for an expansion to the Tactical Cloud to quickly and cost
effectively access, deploy and store Big Data.
While the Cloud was not on the horizon when CANES was
designed, the Navy is able to take advantage of its open
architecture design to adapt the system for Cloud operations.
“CANES is a tremendous capability,” Meyn says. “When we
started, there was no Cloud. But as with all new technology,
once you get it you find it’s used in ways that you never
imagined when it was being designed.”
CANES would allow sailors to access data on the Cloud
while underway without having to store it all on the ship,
limiting the need for massive amounts of onboard storage
space. End-users could acquire the requisite data and send
it back to the Cloud once the mission is complete. They
could also share new data with others by uploading it to
the Cloud.
“The point of Cloud computing is having the right
information at the right time in the right place,” Meyn says.
“The Cloud allows you to collect and contain enormous
amounts of data and disseminate it to the right location in
the right format.”
CANES: An Open Systems C4I Networks Design
The USS McCampbell (DDG 85) was the first Navy ship to become operational
with CANES. Photo: U.S. Navy
Open Competition
The Navy has entered the full production phase that will
install CANES on all platforms in its inventory objective,
which includes ships, submarines and land sites. The
Northrop Grumman design owned by the Navy will serve as
the basis for full production units that will be awarded in
small numbers at a time to competing companies.
The acquisition strategy is intended to promote continuous
competition to get the right price, a key tenet of the open
architecture business model increasingly critical in an era of
constrained budgets.
Northrop Grumman was quick to harness the potential
of open architecture solutions, and to recognize the value
of sharing data rights with the government, minimizing
sustainment and lifecycle costs while promoting a
collaborative and competitive environment.
“We know that we will always be looking into the future
and innovating,” Meyn says, outlining why Northrop Grumman
was comfortable handing over the data rights in partnership
with the Navy.
“We know that technology is fleeting, and people are
always moving to the next technology,” she adds. “We
can leverage that technology. So can the government. And
together we can come up with something that is better than
the sum of its parts.”
Northrop Grumman’s Modular Open Systems Approach-Competitive
(MOSA-C) model allows CANES to minimize lifecycle costs and bring
agility to the warfighter. Image: Northrop Grumman