U.S. Navy, Cybersecurity, and Distributed Lethality

Commentary | November 28, 2016

An exclusive interview with Vice Admiral Thomas S. Rowden, Commander of Naval Surface Forces.

Since World War II, the U.S. Navy has been a critical part of ensuring stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Today, however, new challenges from peer competitors to cyber attacks are testing the USN like never before. To understand the Navy’s strategy for dealing with these issues, EWI Senior Fellow Franz-Stefan Gady spoke with Vice Admiral Thomas S. Rowden, Commander of Naval Surface Forces.

Earlier this year you ordered a “stand down” owing to a series of equipment and human failures on board the Littoral Combat Ships. Are the critical issues behind these developments strategic or technical in nature?

There is no question that the vast majority of our LCS Sailors are doing the right thing every day, but it is crucial that every Sailor is able to follow the proper procedures, and this is why we conducted a stand down. There were a few instances of human error that contributed to engineering casualties on some littoral combat ships. The stand down focused on addressing procedural compliance issues and reminding our Sailors of the importance of operating equipment in accordance with established procedures. Given that we are operating two completely different and complex ships, along with the fact that each new ship slightly deviates from the last version of the particular variant, it was important that we took the time to review our processes, discuss various issues, and share lessons learned.

Click here to read the full article on The Diplomat.