Navy in 2014: Undersea drones, Arctic, Marines on new ships

Chief of Naval Operations discusses his to-do list, touches on Barrio Logan debate

By Jeanette Steele4:19 p.m.Feb. 1, 2014 Flag of the Chief of Naval Operations

Flag of the Chief of Naval Operations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chief of naval operations, Adm. JonathanGreenert, spoke about the issues topping his agenda for 2014 in an interview this weekend with U-T San Diego. He also took questions about the Barrio Logan shipyard debate, the widening Navy bribery scandal in Asia and recent speculation about the Navy shrinking from 11 to 10 aircraft carriers.

Q: What’s on the top of your to-do list?

A: Sexual assault is an overarching, main concern that we need to take care of. I want to state that upfront. But the four priorities I’m going to talk about, these are things I want to get done during my tenure.

First of all, the electromagnetic spectrum. Naval warfare has emerged such that the use of that spectrum – radars, communications, cyber – has expanded dramatically. Other nations, industry, we have most of our systems conglomerated in one part of that (VHF, UHF and part of SHF).

What’s the problem with that? It’s predictable. It clobbers industry and what folks are trying to do with Wi-Fi, broadband, even garage-door openers. They are using a frequency to do all that. We are using the same frequency to talk and send signals on. We’ve got to expand our way out here (up the spectrum toward gamma-rays) to be able to hop around so I can talk on this frequency or that one. That helps deceive our enemies and preclude them from jamming us or listening in.


Navy Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, stands next to the USNS John Glenn shortly before its christening ceremony. — Charlie Neuman / UT San Diego

Q: What will it take to expand the Navy’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum?

A: We may be able to tune our existing gear. As we are building new communications systems, there’s a feature they call frequency hopping. We need to look at that. And we need to ask industry, “Can you expand the aperture of our listening devices?”

Q: What’s bringing this to the top of your agenda?

A: I had a V-8 moment. The Federal Communications Commission came to the Defense Department and said industry would like to purchase rights to some frequency bands to do broadband. We would need for you guys to move off this band if we want to sell it. To me, I said this never is going to end.

Q: So you want to diversify. What happens if the Navy doesn’t succeed?

A:If we are training off the coast here, and we train how to jam. We turn on the device. And then garage doors are going up and down in Coronado and La Jolla. Or, you are on your Wi-Fi and you get interference. What the airport uses to control aircraft, we would have to deconflict that. It would be onerous at best and impossible at worst.

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