AI and Analytics: Must Haves for Our Naval Force

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Marketing Intelligence Manager

There’s a real sense of urgency in the Navy.

Increasingly, at conferences (most recently at AFCEA West) and in sidebar conversations, I hear maritime leaders talk about “Great Power Competition” and how we’ve reached an inflection point in terms of how dispersed our fleet can reasonably be while maintaining effectiveness with current capabilities.

The mantra “do more with less” has been around since time immemorial but there’s a widespread belief that while the U.S. military will always have the advantage in air, land and sea, artificial intelligence (AI) looks to be an equalizer. There’s also the belief that we are only at the beginning of the adoption and development cycle for AI.

How do you fight a war against an adversary that can predict what you are going to do before you even know? Ladies and gentlemen, we are in an AI arms race.

How can hardware and software technology manufacturers help?

Ultimately, everything the Navy buys is in support of its main goal of increasing lethality, whether it is a carrier, shipyard or office ERP – the Navy is doubling down on finding ways to improve its warfighting capability and readiness through AI-enabled analytics.

Warfighting

One thing to note is that AI-enabled analytics is viewed by naval leaders as a transformative force. It promises the ability to analyze data, make reasonable assumptions and provide predictions at a scale and speed impossible for humans. This is especially important given that we’ve largely mastered the art of collecting data.

The issue the Navy has is that there is now too much data. Data is too big, too raw, or the problem is too little processing power. Compounding this challenge is the increased interoperability with coalition partners, which will mean even more information flows.

The Navy is seeking help from industry in producing “better” data. Information that drives decision making. Tools that can help parse through all the signals and noise, teasing out what is relevant – that’s what the Navy needs. This will enable the Navy to better execute on its core warfighting mission – which in this connected world – is heavily dependent on pulling from disparate data sources to create a common operational picture and give commanders on the ground the visibility and intelligence they need. NAVSEA, NAVAIR, SPAWAR, PEO-C4I and ONR are major insertion points because they oversee many of the platform and ISR based programs that lie close to the pointy end of the spear.

Readiness

The Navy’s heavy appetite for analytics extends to areas further back from the battlefield, like readiness and business operations. One key takeaway from my conversations with Naval leaders is how much readiness is a major growth opportunity for those selling AI and analytic tools to the Navy .

Readiness is a term describing the condition of our forces, equipment and technology. High readiness means the Navy can effectively carry out military operations when needed. Where the Navy will look to incorporate AI and analytics will be in the areas of (predictive) maintenance, HR, training, logistics and supply chain.

Show how your technology can help the Navy reduce workloads and get ahead of readiness problems before they occur. Key insertion points are PEO-EIS, SPAWAR, NAVSUP and NAVFAC because they are either the direct consumers or the funnel for requirements to improve readiness through analytics.

The Navy’s technology procurement is geared toward building its force for the future, maximizing what we have today and integrating how it fights and works together with other military departments and allies. That is the way forward. Because technology evolves so rapidly and data generated expands just as quickly, the Navy will be looking to integrate AI and analytics in everything the Navy does around IT whether it be security, logistics, warfighting, business operations or communications.

 

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About Lloyd McCoy Jr.
Lloyd McCoy is a manager on immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization. He has a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, a M.A. in Public Policy and a B.A. in Political Science, both from the University of Maryland. Lloyd leads the commercial arm of the Market Intelligence team, leveraging market analysis and purchasing trends to help Arrow’s suppliers and partners shorten their sales cycles. Prior to joining immixGroup, Lloyd was a senior analyst in the Intelligence Community for eight years, serving in a variety of senior analytic and project management positions in the U.S. and abroad.

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