Dahlgren, VA – On December 12, 2019, Navy officials, including Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) leadership, broke ground for a new Cyber Warfare Engineering Laboratory.
Three speakers – Scott St. Pierre, Enterprise Information Technology officer for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA); NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Casey Plew, and NSWCDD Acting Technical Director Darren Barnes – described the building as crucial to fulfilling the command’s cyber warfare vision, mission, and initiative.
“Since 1918, NSWC Dahlgren has been the Navy laboratory that the nation needs and at each turn has evolved to tackle the toughest challenges,” St. Pierre told the civilian and military audience, predominantly NSWCDD personnel. “From long range gunnery to cruise missile defense to ballistic missile defense, and just about everything in between, Dahlgren has been on the forefront of naval warfare for over a century. It’s only fitting that NSWC Dahlgren be given the conn for cyber engineering and be selected as the site for the Cyber Warfare Engineering Lab.”
Plew described the new facility “as a testament to the awesome efforts of our workforce who will continue to effectively innovate, engineer, and integrate cyber warfare technical solutions into naval and joint systems across the warfighter domain by leveraging our competencies in warfare systems research, development, analysis, test and evaluation.”
The facility – 10,000 square feet of classified research, development and operational testing space – brings together the building blocks of existing capabilities into one place to provide a robust and flexible software and hardware testing capability for Department of Defense (DoD) and Navy weapon systems, cyber and network platforms, and industrial control systems supporting DoD infrastructure.
“Our technical leadership, scientists, and engineers – especially those who are engaged in the cyber combat domain – envisioned this day long ago,” said Darren Barnes, NSWCDD acting technical director. “I can assure you that we will not waste time after cutting the ribbon to open our new Cyber Warfare Engineering Laboratory. It will host live, virtual and constructive cyber warfare events to enable and empower our cyber experts to develop, build, test, accredit, field and sustain cyber resilient systems.”
The facility offers a centralized location for test directors, scientists and engineers to apply visual and interactive resources and tools in accomplishing cyber engineering and test objectives.
“Upon these grounds, our cyber leaders and specialists will collaborate with warfighters on weapon systems, platforms, and cyber infrastructure,” said Barnes. “They will leverage the upcoming and awesome cyber warfare engineering capabilities planned for this facility to develop and deploy the ways, means, protocols, and technologies to counter adversary cyber capabilities and identify and mitigate system and infrastructure risks to ensure mission success.”
Working with the operational and acquisition communities throughout the lifecycle of Navy and DoD weapon systems, platforms, and cyber infrastructure, the laboratory will continually develop and provide methods to counter adversary cyber capabilities and identify and mitigate system and infrastructure risks to ensure mission success.
“The Cyber Warfare Engineering Lab is designed to support test and evaluation of the cybersecurity hardening of our warfighting capabilities,” said St. Pierre.
In 2015, cyber warfare engineering was declared one of three Dahlgren thrust areas in the five-year NSWCDD Strategic Plan.
Plew described how the command has been busy incorporating cyber warfare engineering in its naval systems ever since.
“We laid out our cyber initiatives that included developing, building and maintaining secure, remotely accessible RDT&E (research, development, test and evaluation) facilities for supporting cyber warfare engineering efforts for current and future combat and weapon systems programs of record,” said the NSWCDD commanding officer, while citing the command’s other thrust areas – mission engineering and electric weapons.
“We are leading electric weapons design, development and integration. Our scientists and engineers are developing and testing high energy laser systems for deployment in the fleet,” said Plew. “Dahlgren Division delivers what our nation’s warfighters need and that is awesome.”
Artist’s rendering of the Cyber Warfare Engineering Laboratory to be built at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division
Commanding Officer Capt. Casey Plew signs a shovel prior to a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cyber Warfare Engineering Laboratory. Plew broke ground with officials from NSWCDD, Naval Sea Systems Command, and CFM Engineering for the new facility that will provide a robust and flexible software and hardware testing capability for Department of Defense and Navy weapon systems, cyber and network platforms in addition to industrial control systems supporting DoD infrastructure.
Photos courtesy of U.S. Navy