MANAGEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE INDIAN NAVY
“Ninety percent of what we call ‘management' consists of making it difficult for people to get things done”
- Peter Drucker
1. In a historical perspective, mankind can be seen to have developed technology as a result of a series of innovations in three main fields of activity:-
(a) The utilisation of materials
(b) The exploitation and transformation of energy
(c) The understanding and application of scientific principles
2. The level of efficacy of a technologically intensive organisation like the Navy is set by its ability to absorb, add and apply the existing repository of world knowledge in science and technology. Technological development, therefore, does not “just happen”; it results from the conscious effort, stimulated by social and economic factors, to find a new or a better way of satisfying a perceived need.
3. Technological development creates pressure for change in a fighting force like the Navy. The Navy, in order to meet the needs of modernisation and to satisfy its aspirations, creates demands for technological changes. There is no natural law by which development is assured. The twin factors of “Need Pull” and “Technology Push” do catalyse technological development in a much generalised way. The “Need Pull” for faster and accurate delivery of weapons did facilitate the development of missile technologies. The “Need Pull” of deception of naval platforms from enemy detection contributed to the emergence of stealth technology. On the other hand, galloping advancements in the fields of communications and digital electronics have generated the “Technology Push” for emergence of concepts like Integrated Platform Management Systems (IPMS), Joint Strategic Attack Radar Systems (J-STARS) etc. on naval platforms. It is the phenomenal advancement in Information Technology (IT) that has generated the “Technology Push” for emergence of cyber warfare. Thus, the process of development of technology can be characterised as a confluence of technological routes, each of which constitutes a particular combination of the application of physical principles, materials and energy to result in development of new weapon / sensor products.
4. The management of technology is the art of reconciling the pressures of “Need Pull” and the demands of “Technology Push”. It is concerned with developing the capabilities and characteristics of the Navy to match potential benefits and to contain the hazards resulting from technology change. The range of weapon and sensor systems in use in the Indian Navy (IN) today, and the attendant costs of training, cross-training and migration of trained personnel from one system to another could serve as classic examples of the challenges that need to be addressed, when dealing with technology.
Statement of Problem
1. This study seeks to highlight the importance and the need of introducing the concept of Data Centres for better management and exploitation of IT in the IN, with a view to enable seamless and effective transition to network centric operations.
2. The IN is swamped with a varied and at times, incongruous mix of technological diversity. The high/ low technological diversity of imported and indigenous origin has given rise to intractable complexities in utilisation and maintenance of naval computer systems. Add to this, the asymmetry in operations, training, logistics and R & D of the Navy, and we have a deadly cocktail that is a sure recipe for disaster. A technology audit of computer systems is the need of the hour, so as to bring about an integrated, co-ordinated and holistic approach towards IT management, which would go a long way in achieving what one would like to describe as a force designed for “Network Centric Operations”.
Justification of the Study
3. The 21st century has witnessed an unprecedented growth in the field of IT. The world over, organisations are looking at consolidation of IT resources for achieving better Return on Investment (ROI), ease of use, uniform security overlays, Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) planning. Today, the strength of a mammoth organisation like the IN today is judged by its IT infrastructure and how judiciously it is utilized to leverage the overall attainment of the IN's short term and long term objectives.
4. The biggest assets of the IN today include the information represented in its people namely the experience, know how and innovation. The IN lays great emphasis on why and how, technology can be put to best use to ensure information flows within the organisation for larger vision of sustained Operations through Seamless Connectivity.
5. In the field of warfare also, Information has, emerged as the fifth dimension in addition to land, sea, air and space. Indeed the supremacy of Information Systems are increasingly relegating the other more traditional and conventional forms of modern day warfare to sidelines regardless of strength in other military dimensions. The newest tools and processes emerging in war fighting such as Net centric warfare, integrated Command and Control (C4ISR), System of Systems and Global Information Grid (GIG) etc which have led to a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) are all powered by IT.
6. The extraordinary technological advances currently taking place in satellites, sensors, communications and computers, coupled with new ideas about naval tactics and force structures, would lead to, what military planners regard as, one of the most sweeping revolutions in warfare. The world is entering into one of those rare historic periods, when new capabilities would combine with new doctrines and tactics to produce unprecedented revolution in military affairs, sparked by the exploitation of IT. In future, military commanders would talk about, the need to obtain ‘Information Superiority'. The revolution in IT that we have been witnessing has brought about unprecedented changes in the way we work, manage our affairs and make decisions. The development in the transaction processing technology has given rise to a situation where the quantum and rate of data captured is very high. Data warehousing and data mining (both data and text) coupled with convergence of Information and Communication technologies are being looked at to ensure processing of this data in a reasonable time and to extract intelligence/knowledge in a near real time for informed decision-making.
7. While technology is moving at a fast pace, the creation and management of networks is becoming complex as the development of technology is closely followed by anti- technology. The primary aim of such techniques is the denial of information with a view to paralyze the Command and Control system of the adversary. Therefore networking systems are prime targets and their survivability is critical towards sustaining net centricity. For an effective info-structure, intrusion detection and prevention systems are as necessary as data security and audits as a good mix of security policy and technology can only achieve the desired end state of information assurance. While COTS solutions for these may be available, these solutions require appropriate customization prior to implementation in the Naval environment.
8. The IN also aims to leverage the power of IT and achieve net-centricity through collaborative integration of naval entities and their information assets with a strategic partnership with the industry.
9. With the foregoing as a back ground, it is obvious that the IN has become increasingly dependent on computerised information systems to carry out its operations and to process, maintain, and report essential information. As a consequence, the reliability of computerised data and of the systems that process, maintain and report these data, call for regular auditing. A very large number of networks of varying spans and complexity have sprung up all over the IN, with large volumes of data available simultaneously at a very large number of locations, often placed incongruously . All the volumes of data are not available to users across networks, leading to multiplicity of data resulting in clogging of networks and their data storage systems. It is, therefore, necessary that the whole spectrum of IT resources of the IN be re-examined and restructured in the classical Client -Server backbone architecture, with a dedicated employment of robust data centres at higher formations feeding ‘dumb' terminals or ‘thin' clients at the lower or operating levels. In addition, an IT audit could also examine the adequacy of controls in information systems and related operations to ensure system effectiveness, insofar as reliability, validity and security of sensitive data is concerned.
10. This study will concentrate on the need for data centres in the IN.
Methods of Data Collection
11. Since the subject matter is specific to the Indian Navy, it is proposed to collect data for the study from available in-service material of an unclassified nature, if available, as well as open source literature, pertinent and with specific relevance, either published or available on the internet.
Organisation of the Dissertation
12. It is proposed to carry out the study in the following manner :-
(a) Chapter III - The need for Data Centres.
(b) Chapter IV - Planning Considerations for Data Centres for the IN.
(c) Chapter V - Proposed Data Centre Model for the IN.
(d) Chapter VII - Conclusion.
 LtCdr Sujoy S Majumdar : CEP on Selection of Materials for Naval Platforms, Naval College of Engineering, 1998
 LtCdr Sujoy S Majumdar. Loc cit.
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