Photos: Looking in on the Navy's Command Center of the Future
Hidden away in a nondescript office building on a hill above San Diego, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific is quietly working on a prototype for what could eventually be the Navy's next command centers.
Navy Command Center of the Future
Across the street from the Navy's Third Fleet headquarters in San Diego, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific is working on hundreds of research projects for the Navy and other military services. Among the projects is what is known as the Navy's Command Center of the Future. And SPAWAR, or the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, has recently unveiled a prototype of a room, seen here, geared toward providing decision makers with the kind of privacy, information, and flexibility they need to handle actionable situations.
While this room is only a prototype, it has many of the elements likely to make it into the actual command centers: glass walls complete with many small video screens; a large video screen that serves as the central focus of those in the room; a small, private room with glass walls that can automatically be darkened in case classified information needs to be discussed; and much more.
A sign inside SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific in San Diego points visitors to the Navy Command Center of the Future. Though a prototype today, the room could herald what military command centers look like in 5 to 10 years.
The centerpiece of the room, this 135-inch screen draws the attention of everyone. It can be used to display a videoconference, or to show large maps, among many other choices. In front of it is a table where several decision makers can sit.
This table display in the foreground of the room is always monitored by Navy personnel to ensure that nothing gets missed and that the decision makers have all the information they need about action taking place in real time.
At the entrance to the Navy Command Center of the Future, a wall is covered with the insignia of the many agencies the room serves: The Department of Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Marines, and the Air Force.
Because highly sensitive information is expected to be discussed inside any future military command centers, this glass-walled private room inside the Command Center of the Future is designed so that its walls can automatically go dark and so that it becomes sound proof. The idea is that classified discussions can be had inside the private room without people having to leave the center.
The Navy's Command Center of the Future is being designed by the same people engaged to rebuild the White House Situation Room.