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. Related story: Inside the Navy's Command Center of the Future
2 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
This way to the Command Center of the Future
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.
3 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
The big screen
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.
4 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
Video displays galore
On both sides of the glass-walled room, there are several video displays meant to show those in the room any kind of information they need as quickly as they need it. The screens can show live video, documents loaded by an artificial-intelligence system, news from commercial media, and just about anything the people need to see.
5 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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.
6 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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.
7 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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.
8 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
Inside the private room
A look inside the private room within the Command Center of the Future.
9 of 10 Daniel Terdiman/CNET
While the main decision makers inside the room will sit at the big round table, the room also can feature seating for others along one of the walls.