Selby kicks off Navy unmanned hacking event

By Audrey Decker / November 17, 2021 at 5:18 PM

The Navy’s newly formed unmanned task force kicked off its “Blue Angels for Geeks” event yesterday, a public hacking event to attack the service’s unmanned systems.

This week “Hack the Machine Unmanned” will bring the public a series of virtual challenges to help accelerate the task force’s mission of developing and fielding unmanned systems.

Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby spoke on day two of the event, emphasizing the need for the Navy’s systems to be “small, agile and many.”

“If the simulations of wargaming about the power of the small and the agile and the many prove accurate, then we need formations composed of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of unmanned vehicles, above, below and on the surface of the ocean,” Selby said today. “We need to build collaborative, autonomous formations, not a collection of platforms.”

The Navy needs to find out if it can hedge against large and complex vessels with small and agile systems, Selby said.

“We need to be bold and prove this idea works and that we can build it,” Selby said.

However, this focus on unmanned systems doesn’t mean carrier strike groups are irrelevant.

“What we’re talking about now is not the demise of the carrier strike group, but another alternative, another option,” he said. “Like anything else in life, it’s nice to have a variability of options and not always have to use your biggest sledgehammer on all problems. Sometimes you only need a screwdriver.”