The Chief of Naval Operations recently said he would publish an update to his Navigation Plan (NAVPLAN) “within another month.”

“The Navigation Plan was always intended to keep the Navy cited and honest on those key competencies that we most have to deliver during what we consider a critical decade,” Adm. Mike Gilday said during the McAleese and Associates annual defense programs conference on March 9.

He said the document will focus on four key areas: how the Navy shoots, maneuvers, defends and resupplies.

The CNO released his initial NAVPLAN in January 2021, which sought to outline how the department will grow its naval power to project power across all domains in the future, focusing on readiness, capabilities, capacities and sailors (Defense Daily, Jan.12, 2021).

The previous NAVPLAN said it charts how the service will execute the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy and supersedes earlier Navy guidance like Design 2.0. It also informed the CNO’s annual guidance for the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) and internal implementation framework. 

“We actually have, in the cases I’m going to describe anyway…we actually have classified north stars or objectives and those objectives are defined in terms of specific outcomes at a specific time within an accountable three-star officer that’s in charge of delivering to those objectives,” Gilday said.

He underscored the shoot part focuses on long-range fires, with hypersonic weapons being a big part of it. Maneuver has to do with counter-command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (C5ISRT) “and think about blinding the adversary, particularly early in the fight where we want to put our forces in the position of advantage.”

Gilday said defend “has everything to do with terminal defense” and he noted that he is “very bullish on directed energy and microwave energy as a means to defend the fleet,” so the vessels can shoot and deliver long-range fires.

Resupply relates to contested logistics in the NAVPLAN and “thinking differently about how we keep a distributed fleet forward, supplied in the fight.”

The CNO said there are also four enablers of the NAVPLAN that provide “connective tissue” for the four main elements: unmanned systems, networks with Project Overmatch and the Naval Operational Architecture, Live Virtual Construct simulations training, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Gilday said the Navy is investing in AI in every warfare area and beyond. This includes business systems, manpower, and personnel.