Innovative Thinking At 'Hack the Machine' 2019
by U.S. Navy Elisha Gamboa
Naval Information Warfare Systems Command
November 7, 2019
Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) leaders encouraged participants at the Hack the Machine competition to push traditional boundaries and explore unconventional solutions for warfighters on September 6-8, 2019 at New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in Brooklyn, New York.
September 7, 2019 - A team of Naval Midshipmen and Air Force Airmen from the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy participate in track one during HacktheMachine competition at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City. HACKtheMACHINE is where people from diverse backgrounds and professions work alongside military and government personnel to help the U.S. Navy solve its foremost cyber and technical problems. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Ilyankoff)
Led by Naval Sea Systems Command, Hack the Machine is a unique digital experience that brings together a diverse set of professionals to work alongside military and government personnel to address some of the most challenging issues the Navy is currently facing.
NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker, originally from New York, helped kick off the event, speaking to attendees about the importance of innovation and collaboration in today’s increasingly competitive information environment to ensure national and global security.
“Tomorrow’s problems will not be solved with yesterday’s solutions; instead they require new and innovative ideas,” said Becker. “We have to work together - Navy, government, industry, students, and teachers, technical and non-technical people - to think differently and turn those ideas into reality to make sure we remain ahead of our competition in the coming decades.”
During the competition, Becker and Capt. Kurt Rothenhaus, program manager for the Tactical Networks Program Office at the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), spoke to participants on the event floor, encouraging them to push the limits of what is possible when tackling the event challenges.
“It was terrific to be in Brooklyn for this year’s Hack the Machine, to bring new and diverse perspectives to our Navy’s and Nation’s technical challenges and opportunities,” said Rothenhaus. “This includes using emerging technologies in data sciences on the latest network we are delivering today for the Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES).”
Hack the Machine offered three tracks or challenges, one of which incorporated NAVWAR-developed technologies.
The Cleared for Takeoff challenge allowed participants the chance to use data science and machine learning technologies to predict maintenance problems before they happen and keep aircrafts like the Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet in the air.
Participants competing in the Cleared for Takeoff challenge had the opportunity to use NAVWAR-developed Agile Core Services (ACS), a sub-system of CANES infrastructure that can rapidly deploy standards-based warfighter applications.
The other two tracks included a Hack the Ship challenge and a Rendering Aid challenge.
Hack the Ship was a unique maritime capture-the-flag experience where participants had the chance to hack maritime computer systems, including those required for safe navigation.
In the Rendering Aid track, competitors worked with designers, engineers and 30 3-D printers to quickly produce parts needed to remotely assist with ship repair.
Ideas and solutions from past Hack the Machine challenges are at work throughout the Navy today. Hack the Machine is now in its fifth year of operation with past events held in Seattle, Boston, Austin, Texas, San Francisco, and this year, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s New Lab in Brooklyn, New York.
Launched in 2016, New Lab supports over 130 startups in 84 thousand square feet of space. New Lab's location dates back to 1902, when it served as the primary machine shop for every major ship launched during World Wars I and II. Inspired by the facility's rich history, New Lab is now home to 760 entrepreneurs working in today's most cutting-edge technologies, including quantum computing, space technology, autonomous vehicles, advanced medical research, and more.
Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities and services that enable naval, joint, coalition and other national missions operating in warfighting domains from seabed to space. NAVWAR consists of more than 11,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world.
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