This story was updated with a comment from the Navy.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy has transferred authorities over networks and IT systems to a newly created office dedicated to Project Overmatch, the service’s plan for a connected force for future battles, C4ISRNET has learned.

The Navy shifted several network and IT-related technical authorities held by Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command and Naval Information Warfare Systems Command to the direct report program manager for Project Overmatch, according to a memo C4ISRNET obtained.

“As a DRPM, effective immediately, Project Overmatch has all program authorities for Research and Development, Acquisition and Sustainment programs related to warfighting networks, including the networking needs for unmanned systems and long range fires,” stated the memo dated Feb. 23. “In addition, the DRPM is responsible for developing a unified approach to the data, infrastructure and tools and analytics needed at the operational and tactical levels to execute DMO [distributed maritime operations] as envisioned.”

Under that vision for potential conflicts with advanced adversaries, the Navy’s ships could be dispersed across a wide area but connected by a secure network.

Project Overmatch is the Navy’s effort to enable that all-connected force for the Pentagon’s priority plan of Joint All-Domain Command and Control, in which sensors and shooters are linked across domains. Rear Adm. Douglas Small, who leads the project, was named the direct report program manager in an October memo, and he reports to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.

The move will give Small authority over the “applicable” war-fighting networks, technical architectures and standards, and will “expand authorities to include data management designs and standards for platform integration and data interoperability.”

The memo is signed by Frederick Stefany, acting assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, and Adm. William Lescher, vice chief of naval operations.

“The memo signed by Mr. Stefany and ADM Lescher is the next step in codifying CNO’s October 2020 memo.  This recent memo enables the transfer of requisite authorities to RADM Small so he can effectively and efficiently execute the CNO’s directives,” said Lt. Courtney Callaghan, spokesperson for the Navy. “Critical to Project Overmatch is the development of networks, infrastructure, data architecture, tools and analytics that support the operational and developmental environment that will enable sustained maritime dominance using manned and unmanned systems.”

The Project Overmatch DRPM will also be tasked with developing a unified approach to the data, infrastructure, tools and analytics “needed at the operational and tactical levels to execute DMO as envisioned.”

The DRPM will also include a senior executive service deputy director position that will focus on Overmatch and staffing needs, working with leaders inside the Navy’s Digital Integration Support Cell and necessary program integration offices “to ensure a ‘whole of Navy’ enterprise team across Program Executive Offices (PEO) and System Commands (SYSCOM).”

Additionally, all science and technology efforts related to war-fighting networks and advanced data architectures and analytics will fall under the DRPM, according to the memo.

The Navy’s move to consolidate Overmatch responsibilities underneath one office is important as the military services look to break down stovepipes to move toward Joint All-Domain Command and Control. The Army and Air Force have similar projects, Project Convergence and Advanced Battle Management System, respectively.

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.

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