Google reveals key role in aiding secure U.S. Navy communications
Google LLC today revealed how its recently announced Google Public Sector division is directly assisting the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command, providing key information technology support to the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) in Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan.
The U.S. Navy has 50,000 sailors deployed across 100 ships scattered across the globe at any given time, and those operatives need to be able to connect with personnel at regional shipyards at any moment. In order to do this, NAVSEA said, it’s relying on Google Workspace, a suite of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools that help it to ensure effective, secure and compliant collaboration between SRF-JRMC and various ships and other stakeholders around the world.
The partnership between Google and the U.S. Navy solves two unique challenges at SRF-JRMC, including the lack of effective communication and collaboration channels, and the language barrier between U.S. and Japanese staff.
Prior to deploying Google Workspace, U.S. Navy officers would have to rely on a secure connection installed on-base to communicate with other stakeholders. As a result, most calls were held at night, given the time difference between Japan and the U.S.
By implementing Google Workspace, the Navy’s shipyards can now rely on Google Voice to communicate securely and across continents using voice over Internet Protocol calling options. Navy personnel now no longer have to rely on the secure connection and can instead join calls and sessions either onsite or at home, without worrying about security.
As for the language barrier, this was always a big problem because the SRF-JRMC facility relies on more than 3,000 local Japanese contractors to provide critical support. The U.S. Navy has been able to overcome the language barrier using services such as Google Meet, which provides instant translation between English and Japanese during meetings.
In addition, Workspace tools such as Google Drive and Docs have helped the U.S. Navy to simplify human resources by streamlining its onboarding process for local Japanese contractors. With a shared Google Drive, the NAVSEA team has been able to eliminate the need for sending files back and forth, minimizing the need for on-premises storage. Google Docs is also highly secure, enabling Navy staff to collaborate securely from any location using any device, Google said.
SRF-JRMC Chief Information Officer Peter Guo said Google’s cloud collaboration capabilities have vastly improved the site’s ability to operate at any time. “[It has] increased our ability to securely communicate and coordinate, especially during network outages and natural disasters,” he said.
A good example of this occurred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Back then, the SRF-JRMC team used Google Workspace to create a special COVID-19 Pandemic Dashboard that consolidated Japanese and international open-source data on virus outbreaks and provided regular, updated guidance. SRF-JRMC’s team was able to build the dashboard in less than two hours using Looker Studio, leveraging an automated data collection process to keep track of local hospitalization numbers in real-time.
“This Dashboard drastically reduced redundant weekly meetings centered on COVID-19 updates, and saved more than 10 hours per week manually gathering data and presenting it via slide decks,” Guo said. “Additionally, this capability enabled our leadership to make real-time, data-driven decisions and put necessary risk mitigations in place. It empowered supervisors across the shipyard to reference this website at any time and put additional health measures in place to minimize the transmission of COVID-19. Every minute counts at our two shipyards in Japan, so this made a tremendous impact on our operational efficiency and ensured the safety of our sailors.”
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