Digital Navy: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the RCN pursuing the initiative?

The RCN is pursuing the Digital Navy initiative for three main reasons:

  1. Relevance: to be able to more rapidly adopt digital technologies in order to ensure the RCN remains a relevant naval force;
  2. People: to empower members of the naval team by providing the modern digital tools and capabilities needed to remain effective in the digital era; and,
  3. Coherence: to bring coherence to the many digitally-related efforts being pursued across the RCN, maximizing synergies to accelerate our digital evolution.

What is the scope of the Digital Navy initiative?

The scope of the Digital Navy initiative is broad and can be viewed through the following lens:

  1. Functional Areas:  the initiative spans all Functional Areas of the naval enterprise. From the ‘business space’ to the ‘battle space’, the RCN will explore the potential applications across the full spectrum of naval operations.
  2. People: the initiative is intended to benefit all members of the naval team: Regular and Reserve force sailors, public servants, contractors and industry partners.
  3. Technology: a wide range of current and emerging digital technologies will be under the initiative.  If the most powerful functionality of a given technology derives from the digital technologies contained therein, it will be considered to be within scope of the Digital Navy initiative.

What does the RCN hope to achieve through the Digital Navy initiative?

Through the Digital Navy initiative, the RCN expects to realize the following high-level goals:

  1. empower and inspire its people;
  2. maintain and deliver a relevant naval force, and
  3. encourage a truly innovative culture.

It also intends to further the strategic objectives assigned to each Functional Authority in the RCN Strategic Plan 2017-2022 through the use of digital technologies.

Who will be responsible for implementing the Digital Navy initiative?

Functional Authorities will be responsible for taking the necessary actions to realize the strategic objectives set out for them in the Digital Navy guidance document. They will be supported by Champions and Implementation Teams, which they will assign from within their own lines.  Functional Authorities will also be supported by a Digital Navy Office (DNO) that will be established to provide expert advice, guidance and other forms of support to the teams charged within executing the program.    

How long will the Digital Navy initiative last?

The digital journey that we have started is a long-term undertaking that will play-out over a multi-year timeframe. At this early stage in our journey, much of our effort will be exploratory in nature and will be aimed at learning more about the true potential of modern digital technologies in a naval context. This exploration will largely be achieved through short-term pilot projects, some of which may prove unsuccessful. We will not be hindered by the prospect of failure in these pilot initiatives, so long as our occasional failures generate lessons that we embrace and build upon as we move forward.  

Who is the RCN App for and when will it be available?

A mobile application called the RCN App is being developed under the Digital Navy initiative to provide sailors more convenient access to a range of information and administrative services that they currently access at work, behind the DWAN firewall. A prototype has already been created and will be further developed to an initial production version that is targeted for release by the end of FY20/21.