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The following paper provides a rationale, background, and summary of how modern information technology is being used effectively by the U.S. navy in mission critical applications for shipboard control, navigation, and interior communication systems. The paper provides a background and summary of the updated American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) naval vessel rules (NVR) requirements for mission critical networks, software development, and safety critical control systems. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) have partnered to co-write these rules which were initially drafted by comparing the existing commercial steel vessel rules (SVR) in these areas with current United States Navy shipbuilding practice from recent shipbuilding programs. The requirements for safety critical systems were then derived from the safety of flight (SoF) criteria for U.S. Navy submarine ship control systems. The paper explains the relationship between the Naval Technical Authority and the American Bureau of Shipping and their respective roles in the certification of control, automation, and navigation systems software and networks. The current requirements prescribed in the naval vessel rules are compared and contrasted with the commercial steel vessel rules and the merits and rationale behind each approach are discussed.