Army reasserts LandWarNet goals

New 500-day plan promotes a broader use of LandWarNet strategies and technologies

The Army Office of the Chief Information Officer’s latest 500-day plan seeks to build on its predecessor by continuing the development and implementation of LandWarNet technologies. The new plan, issued in late August, documents the intentions of the CIO’s office to institutionalize LandWarNet throughout the Army, said Vern Bettencourt, the Army’s acting CIO.

The 500-day information technology plan replaces one issued in late 2005. In the past several years, the Army has focused on training soldiers and leaders to operate new IT systems.

“With the institutionalization of LandWarNet, we want to make sure that warfighters and leaders understand its value,” Bettencourt said.
Other objectives of the 500-day plan are implementing strategies for managing knowledge, data and communications spectrum.

The Army CIO will issue a campaign plan by Oct. 8 that “directs comprehensive strategic change across doctrine, organizations, training, materiel, leadership, education, personnel and facilities to build a campaign-quality Army with joint and expeditionary capabilities,” the 500-day plan states.

In the near term, the Army will focus on institutionalizing LandWarNet technologies, Bettencourt said. “We are beginning to look at the various Army business and warfighting processes to make sure that LandWarNet is being included.”

The Army intends to incorporate elements of LandWarNet in battle command systems, the Future Combat Systems, and in other systems as they progress through planning, programming, budgeting and execution, he said.

The institutionalization process could reach the highest levels of the Army hierarchy. Bettencourt said the concept of LandWarNet occupied a prominent position in recent discussions of the Army Portfolio Review Committee. That body, which includes two- and three-star generals, reviews the Army IT portfolio quarterly and reports to the Army chief of staff and the secretary of the Army.

The 500-day plan’s data strategy focuses on interoperability. One objective is to achieve 90 percent completeness of Army data in Defense Department and Army IT repositories.

A system that has achieved completeness of data provides information for each of nine major compliance areas that the service tracks. Those areas are the Federal Information Security Management Act,
e-Authentication, interoperability, mission criticality, the Privacy Information Act, the enterprise transition plan, public-key infrastructure, business mission area modernization and the standard financial information structure/Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.

On the knowledge management front, the Army recently hired Robert Neilson to update its knowledge management strategy, service officials said. Neilson’s mission will include creating a strategy for integrating tactical and nontactical knowledge management. The Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications Tactical at Fort Monmouth, N.J., is developing tools to integrate knowledge management at the tactical level under the Battle Command Common Services program.

Service officials said the plan recognizes spectrum management as a critical element in achieving network centricity. The Army’s spectrum management strategy “is to target six specific areas that represent high payoff, the low-hanging fruit,” said Stuart Timerman, the Army’s spectrum manager.

Those areas include policy enforcement, training, tools, acquisition processes, leadership and governance. “Within these categories are opportunities for change that…will help mitigate challenges posed by the Army’s rapidly increasing demand for radio frequency resources,” Timerman said.

The Army CIO’s latest 500-day plan will not be the last.
“The time frame for the [planning, programming, budgeting and execution] process is a five-year cycle, sometimes with an additional two years,” Bettencourt said. “We’re working on a campaign plan that looks out five to six years and which marries up better with the Army Campaign Plan.”

Buxbaum is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Md.

About the Author

Peter Buxbaum is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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