Army's IT steps ahead in measures

The Army has made real progress over the past year, transforming into a

lighter, leaner, more lethal force, but the information technology piece

of that transformation may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, according

to service leaders.

"You're talking about [transforming] the entire Army, with all of its

doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures, equipment, everything. Things

move a little slow sometimes, but that's not the case with the Army transformation.

We've had a good year," said Gregory Dahlberg, undersecretary of the Army,

speaking recently at the Association of the United States Army annual conference

in Washington, D.C.

By the end of this month, the service intends to equip part of the first

in-terim brigade combat team with software known as Force XXI Battle Command

Brigade and Below, a cornerstone of the service's effort to digitize its

forces. The unit already has begun training to use the software through

simulations, and it will train on the actual software beginning in December.

In addition, this fall and next spring the unit will receive:

n The Army Battle Command System, which provides command and control

at all echelons.

n The Tactical Internet, a mobile, battlefield version of the commercial

Internet.

n Command posts at the battalion and brigade levels that are more capable

of receiving, processing and releasing data.

Maj. Gen. James Dubik said it is not just the hardware and software

available but how they're used that counts. "If I can get good enough [IT],

I can get a revolutionary use on the battlefield," said Dubik, the Army's

outgoing deputy commanding general for transformation.

"The digitization effort will grow and continue to mature. There are

some real challenges in all the processes we have to keep that growth going

on into the future," said Lt. Gen. Paul Kern, military deputy of the Army

acquisition corps. He cited the use of command and control computers and

accompanying software to do tasks that "up until this point [have] been

manual in the U.S. Army."

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