Army poised for Mannheim project

The U.S. Army Signal Command and many defense agency partners soon will begin participating in the Mannheim project, an effort designed to help the Army develop an integrated computer network defense as part of its overall information technology transformation and consolidation.

The project will begin next week as phased exercises that will incorporate the institutional and tactical Army, said Maj. Gen. James Hylton, commander of the Army Signal Command, speaking at an April 10 asymmetric warfare symposium sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army.

Hylton added that the Defense Department's information environment is a prime target for asymmetric warfare, which encompasses anything — personnel, tactics, weapons — that helps negate one side's advantage in a battle.

In addition to the Signal Command, numerous other joint military partners are involved, including the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Space and Missile Defense Command. All are treating the Mannheim project as a priority, Hylton said.

"It will help us examine and develop organization, tactics, techniques and procedures to facilitate an integrated Army computer network defense," Hylton told Federal Computer Week.

Hylton also detailed changes going on within the Signal Command as it shifts into its new role as Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom), which is charged with providing management for all of the Army's IT and networks.

Beginning May 1, Netcom will provide situational awareness of all the service's computer networks to the Army chief information officer's office, he said. The Signal Command's current mission is to support the Forces Command.

Hylton added that Netcom's job initially will require manual and electronic reporting to provide a valid assessment of the Army's enterprise network, with the goal of having centralized operations and management across the infostructure sometime in the future.

Netcom, which will formally launch Oct. 1 along with a number of other Army headquarters changes, is made up of personnel from the Signal Command and other organizations. It is establishing regional CIO offices to coordinate with centralized installation management to oversee command, control, communications and computers for each region, Hylton said.

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