Guard chief pushes systems upgrade

The Air National Guard's information management systems, including those used for surveillance and combat air patrols, are antiquated and need to be upgraded, the Guard's director says.

That's why he is preparing to form a council focused solely on that issue.

Lt. Gen. Daniel James III, director of the Air National Guard, said the biggest obstacle in the agency's information technology modernization process is making a "trade-off between future systems and upgrading the systems we have now," within budgetary confines.

James, speaking Sept. 18 at the Air Force Association's 2002 National Convention in Washington, D.C., admitted that he is "not a computer geek" but said he could still see that certain systems desperately need to be modernized, especially as the speed at which the Guard takes in and reacts to data becomes even more critical.

"I'm considering very strongly establishing a separate council" focused on information operations and management, James told FCW, adding that the council would consist of about 25 subject matter experts representing various bases and weapons systems. "They would make recommendations to me on how we can better poise ourselves for the future."

Space systems, information warfare, information management and unmanned aerial vehicles are just a few areas of focus for the near future, he said.

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