Officials: Netcom ready for launch

With the Oct. 1 launch of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom) less than two weeks away, service leaders say the pieces are in place to ensure a coordinated implementation.

Netcom was established to provide management for the Army's information technology and networks as an enterprise, and officials are working to "ensure that the installations, Army contracting and Netcom implementation are postured for an integrated implementation," said Maj. Gen. James Hylton, commander of the Army Signal Command, who will assume command of Netcom.

Netcom includes personnel from the Army Signal Command and other organizations, and officials are setting up regional chief information officer offices that will coordinate with installation management to oversee command, control, communications and computers (C4) for each region.

The four regional chief information officers have been selected and the regional offices will be "largely manned and in place in the first quarter of 2003," each with a staff of about 29 people, Hylton said. They will be stationed at Fort Monroe, Va.; Rock Island, Ill.; Fort McPherson, Ga.; and Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, the Army's CIO, said he views Netcom as the Army's contribution to the Global Information Grid, which is managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency. The GIG is designed to improve interoperability across the DOD by providing a working framework for moving to network-centric operations.

"This means that we have the wherewithal to do the requirements planning, architecture design and acquisition of new technologies within an enterprise solution to be managed... organized and able to fight and defend the Army's networks," Cuviello said during a Sept. 19 Pentagon press briefing.

Netcom ties in with the Army's overall transformation move towards centralizing installation management, said Maj. Gen. John Scott, the services chief integration officer.

"It's a corporate look at the information management and an operational look worldwide," Scott said.

Some programs that used to fall under Cuviello's command will transition to Netcom's Enterprise Systems Technology Activity because of their "operational flavor," he said. These include the Army Knowledge Online portal, spectrum management, information assurance and information operations.

Netcom will be based at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., along with the Army Network Operations and Security Center. It also will have a small headquarters staff in Washington, D.C., in addition to its regional offices.

Cuviello said the world is not going to change Oct. 2 once Netcom has officially launched, but its is the "first step in the journey to get us to where we want to go."

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