Army streamlines reserves

The Army plans to eliminate its chief information officer position for its reserve components as the Defense Department puts into play its transformation plans for the reserves and the National Guard.

According to Army Maj. Gen. John Scott, the Army's chief integration officer, the service plans to dismantle the CIO shops and let Army CIO Gen. Peter Cuviello assume control.

Patrick Swan, a spokesman for the Office of the Army Chief Information Officer, said the transition of control from reserve to active-duty CIO is scheduled to take place at the end of the month. Scott said the move is intended to streamline the information technology acquisition and implementation process and ensure that all aspects of the armed forces are marching in step.

"We have the Army and Air National Guard and the reserves located right next to each other, but running on three different networks," Scott said. "We can't integrate, we can't transform into one force without working on one network."

The Army Reserve CIO is Daniel Wiener II.

Marine Maj. Jeff Jurgensen, spokesman for Marine Forces Reserve, said he does not think it likely that the Marine Forces Reserve assistant chief of staff, a position equivalent to a CIO, would be eliminated.

"The Marine Forces Reserve, our guidance, systems and standard operating procedures are already uniform from active duty to reserve," Jurgensen said.

Navy CIO David Wennergren said the Naval Reserve forces are already within the Navy Department and under his control. "We work with them regularly, and they have been involved in a lot of innovative activity," he said.

Scott said he did not know whether the Army Reserve CIO's position would be eliminated or brought under the command of the service CIO.

Cuviello is slated to retire this summer; his replacement, already confirmed by the Senate, is Maj. Gen. Steven Boutelle.

The Army's decision comes in the midst of a Defense Department transformation that is finally reaching the somewhat forgotten groups that make up the majority of the current combat force in Afghanistan and Iraq: the National Guard and reserves.

"The National Guard can't remain the way it is," said Army Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, the new commanding general of the National Guard. "We must transform for future threats. The world will not sit still and the National Guard cannot sit still, either."

The armed services are beginning to realize that they cannot operate as islands unto themselves, according to Cuviello. "We need to closely integrate the active-duty, Guard and reserve components," he said. "The active component cannot do without the other two. We need to ensure that we are still the complete, transformational Army" well into this century.

Cuviello was speaking last month at the Army Information Technology conference sponsored by the Northern Virginia chapter of AFCEA International. The conference focused on the future of the transformed joint force.

Blum said he will eliminate 108 National Guard headquarters, cutting the total number of headquarters by two-thirds. Currently, each state and territory has separate headquarters for the National Guard, Army National Guard and Air National Guard. That, he said, creates "too much overhead, waste and bloat."

Blum said he is working closely with the other services to ensure the National Guard's inclusion and input in the other services' IT transformation efforts. "We want to build the best [IT] capabilities we can from the resources we have," he said.

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