Army CIO aims for pervasive info

Information that leads to quick decisions has become an invaluable weapon that must be well-stocked, said the U.S. Army's new chief information officer.

Information isn't worth much by itself, said the Army's CIO Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, during an interview this week in his Pentagon office. But pervasive and global data must be available to military commanders, he said. "We could put out terabytes of information, but unless it facilitates a commander making a better decision faster, it's of little value," he said.

Boutelle became the Army's chief information officer earlier this month, replacing retiring Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello.

The Army's top technology priority is supporting soldiers working in Afghanistan and Iraq and maintaining worldwide networks, Boutelle said.

He said his other goals include:

* *Identifying and refining how the Army's networks, particularly its logistics systems, work in a joint defense architecture;

* * Developing a coherent satellite acquisition program for Future Combat Systems and Warfighter Information Network-Tactical.

Both of those networks are being built with capabilities in mind rather than strict requirements. That's the right thing to do, Boutelle said, but he added that the Army must regain focus on satellite terminals and the equipment needed to support them.

"We lost visibility of what the right terminal is for when systems start to appear," with regard to the numbers, specific equipment and the right antenna, Boutelle said. "I'm not comfortable that we've laid that out for the senior leadership."

As the cornerstone of the Army's transformation effort, Future Combat Systems ties together 19 systems using advanced communications and technologies to link soldiers with air and ground platforms and sensors. The Warfighter network is being designed to provide high-speed communications and real-time voice, video and data to soldiers on the battlefield..

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