Army focuses on cyber protection

A recently issued Army white paper, "Fight the Network," provides a new framework for the Signal Regiment, the service's communications organization, as it changes to support lighter, more mobile warfighting units.

Army information technology officials devised the document to help foster a different mind-set for communications personnel in defending and managing the service's networks, said Gordon Van Vleet, public affairs officer for the service's Network Enterprise Technology Command/Ninth Army Signal Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Netcom officials oversee the operation, management and protection of the Army's networks.

"Never before has the Signal Regiment been as critical to the success of our Army," Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, the service's chief information officer, wrote in the document's introduction.

Army IT officials want the service's communications personnel to "fight" the network so they can provide secure, ample communications on demand to soldiers in combat anywhere in the world. The document identifies the importance of network availability, interoperability and control.

The white paper marks Army IT officials' third wide-scale attempt in recent months to alert personnel to the urgency of operating and protecting the service's networks. In August, Boutelle told Army IT personnel at a conference that the service's systems are increasingly under cyberattack.

In November, Boutelle's office released a brochure, "Fight the Network: The Network as a Weapon System," that highlights main points in the white paper.

Industry officials said Boutelle and Army IT officials will likely focus on strengthening the operation, management and protection of the service's IT infrastructure during the upcoming fiscal 2006 budget process. They expect that Army officials will want to further consolidate the service's enterprise IT infrastructure.

Among projects the Army wrapped up this past year were developing and fielding a more mobile battlefield communications system, the Joint Network Node; and completing the acquisition and speeding the development of a future battlefield communications system, the War-fighter Information Network-Tactical.

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