Army establishes LandWarNet University

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Army has pumped millions of dollars into the Army Signal Center this year to revamp the center’s communications curriculum so that soldiers get more education and training in operating more mobile IP networks, service officials said.

Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, the Army’s chief information officer, said the service earmarked $30 million during the past six months to update the training and structure at the Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon, Ga. The funding includes the establishment of the LandWarNet University to give soldiers education and training in operating more mobile IP networks. The 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq was the first to use the networks, which the Army is fielding servicewide.

Boutelle announced the creation of the university earlier this month at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. He and other service officials spoke more about it this week at the Milcom 2005 conference. LandWarNet is the Army’s name for its networks.

The university will teach and train soldiers to operate, manage and defend the Joint Network Node (JNN), the more mobile, IP-based communications system that provides voice, video and data on the battlefield, said Brig. Gen. Carroll Pollett, the new commanding general of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command and 9th Army Signal Command located at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He added that soldiers in Iraq are using JNN now. The university will also prepare the service to train soldiers to operate the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, the Army’s future mobile communications system due later this decade, he said.

Boutelle and Carroll said the Army is implementing a warfighting communications strategy of everything over IP. They said the LandWarNet University will provide education and training so soldiers understand the intricacies of operating IP networks.

Col. Ron Bouchard, deputy commander of the Army Signal Center, said the university will also educate and train soldiers in other communications skills, including network operations, which involve the operation, management and defense of networks. Soldiers will also learn to find and share data that comes under the military’s network-centric enterprise services program.

Boutelle said earlier this year that soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division initially experienced problems operating JNN in Iraq. He said they needed more training to effectively operate the new network, and the new university appears to be a step toward addressing that shortfall.

The Army is phasing out Mobile Subscriber Equipment-Triservices Tactical terminals, the Cold War-era battlefield communications system used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The service discovered that the system was too heavy to keep up with fast-charging U.S. forces and did not provide the communications coverage they needed when they operated in deserts and mountains out-of-sight of one another.

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