Army CIO thinks strategically about integrated networking

In contrast to the parade of 500-day plans the military services have released in recent years, the Army Chief Information Officer’s Office recently released a long-term strategic document promising to make significant progress toward delivering integrated network capabilities to the Army between 2008 and 2015.

The Army CIO/G-6 Campaign Plan defines a number of strategic goals, including developing LandWarNet, the Army’s segment of the Global Information Grid; continuing the path toward enterprise integration; protecting information systems; and enhancing information management and information technology capabilities. Cybersecurity also figures prominently in the plan.

This strategy follows the 500-day IT plan the Army issued in August. That plan also focused on LandWarNet implementation.

The new plan envisions the continued development and eventual implementation of the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), as a key driver in the process of enterprise integration.

“WIN-T will mandate the standards and protocols for applications and network hosts, to provide the most responsive and effective common services within a Services Oriented Architecture,” the report states.

Although WIN-T is not scheduled for full implementation until 2025, the Army expects the disparate communications systems that prevail today to “be converging into a single integrating framework” in applications such as the Future Combat Systems much sooner than that. It is therefore necessary, the plan said, to “begin now to implement these capabilities by spinning out information technologies that can be inserted into the Army today to provide our warfighters with enhanced capabilities as soon as they are available.”

The plan also envisions that the service will deploy an enterprise-level wireless capability by 2015.

Airborne capabilities will augment satellite capabilities at the same time, and the Army will reduce reliance on commercial satellites from 80 percent to 50 percent through the launch of additional Army space assets.

By 2015, the Army also will have an information assurance architecture to protect its data and information systems, the plan states.

The keys to protecting Army cyber assets, the plan states, are establishing “strong, formal collaborative relationships with industry partners for advancing information security capabilities” and implementing “an active risk management program to continuously identify information security operational dependencies and vulnerabilities.”

Peter Buxbaum is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Md.

About the Author

Peter Buxbaum is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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