Army aviation officials seek to improve communications

Army aviation commanders are developing ways to use technology to share up-to-date information about the problems faced by deployed troops, Maj. Gen. James Barclay, commanding general of the Army Aviation Warfighting Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., said today.

That information is essential for determining how to train Army personnel preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, Barclay said at the Army Aviation Symposium and Exposition in Arlington, Va., sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare.

“We didn’t have a lot of ways to express the information and get it out and share it,” Barclay said. “We’re starting up several new Web sites that we’ve given commanders access to.”

The forums let all deployed commanders communicate and share knowledge, Barclay said.

“That helps us as we’re moving forward in developing ways to train the forces to get them ready,” he said.

Although there are plans to reduce the number of combat troops in Iraq and increase the troops in Afghanistan, the number of Army aviators will remain the same or increase in those combat zones, Barclay said.

“We’re not seeing a drawdown. We’re only seeing plus-ups,” he said. “So as the rest of our forces fall into more of a routine, set model patch rotation chart, Army aviation continues to stay in flux.”

Barclay’s command is dealing with the fluid situation by having the operating and training forces work together instead of separately, which was the traditional model.

“At Fort Rucker, for example, every combat aviation brigade that goes into theater, whether it is guard, reserve or active, comes through the aviation training exercise at Fort Rucker,” he said.

The Army Forces Command designed that training exercise, but the Training and Doctrine Command conducts it, he said.

“So those lines are blurring now,” Barclay said. “You can no longer see the separation we had because it is important that not only is our team an enterprise but the Army’s approach is as an enterprise approach.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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