Army network plan crucial to battlefield success

Global network to streamline flow of information across services and environments

An Army initiative to transform its warfighting capabilities into a highly mobile and connected force is evolving into a crucial collaboration tool for all the military services, particularly as they engage in dual war fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Defense Department officials.

A three-year plan for the Global Network Enterprise Construct (GNEC), which began this year, includes development of a networked system that will support warfighters anywhere in the world and improve interoperability among the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army’s chief information officer, called for institutional adaptation of that strategy when he delivered an update on GNEC Oct. 7 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s conference in Washington.

“This can’t be an Army deal,” Sorenson said. “It’s got to be a joint deal.”

GNEC will continue to evolve as service members and officials incorporate lessons learned. “We need to realize the economies and efficiencies while improving effectiveness,” Sorenson added.

The modernization strategy is also incorporating experiences from Iraq and Afghanistan to modernize efforts and pursue mission success in the Middle East, said Navy Rear Adm. Betsy Hight, vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency.

“Partnership [among the] Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps creates this global environment for the DOD warfighting forces to meet whomever their partner might meet…along the range of keeping the peace to winning the war,” Hight said, referring to the streamlined distribution of information across a spectrum of stakeholders.

One of GNEC’s most important goals is to help forces on the ground better complete their missions, Sorenson said. “It’s all about improving situational awareness” and enabling troops to continuously exchange information while on the move, he added.

In addition to supporting multiforce interoperability, the Army’s force transformation program will bring together and secure the Army’s various information networks and battle command systems and connect them to the Global Information Grid.

“The joint world needs to leverage everything the U.S. Army has and vice versa,” Hight said.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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