Army overhauls network strategy

[Editor's note: This article was changed May 26 to correct the rank of Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence.]

The Army is revamping its network strategy in an effort to make its networks more flexible, to better keep up with changing demands from combat troops and be more able to quickly incorporate new technologies, officials said May 23 in a press briefing.

“Our network represents the centerpiece of the Army modernization program,” said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli. “It will redefine the way we fight in the same way social media has changed the way we communicate and socialize.”

However, it will take some time to see the implications, he said.

Chiarelli stressed the importance of having an Army network that is flexible enough to meet constantly changing requirements and emerging technologies. He said the Army is fundamentally changing its approach to the network, including the way it handles acquisition and integration; its business model; and how it builds, manages and sustains the network and its capabilities.

The Army’s new strategies will improve acquisition and allow for incremental purchasing to better meet soldier needs, Chiarelli said.

According to Brig. Gen. Michael Williamson, joint program executive officer for the Joint Tactical Radio System, the strategies won’t be a complete change for procurement but are expected to bring about a marked improvement in acquisition and how new capabilities are integrated.

“You’re not going to see structural change in how DOD programs are defined and how requirements are written; the checklist of requirements is still completed. What’s changed is there will be no surprise down the road when you try to integrate [new capabilities] into a platform in the operational environment. There will be more complete testing and evaluating earlier on ... instead of synthesizing info from individual units,” Williamson said.

The new approach is already improving joint communications and training within the Army’s Global Network Enterprise Construct, and is helping with the Afghan Mission Network (AMN), which is used by coalition partners in Afghanistan for critical communications, said Army CIO Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence.

“If you look at the network strategy, it’s now end to end. By extending the global network to every post and station, soldiers can train at any site and deploy at moment’s notice – this is innovative 21st-century training. By putting it in the cloud soldiers can train anywhere; in the past soldiers had to go to the field to train on systems,” Lawrence said.

The AMN is just one of those systems soldiers are able to train on before deploying.

“We’ve extended AMN to next deployers; we started at Fort Drum [N.Y.] ... and put AMN on GNEC. Every unit going into theater now has AMN in their headquarters. That’s what GNEC delivers to our team,” she said.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.