Defense

Army looks for long-term IT plan

dollar question

The Army has short- and medium-term plans for IT modernization but is still in search of a long-term vision, according to CIO Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell. To fill that void, Ferrell last week convened a strategy session with the service’s technology gurus and outside experts, he said Sept. 25 at a conference hosted by AFCEA’s Washington, D.C., chapter.

The group comprised officials from the Army’s program executive offices, as well as representatives of Mitre Corp. and IT specialists at Johns Hopkins University, Ferrell told FCW. Prescribing technologies for the Army to target in the long term might be a fool’s errand because of the pace of technological change. Instead, Ferrell said, it would be wiser to focus on deliverable capabilities he would like the service to zero in on for the long-term.

Such a longer-term Army IT strategy would help contractors plan their R&D investments, Ferrell said at the conference. He floated software-defined networking and “self-healing” networks as types of capabilities the Army might explore. The lieutenant general expects to release the strategy in the second quarter of fiscal 2016.

The short and medium-term planning for Army IT is covered by the Army Network Campaign Plan that Ferrell released earlier this year. That strategy runs through fiscal 2021 and includes a push to make better use of IT at the edge of Army networks by taking advantage of tools such as data consolidation.

Ferrell made clear why more strategizing is needed. “Right now, we have so many disparate networks” and “too many vulnerabilities, too many backdoors that can get into our enterprise,” he said. “When you talk about the cyber threat, we can’t even see ourselves.”

On the cyber front, Doug Wiltsie, the Army program executive officer for enterprise information systems, said the service will award a big contact for cyber defense operations within a week. The contract will include conducting a pilot project for cyber infrastructure and supplying “toolkits” to the Army’s cyber protection teams, the specialists charged with network defense.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is a former FCW staff writer.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.