House panel hammers Army CIO over request to reprogram 2018 funds

The Army is seeking to realign funds for network modernization, but Congress wants to know what's wrong with the systems it already paid for.

soldiers using mobile device
 

Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford found more than a little resistance as he faced off with the House Armed Services Committee hearing Sept. 27, following a request for nearly a half billion dollars in additional IT spending for fiscal year 2018. And without a detailed plan of how the Army would spend the money, legislators seemed more peeved than convinced.

"This committee was told with the full support of the Army in May -- four months ago -- of the critical need of this program and you're before us in September," said Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) during the hearing's opening remarks. Later he quipped: "We are not an accounting agency."

The Army is looking to reprogram $544 million in spending by shelving several planned FY2018 procurements, including Mid-Tier Network Vehicular Radio legacy Command Post of the Future, as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2. According to Crawford's written testimony, the hope is to apply $413 million to cope with urgent cybersecurity and interoperability issues, and $131 million for better systems acquisition.

Committee members criticized the Army's culture of IT management saying that today's call to reprogram money was too familiar.

Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) said the Army's waffling on IT budget needs was not "a new problem" and internal management of its networks "has been challenged for many years."

Despite the criticism, Crawford, who stepped into the CIO role Aug. 1, defended the decision to ask for more funds, saying the Army's battlefield IT backbone and end-user communication hardware, the WIN-T, isn't ready for war conditions and needs to be updated so the Army can fulfill its defense responsibilities.

Crawford said the "realization of the threat" and a new Institute for Defense Analyses study on cyber readiness drove the decision.

"You've got a nuclear adversary that's developing the ability to disrupt our forces," Crawford said, and the Army hadn't fully developed an understanding of adversaries that "not only have electronic warfare capability but a cyber capability," with the ability to combine the two with information operations.

Part of the problem thus far, according Maj. Gen. James J. Mingus, who testified with Crawford, is that the Army has been overly prescriptive and restrictive when asking industry partners for tools.

"We have been way too prescriptive in trying to tell industry what to deliver as opposed to asking industry how to meet the capabilities we need," said Mingus, who is the director of the Army's Mission Command Center of Excellence.

The Army is looking to make its equipment more mobile so soldiers can communicate on the field more like they do as civilians without worrying about whether they're close enough to a transmitter.

Mingus mentioned the 10-year old radio systems that troops are trying to use in the field as one of the systems that could be upgraded.

Crawford backed him up, saying, "the infrastructure needs to sit with the enterprise, not [on the field] with the operator."

Legislators, however, wanted to know what happened to the $6 billion invested in WIN-T so far?

Crawford assured the committee members that the existing technology would still be utilized, but that the Army now realizes the tech it has doesn't fit today's needs.

"Our promise to you is that we will do better," he said. "We will not be abandoning technology… We are asking to halt in FY2018 but we will be fielding WIN-T through FY2021."

A clear plan to modernize, rather than ideas of better tech, is ultimately what the committee wanted to – but didn't – hear.

Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-Ariz.) called out Crawford for having "ideas" rather than a "plan," and pressed for details.

Crawford conceded that the Army didn't have a detailed plan of how it was going to carry out the modernization, but would provide one in the future.

"What we've laid out for you today, sir, is a recognition that we've got a real problem in our formation in our Army," he said, mentioning the historic absence of unified leadership and IT strategy as issues. "We've got a near-term, fight-tonight problem that we can't get past, and so we've got to fix that."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.