Guest columnist

Army information programs

"…With the right technological solutions, we intend to transform the Army – all components – into a standard design with internetted [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] packages that allow us to put a combat-capable brigade anywhere in the world within 96 hours once we’ve received execute liftoff; a division on the ground in 120 hours; and five divisions in 30 days." – Army Chief of Staff GEN Eric Shinseki, speaking at the Association of U.S. Army’s Eisenhower Luncheon Oct. 12, 1999.

As many of you know, I recently assumed the duties of director of information systems for LTG Peter Cuviellocommand, control, communications and computers and chief information officer for the Army. In these capacities, I also serve as the military deputy to the Army’s acquisition executive for C4 and serve the Army’s chief of staff as his "G-6." I’m humbled to have been chosen for this new role. As I assume the duties of my new position and reflect on my career, I realize full well that I have the Signal Regiment to thank for my success. I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for the outstanding soldiers, civilians and industry partners who comprise our Regiment. I’m also thrilled that in my new position I’ll be able to continue to support the Regiment. I know the Regiment will continue to support me and remain the true enabler behind the Army’s transformation to attain the goals of Army Vision 2010 and beyond.

I’d like to give you a snapshot of the major programs I have oversight for as the DISC4 and relate those programs to Army transformation and the Signal Regiment. The transformation of the Army is in full swing with information superiority, full-spectrum dominance and key enabling of the objective force. Digitization is very much a part of the solution to achieving information superiority. Programs are in place to provide a vibrant reachback-communications capability through advanced-communications platforms to support the warfighter from installation to the foxhole.

The Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program is providing the requisite infrastructure on installations to achieve seamless communications wherever units are deployed. I3MP links to the Defense Information Systems Network and is a vital element in the global information grid. We’re developing and deploying systems such as super-high-frequency triband advanced-range extension terminal; secure mobile antijam reliable tactical terminal; and Spitfire to provide warfighters seamless connectivity through the GIG from wherever they’re deployed throughout the world.

The Warfighter Information Network and its tactical subcomponent WIN-T, plus the joint tactical radio system, are the objective systems which will provide the warfighter the deployed capability to seamlessly link into the GIG – providing situation awareness, a common relevant picture and sensor-to-shooter linkage allowing us to mass effects, not forces. These systems feature exponential increases in bandwidth, which is an imperative for information superiority and the rapid transport of large data sets across the battlefield.

The recent spate of viruses and malicious attacks on commercial and government networks highlights the need for improved information-systems protection and security. We have in place a network-security-improvement program that provides a framework for alert dissemination, imports the latest hardware and software security devices from the commercial sector and establishes policies for network protection. The Army’s Computer Emergency Response Team is linked to the Joint Task Force-Computer Network Defense and to academic and commercial organizations such as the emergency-response team at Carnegie Mellon University, giving us multiple notification and warning channels.

I challenge each and every member of the Regiment to become educated on the topic of information assurance. It’s absolutely essential that we protect our data and the systems that process our data as we transition to the objective force.

The revolution in business affairs is rapidly advancing, with accelerated programs incorporating best-business practices into the Army. C4 and information technology are enabling this revolution to take place. Electronic commerce provides the mechanism for paperless contracting and improving acquisition-response time. I consider our partnerships with industry a vital link that allow us to import industry’s best-business practices while providing us the opportunity to interact with industry’s best and brightest minds. The revolution in business affairs will benefit from programs such as Training with Industry and cooperative research-and-development agreements. These programs allow us to stay current with the latest developments in the commercial sector and import those that fit the Army’s needs.

We’re making great strides in making the Army a learning organization. The objective force needs highly educated warriors. The distance-learning program provides electronic virtual classrooms, allowing instructors to reach more students simultaneously while reducing temporary-duty costs. Distance-learning centers for Active Component, Army Reserve and National Guard are springing up at posts, camps and stations and are providing training opportunities to large populations of soldiers. Distance learning improves the overall effectiveness of training by providing opportunities for students to interact with large, diverse groups.

Computer-based training also continues to pay dividends to the Army. Soldiers and civilians in both the Active and Reserve Components are taking advantage of the more than 1,000 courses CBT offers and are gaining valuable knowledge and professional certification as a result. In IT’s fast-paced world, every member of the Regiment needs to keep current in his or her core technical skills. We’re also in the process of turning Headquarters Department of the Army, and ultimately the entire Army, into a knowledge-based organization through innovative technology applications of the Army Knowledge On-line portal. AKO provides certificate-based knowledge centers for collaboration and secure electronic mail with a rapidly growing Army-wide user base.

The future is filled with opportunity, and I look forward to my role as DISC4. I’ll never forget my roots; it has been my greatest honor to have served as your Chief of Signal. Your performance has been nothing short of first-class. You’re in good hands with your new Chief of Signal, BG Pat Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh comes to Fort Gordon with a wealth of experience, and the leadership and vision to take the Regiment to new heights. Give him the same great support you gave me.

Never forget the importance of your mission and the key role you play in the Army. Effective communications under the leadership of highly trained Signal Regiment soldiers and civilians is critical as we transform the Army into a more agile projection force. You are the enablers to make this happen – technology in the hands of untrained individuals is useless; technology in the hands of trained soldiers turns everyday IT devices into weapons of war – augmenting the steel on target and the thrust of the bayonet.

Note: Chief of Signal Comments will return next edition.

Acronym QuickScan
AKO – Army Knowledge On-line
C4 – command, control, communications and computers
CBT – computer-based training
DISC4 – director of information systems for command, control, communications and computers
GIG – global information grid
I3MP – Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program
IT – information technology
WIN-T – Warfighter Information Network-tactical

Never forget the importance of your mission and the key role you play. ... Effective communications under the leadership of highly trained Signal Regiment soldiers and civilians is critical as we transform the Army into a more agile projection force.

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