Army Knowledge Management enters next phase

by LTG Peter Cuviello

The Army is undergoing its most fundamental change in more than a century while still being fully dedicated to winning the global war on terrorism.

In August 2001, Secretary of the Army Thomas White and Army Chief of Staff GEN Eric Shinseki issued the first Army Knowledge Management memorandum. AKM is our comprehensive strategy to transform the Army into a network-centric, knowledge-based force. It consists of a robust set of goals and objectives that, once achieved, will improve the decision dominance of our tactical commanders and business stewards.

In the 10 months since the Army issued this first memorandum, the service has accomplished much in achieving the goals. For instance, the Army now has one enterprise portal (www.us.army.mil) providing universal access to Army knowledge. In May, the one-millionth Army Knowledge On-line user signed on.

The Army is also reducing the number of servers and is streamlining or eliminating many applications. These applications are being placed on the worldwide web but behind the secure AKO portal. With Network Enterprise and Technology Command’s emergence, we’re establishing a single authority to operate, manage and defend the Army’s infostructure at the enterprise level. (Editor’s note: Army Signal Command is tentatively scheduled to become NETCOM Oct. 1.)

The secretary and chief issued the second guidance memorandum for AKM in June. It’s clear evidence we’re taking our transformation efforts seriously and are moving forward in achieving our transformation goals.

The new memorandum, for which I am issuing implementing guidance, calls for more computer-server consolidation. It sets a new goal for reducing by half the number of Army web applications and ensures those remaining applications are linked to AKO. By reducing this so-called information-technology “footprint,” the money we save can be reinvested in high-priority IT programs/systems or requirements.

Our initial focus is to have the directors of information management consolidate servers within posts, camps and stations at minimal cost. Besides the economies and efficiencies we can obtain from reducing that IT footprint, we also realize savings by using enterprise contracts. Further, we’ll be decreasing system administration, operations and maintenance costs. Servers will be consolidated within several server farms on each installation, as local DOIMs determine.

The memorandum identifies several new focus areas within the AKM initiative that support the overall objectives of AKM and Army transformation. These include information security, the Defense Department’s Business Initiatives Council and the AKO Configuration Control Board.

Within the Business Initiative Council arena, for instance, the Army keeps any savings from its process changes. This will foster creative ideas and enable funding of some tightly constrained IT budget items.

These changes are impacting the Army’s transformation effort on both the operational and institutional sides of the Army. The results are so apparent and beneficial to the Army that senior leadership has said, “We need to speed progress and show even more tangible results.”

Our secretary and chief of staff strongly believe that leadership and trust are at AKM’s heart. That’s why we challenge leaders and soldiers at all levels to do their part in carrying out this new guidance so we can ensure the Army truly is a network-centric, knowledge-based force, second to none in the world.

LTG Peter Cuviello is the Army’s chief information officer/G-6.

Acronym QuickScan
AKM – Army Knowledge Management
AKO – Army Knowledge On-line
DOIM – director(ate) of information management
IT – information technology
NETCOM – Network Enterprise and Technology Command

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