The Army’s transformation is taking us down a road of cultural change that will revolutionize the way we acquire and employ our information-technology assets. These cultural changes will forever alter how we conduct daily business and operations in the Army. To remain relevant to Army transformation and the objective force, Signal soldiers and leaders must begin to adapt and immerse themselves in this new culture.
This culture change is manifested in the Army chief information officer’s Army Knowledge Management initiative. AKM is the Army strategy to transform itself into a network-centric, knowledge-based force. This will enhance decision dominance both on the battlefield and in day-to-day operations. This requires us to change our cultural thinking away from the “islands of automation” mentality to the enterprise management of IT resources. This means that organizational IT investments must support the Army’s enterprise-wide goals under AKM. To better understand these concepts, look at the Army CIO’s briefing at https://www.us.army.mil/akm.html.
Establishing Army Knowledge On-line as the Army’s enterprise portal is one of AKM’s goals. Why is this important to Signal leaders and soldiers? AKO is an integral part of that cultural change I just talked about. You must embrace AKO and become an active participant to stay abreast of changes and fully reap the potential benefits. Universal access to information, collaboration capabilities, knowledge centers, virtual teams and projects and enterprise memory will all be managed and accessed through AKO.
If AKO is viewed as the enabler of AKM, I see the Signal Regiment as the enabler of AKO. Our officers, warrant officers, soldiers and civilians are the driving force behind the AKO vision to transform the institutional Army into “an information-age, networked organization that leverages its intellectual capital to better organize, train, equip and maintain a strategic land combat force.” The personnel currently working AKM and AKO are mostly Signal Branch or Functional Area 24 or 53 officers with IT expertise. It’s important that all members of the Signal Regiment are aware of this because these are the types of cutting-edge job skills we’ll need to master as we transform to the objective force.
The future of AKO holds much promise and opportunity for the Regiment. Many of the Army’s current processes will be automated and accessed through AKO, right from your desktop, regardless of where you’re located. Pay, personnel management, records review, medical and dental appointments, applications, search functions and all knowledge centers will be available through AKO. Instant messaging and personally tailored news channels will make communication, coordination and collaboration throughout the Army easier and more efficient.
The Army’s secretary and chief of staff required all soldiers and civilians to have an AKO account by Oct. 1, 2001. Ultimately AKO’s utility will increase dramatically as everyone embraces AKO as their primary tool for knowledge management. Signal leaders should ensure all their soldiers and civilians are registered and logging on. Officers, noncommissioned officers, soldiers and civilians should have their own accounts, explore the AKO site and get familiar with its expansive list of features. Personalize your own homepage and check out the various knowledge centers that are accessible from AKO.
Finally, spread the word and help ensure the units and organizations you support are an active part of the Army’s transformation. The Signal Regiment will spearhead the Army’s IT transformation and, as always, we must embrace the challenge.
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Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.