ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., July 12, 2011 -- As a young infantry officer, David M. Moore pieced together a new company of Soldiers, recruiting from all over Europe to “build something from absolutely nothing.”
As a colonel, he set up an information technology infrastructure to coincide with the troop surge in southern Afghanistan -- eventually forming the basis for unprecedented collaboration with U.S. allies.
As leader of the Army’s Project Manager for Battle Command, he launched an ambitious strategy to “collapse” the boundaries between software applications, providing commanders with a clearer picture of the fight.
The ability to start from scratch, execute a plan and create something with lasting benefit to the Army characterized Moore’s 32-year military career, which came to a close on July 8, 2011, as he retired from the service.
“Those are the kinds of things that make one most proud -- where there’s little that was there, you saw a need, and you built something,” Moore said.
Moore’s contributions were recognized during a retirement ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where he received several awards and tributes including the Presidential Certificate of Appreciation for Service in the Armed Forces of the United States. That followed a change of charter ceremony, when Moore formally passed leadership of his organization to Col. Jonas Vogelhut.
The event also marked the transition of PM Battle Command to PM Mission Command, a name change that reflects the Army’s most recent doctrine, the centrality of the commander, and the focus on fielding capabilities suitable for full-spectrum operations.
“Colonel Moore and his team were renowned for consistently going above and beyond original expectations to fulfill each Soldier’s requirement,” said Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, program executive officer for the Army’s PEO Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T, to which PM BC, now PM MC, is assigned. “Colonel Moore’s vision, initiative and innate leadership skills have transformed and streamlined the way future Soldiers will collaborate on the battlefield.”
While his missions changed throughout the years -- from deploying to the Middle East to helping the Army acquire Bradley Fighting Vehicles to promoting agile software development -- Moore relied on the same guiding principles and “boots on the ground” beliefs. His leadership precepts were inherited from his father, retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, whose service as a lieutenant colonel in Vietnam was depicted in the movie “We Were Soldiers.”
Among the “Dad’s Rules” that Moore likes to hand out to his team: There is always one more thing you can do to influence the situation in your favor. Three strikes and you’re not out. There’s nothing wrong when there’s nothing wrong -- except that there’s nothing wrong.
“Those three core rules are what I’ve really tried to lead much of my life by,” he said in an interview. “All of my dad’s rules, although oriented towards combat, apply in life. They don’t just apply to combat leadership, but they apply to any kind of leadership.”
Born in Norway during one of his father’s assignments, David Moore would grow comfortable with the constant movement of Army life: Korea, California, Georgia, Virginia.
“I just enjoyed the life,” he said. When it came time to decide on his own military career path, Moore’s thoughts initially turned to the sky.
He was one week away from attending Auburn University with plans to join the Air Force ROTC when an opportunity to attend West Point changed his plans. His father and brother were West Point graduates, and the appeal to join the ranks of these alumni outweighed his initial impulse.
“I thought, well, I’ll fly in the Army,” Moore said.
Instead, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and started his career in the infantry, serving with the 3rd Armored Division as a platoon leader and as the executive officer of E Company, 51st Infantry -- where he was “the fifth guy in” and built the rest of the company from the ground up. Moore took the most pride, he said, in his service with the 82nd Airborne Division, where together with his men he jumped into Panama and deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After joining the Army’s acquisition corps, Moore held several leadership positions, culminating with his appointment as Project Manager for Battle Command. In 2008-09 he deployed to Afghanistan, where his mission quickly changed from an “outsider” conducting an initial assessment of brigade tactical communications to a key resource for the 101st Airborne Division as it struggled to build the signal and information technology infrastructure needed to support thousands of additional troops. Moore was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts.
“When an 06 (colonel) walks into your area and says, ‘I’m here to help,’ most people run the other way,” Moore said. But working with the unit, they “found a much broader mission that needed to be accomplished. I was able to lead them to a successful IT expansion in RC (Regional Command) South, and I’m very proud of that.”
Moore’s “boots on the ground” observations in Afghanistan also had a major impact on the creation of the Afghan Mission Network, which allows the U.S. and coalition partners to share a common operating picture and exchange battlefield data on an unprecedented scale.
At the time of his deployment, the AMN was a concept backed by the U.S. Central Command, but “lacked the real materiel development legs to make it work,” Moore said.
He successfully urged the leadership of PEO C3T and the PEO for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors, known as IEW&S; to devote their resources to building the network infrastructure and migrating all appropriate data from the previous U.S.-only network.
“As a result of the strong engineering teams and the materiel support, now you have an Afghan Mission Network in Afghanistan that would not have occurred had those two organizations not committed the way they did two years ago,” Moore said. “That shows the value of boots on the ground. My dad’s big thing was, ‘Get boots on the ground. You can’t understand the situation from the rear.’”
The Afghanistan deployment was also a turning point for Moore’s pursuit of the Battle Command Collapse Strategy. The idea of “collapsing” maneuver, fires, sustainment, air defense and airspace management applications into a common workstation had long been a stated goal of the organization, but there was no decisive way forward. Moore’s observations in the field provided that clarity.
“The collapse strategy was really borne of going to Afghanistan and realizing that the solutions we’re providing are good -- they do well for their functional areas -- but they also fundamentally disconnect the staff from each other, and the commander from the staff, because each person is fighting within their own system and they are not naturally linked at a higher level,” Moore said.
He decided that taking immediate action would be far better for those Soldiers than continuing to analyze what the “perfect” architecture might be. Choosing Command Post of the Future, or CPOF, as the foundation, Moore and his team moved forward with integrating the different software applications, while at the same time crafting a Battle Command Web version to reduce the hardware footprint.
“The strategy was coupled with the demand to do something now,” he said. “We wanted to show progress. And we wanted people to see that something positive was occurring so they could jump on and reinforce the success.”
Adopting agile methodologies, including “scrum sessions” that brought together users from the field with software developers to directly implement feedback, PM Battle Command moved ahead with execution.
Today, the first release of Battle Command Collapse is getting a test drive with Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division as part of the Network Integration Evaluation at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The next release is scheduled for October and the plan remains fundamentally on track, Moore said, quoting retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff who pushed to implement the Stryker armored vehicle.
“He would always say, ‘I want irreversible momentum now,’” Moore said.
As the Army’s momentum shifts from “battle command” to “mission command,” both the collapse strategy and agile software development are supporting that change. With all mission command applications sharing data in a “collapsed” environment, a commander will prepare for battle with a single view of the fires, logistics, air and ground pictures.
This data will enhance how commanders collaborate with their counterparts, allowing them to make more informed decisions as the battle progresses, Moore said.
Software that is flexible and scalable to a broad spectrum of operations also supports the goals of mission command, he said.
“We cannot design systems that are good for only a small niche of these missions,” he said. “So we have to continually assess how we deploy software. Is it agile? Is it flexible? Can it do things on the fly that we didn’t anticipate? If we had to build a branch or a sequel off of a software product, how quickly could we do that? Because guys’ lives may be at stake based on how quickly we can adjust our software to meet the needs of the commander.”
None of Moore’s achievements can compete with what makes him the most proud, which is his family. He and his wife Teresa have three daughters, ages 18, 11, and eight.
“Outside of the military, what makes me most proud is to see my kids grow up with a brain, frankly -- able to think for themselves and work for themselves,” he said.
With Moore’s retirement, his family will leave Fort Monmouth, N.J. for civilian life in Alabama, where Moore’s father lives. He has not finalized his future plans, but said he would like to continue to contribute to the Army’s mission.
“I’m really proud of the people who have made Battle Command, I think, truly the best acquisition organization in the Army,” he said. “It’s a great job to have, and a tremendously hard job to walk away from.”