By Capt. Kurt E. Van Slooten, 1st Signal Brigade PAOApril 27, 2014
GYERYONG, South Korea -- Following his tour of the USAG Humphreys construction project, the Army's Chief Information Officer, joined by Eighth Army's G-6, continued south to Gyeryong to the Republic of Korea Army, Navy, Air Force Headquarters near Daejeon to meet with the chief and deputy chief of the ROK Army Office of Information Planning.
Maj. Gen. Shin Dong-man, chief of the ROK Army Office of Information Planning, had previously met with Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, Army CIO/G-6, in Wash., D.C., in February after Ferrell's first month as the G-6. General Ferrell was happy to return the favor and also meet Shin's deputy Brig. Gen Cho In-hee and senior staff members.
Before discussing business, Ferrell and Col. Jonathon R. Moelter, the Eighth Army G-6, enjoyed traditional Korean hospitality to include a tour of the ROK Headquarters and lunch.
Shin told Ferrell about the close working relationship he had with U.S. Forces Korea, Eighth Army and 1st Signal Brigade and how impressed he is with Moelter and his efforts working toward communications interoperability with the ROK Army.
Shin wants to continue to increase ROK/U.S. communication interoperability. He said the ROK Army also needs to increase its cyber warfare capabilities and ability to use satellite systems in its Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) infrastructure.
"Cyber is a growing field for us as well," said Ferrell. He went on to say that the U.S. Army is developing Cyber Protection Teams (CPT) to monitor and protect the network. The CPTs are small company sized elements, and a cyber brigade is being stood up to support the teams.
"We also are working on a career field for cyber," said Ferrell. "We are identifying officers and enlisted Soldiers to work in cyber jobs."
"The threat is here today, so we are training the workforce on how to protect and monitor the network. As we look at our Army and the network operations and security centers, we still have a lot to do on training how to protect the network," said Ferrell.
"The Army's Signal Corps is used to building, operating, maintaining and securing the network, and that doesn't change. But, adding exploitation, offensive and active defensive cyberspace operations, adds a new mission of conducting operations using the network, as Cyberspace is now being viewed as a man-made domain."
"The U.S. Army has put a lot of effort into cyber at Fort Gordon, which is no longer the Signal Center of Excellence. It changed about two weeks ago to the Cyber Center of Excellence," said Ferrell. "The new Center will have a Signal School and a Cyber School to train both the enlisted and officers in signal and cyberspace operations."
Moelter explained that cyber has already been incorporated in both the Key Resolve and Ulchi Freedom Guardian annual exercises, to include training and actual hands-on defending the network against cyber attacks.
As the CPTs are stood up, they will be sent to these types of exercises all around the world and help train units on cyber awareness, said Ferrell.
Cho asked Ferrell what changes he has seen in Korea since he was stationed here in 2nd Infantry Division as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Ferrell said he has seen a lot of progress in Korea as a nation, but he still sees some of the same interoperability challenges between the U.S. and the ROK.
"I see the U.S. modernizing their equipment from one angle and see Korea doing the same," said Ferrell. "As we talk more, this would help move us to a common solution." Shin agreed that the ROK and U.S. must actively engage with each other to work toward improving interoperability. "This is why I meet with Moelter so frequently," he said.
"How truly wonderful to be back in Korea," Ferrell told Shin's senior staff.
"I can remember Korea just like yesterday," said Ferrell. "My first assignment as a newly commissioned 2nd lieutenant in a foreign but friendly country away from home. My first impression of working with the ROK Army, I walked away with a very comfortable vision and understanding of a truly professional army with a passion for excellence and love of their country."
"On behalf of my team and myself, I sincerely thank you for hosting us today and for again extending your hand with your teammates. It's all about relationships, partnership and building a great foundation working together to solve interoperability."
When Moelter addressed the group, he discussed two initiatives he wants to achieve before the 2014 Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in August.
"The first is to stand-up a ground-focused C4I interoperability committee," said Moelter. "We are asking that it be co-chaired by ROK Army and Eighth Army general officers. This will provide the general officer direction that we have not had directly over the last two years I have been here. This will allow us to come together as a team and really provide a focus for how we can move forward with interoperability."
The other initiative is to test the ability to extend CENTRIX(K) services from the Eighth Army command post and their division command post to the ROK tactical forces. This, Moelter said, would provide an immediate capability to the ROK tactical forces to see the Combined Operational Picture, CENTRIX email, CENTRIX portal, sharedrive and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle feeds. Providing these immediate capabilities, he said, will allow time to continue to work some of the other gaps.
Moelter also invited ROK Army signal units to participate in the Eighth Army Theater Signal Exercise later this spring.
Ferrell concluded the visit by challenging the ROK leadership to find opportunities for information sharing where changing a policy can help the ROK and U.S. work closer together.