By Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, chief information officer, G-6October 2, 2015
The Army Vision and Army Operating Concept (AOC) describe the increasingly complex and globally interconnected environment that confronts our Army forces. From the threats posed by an array of non-state actors; to 'hybrid threats' that incorporate elements of state and non-state capabilities; to rising national powers that challenge U.S. interests and the international order, the Army faces a diverse and difficult strategic environment. The Army stands strong in the face of these challenges by providing key elements of our nation's defense. Agile, innovative, and expeditionary, the Army brings unique capabilities that deliver sustained, unmatched land forces anywhere on the globe.
The Army Network is a critical enabler of these ready Army forces. It provides situational understanding, relevant combat information and access to the resources of the Army and Joint enterprise from our home-stations to the tactical edge of the battlefield. The Army Network is a core element of a smaller, more expeditionary Army. The Network must also be secure, integrated, standards-based and ensure uninterrupted access across all phases of an operation and in all environments.
To better enable the Army Vision and AOC, the Army Chief Information Office/G-6 - in partnership with our joint and industry stakeholders - has undertaken a number of initiatives to modernize the Army Network. For example, in February 2015, the CIO/G-6 released the Army Network Campaign Plan (ANCP) which defines the vision for the Army Network along with specific, Lines of Effort (LOEs) and an Army Network Initiatives Roadmap. The ANCP also includes Near-Term (2015-2016) and Mid-Term (2017-2021) implementation guidance, which informs Army Network resource and Program Objective Memorandum (POM) planning. In 2016, the CIO/G-6 will release an 'Army Network Strategic Plan' to provide long-term guidance to ensure we remain on the leading edge of research and development in the information technology arena.
In addition, during 2015, the CIO/G-6 published a Cloud Computing Strategy and Commercial Cloud Service Policy to help our force take advantage of rapidly developing opportunities across the cloud computing environment.
Overall, the Army Network acts as a critical enabler for our force in four, broad areas: (1) the Joint Information Environment; (2) Expeditionary Mission Command; (3) the Mission Partner Environment, and (4); our Soldier and Civilian Information Technology workforce.
ENABLING THE JOINT INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT
Today's Army trains, deploys and fights as part of a joint team. As a result, the DOD is establishing a 'Joint Information Environment' or 'JIE' that converges communications, computing and enterprise services in a single, joint platform to enable all of DOD's diverse missions. In essence, the JIE will be a single, joint network, with one shared infrastructure, one set of standards, and one security architecture, connecting everyone on the DOD network. Our Army Network Campaign Plan is nested within this larger JIE effort. In fact, moving toward the Joint Information Environment is a must do for our Army and the joint force as today we have too many disparate networks, too many vulnerabilities, and too many barriers that prevent collaboration between our partners. The JIE will help address these challenges while providing the interoperability we need to succeed as a joint force
One of the most visible components of the Army's support to JIE has been our network modernization effort, which includes implementation of the 'JRSS' -- or 'Joint Regional Security Stacks' capability. The JRSS perform firewall functions, intrusion detection and prevention, enterprise management, and virtual network routing and forwarding. The Army is teaming with the Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency to execute the migration to JRSS and the new joint network.
Implementation of JRSS is ongoing at more than a dozen sites in the United States and overseas. In fact, migration of operational traffic to JRSS is well underway at Joint Base San Antonio. In Europe, we are finalizing the plan for migration of operational traffic and we have begun to install and activate the first JRSS in Southwest Asia. In Korea, we are modernizing the network backbone and installing new hardware to support both JRSS and the Yongsan Relocation Program.
Ultimately, JRSS will process both unclassified and classified traffic. Importantly, JRSS will reduce our network's surface attack area (the part of the network vulnerable to cyber intrusion) from over 1,000 access points to less than 50, dramatically improving network security.
In a related effort, the Army is migrating the Army Corps of Engineers, Army National Guard and the Army Reserve behind JRSS. Upon completion, this migration will put 60% of the total Army behind JRSS -- a major achievement in support of the JIE across all components.
ENABLING EXPEDITIONARY MISSION COMMAND
Mission Command is the foundation for current and future Army operations. It is both a philosophy and a warfighting function incorporating specific principles. These principles include providing clear commander's intent; creating shared understanding; building cohesive teams; exercising disciplined initiative; encouraging Soldiers to take prudent risk; and using mission orders that focus on what to do and the purpose of doing it, rather than how an order is to be carried out.
The Army Network is a fundamental enabler of mission command. A survivable, simplified and reliable network must support a common operating environment and common user experience throughout training, deployment, all operational phases and at all echelons. The Army Network enables uninterrupted, expeditionary mission command in part through mobile, modular, scalable main command posts (CP) and Tactical Command Posts (TAC). These CP's and TAC's afford commanders flexibility in deploying resources sized for specific operations and that exploit reach-back/reach-forward capabilities to home-stations and enterprise resources. Expeditionary forces may deploy with a smaller, CP/TAC footprint, but one which brings expanded capabilities through global connectivity.
To better support expeditionary mission command, the Army is establishing Home Station Mission Command Centers (HSMCC) at key commands and installations. These HSMCC have a suite of standardized capabilities that take advantage of advances in network capability, telepresence and remote collaboration. With HSMCC, many of the limitations imposed by distance are eliminated and physical proximity of command posts to one another is less important. The HSMCC provides commanders the flexibility to deploy command posts in a scalable, tailorable manner according to operational requirements.
Increasing the Army's cloud computing capability is also critical to both our mission command efforts and to the implementation of the JIE. A cloud-enabled network allows the Army to reduce our ownership of IT hardware and consolidate Army Data Centers -- while transitioning to a software-defined network that flexibly supports a globally-engaged force. To that end, we have released both an Army Cloud Computing Strategy and Commercial Cloud Service Provider strategy during 2015.
Mobile platforms are another key part of Army Network modernization and mission command. Mobile platforms help support the 'un-tethered' Soldier concept. The un-tethered Soldier is a warfighter who is completely mobile -- yet completely connected to the network. Mobile capabilities also support initiatives like the 'wireless Tactical Operations Center' which will improve a commander's operational understanding while reducing equipment and infrastructure requirements.
ENABLING THE MISSION PARTNER ENVIRONMENT
In addition to the joint force, the Army operates alongside a wide array of 'Mission Partners.' These partners include allied and coalition members, international agencies and non-governmental organizations. As a result, the Mission Partner Environment (MPE) creates complex interoperability and communication challenges. Creating the Mission Partner Environment we need requires us to include MPE considerations across the DOTMLPF. For the Army Network and the CIO/G-6, it means incorporating the right information sharing policies, as well as assessments of potential partner capabilities and compatibility with our communications and IT systems. Enhancing the MPE is a priority for the Combatant Commanders as they work to shape the operational environment and build partner capacity in their respective theaters. To support this objective, the Army Warfighting Assessment (AWA), our annual exercise for developing concepts, capabilities and organizations has a special focus on joint and multinational interoperability. In fact, during 2015, forces from as many as 16 foreign nations will be part of the AWA -- which incorporates a Joint Interoperability Exercise called "Bold Quest."
ENABLING THE SOLDIER & CIVILIAN IT WORKFORCE:
The success of our Army Network requires not only the right technology, it also requires the right people. Despite the current fiscal environment and force reductions, our information technology workforce is one area where we must recruit, develop and retain Soldiers and Civilians with advanced skills and a dedication to the Army Profession. This is challenging as these talented individuals have many opportunities in industry and we must remain competitive to attract the best workforce.
As a result, in coordination with TRADOC, the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE), and ARCYBER/Second Army, we have established a new Cyber Branch (Career Field 17). The Cyber branch will form in two phases, with a goal of bringing in approximately 1,200 officers, warrant officers and enlisted Soldiers through 2016. Moreover, we currently have 17 Signal MOSs and the CIO/G-6 and CCOE are better defining the roles and responsibilities of these MOSs as we move to a smaller, more expeditionary force.
We are also developing our Army Civilian IT professionals by identifying the skills and abilities future civilians need. The Civilian IT workforce is a foundation of our force's success and we have a Cyber Civilian Workforce Operational Planning Team working to unify and improve the management of the civilian cyberspace workforce. They are developing a training pipeline with career management solutions that prepare our civilians to perform cyberspace and IT missions throughout their careers and to support the Army IT workforce and DOD Cyber Mission Force requirements.
ENABLING SUCCESS FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW
A robust, modernized network is critical as our Army transforms into a globally engaged, regionally aligned force able to fight and win in a complex world. Through the execution of our Army Network Campaign Plan; our commitment to the Joint Information Environment; our focus on Expeditionary Mission Command and the Mission Partner Environment; and by maintaining a world-class IT workforce, the CIO/G-6 and our many Army Network partners remain committed to enabling the Army's success for today and tomorrow.