WASHINGTON -- The Army is realigning its chief information officer/G-6 position into two separate roles to meet current and future multi-domain operational requirements and remain competitive within the information technology and cyber environments.
About 18 years ago, the Army opted to integrate the CIO and G-6 positions under one organization, said Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army's current CIO/G-6.
"A lot has happened in the last 18 years in terms of technological advancements," Crawford said. In the past 10 to 20 years, the Army has witnessed continual growth in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing, to name a few.
Leaders serving in his position have provided strategic direction for Army's enterprise and tactical networks. Further, they maintained oversight of the force's IT and command, control, communication, and computer efforts.
By no later than Aug. 31, the current CIO/G-6 role will be organized into two new positions: the CIO and deputy chief of staff of G-6. The two roles will serve as separate Headquarters, Department of the Army principal officials with supporting organizations.
Crawford will maintain his current role as CIO/G6 until he moves on to his next assignment, he said.
Once the transition is complete, another three-star general will take over the DCS G-6 position as the principal military advisor and will report to the Army chief of staff through the vice chief. The G-6 will support the planning, strategy, and implementation of CIO policies, along with maintaining oversite over the Army's enterprise and tactical networks.
Additionally, the next CIO -- a three-star equivalent position -- will be a member of the secretariat. The CIO will be responsible for the creation, governance, and oversight of policy, in addition to advising leaders on IT and cyber resources that impact the Army's warfighting capabilities, Crawford added.
Army Cyber Command will continue to be responsible for the execution of policies, as ARCYBER maintains its role in operating and defending the Army's network, CIO/G-6 said.
With the implementation of both the CIO and G-6 organizations, the Army can continue to leverage its information technology, cybersecurity, information management, and data analytics advantages for now and into the future, Crawford said. The transition also aligns with the Army's reform, modernization, and readiness initiatives, as the CIO and G-6 organizations collectively moves forward to the Information Age.
"This was a bold decision by the Army, but I think the right decision," Crawford added.
For both the CIO and G-6 organizations, funding and staffing will be divided to support the roles or responsibilities of each organization, said Greg Garcia, the deputy CIO/G-6. And while no one will lose their job during the transition process, the realignment of capabilities will create an opportunity to improve both entities to meet mission requirements.
"There is a significant shift in the complexity and correlation of IT technology, cybersecurity, information management, and data management," Garcia said. "It is an opportunity for us to take those foundational employees that we have today, and allow them to get the skills and abilities for tomorrow."
In addition to the organizational change, Crawford discussed the Quantum Leap program -- a new reform initiative designed to "up-skill and re-skill" the Army's IT and cyber force to meet the technical demands of the future.
Currently, the Army employs more than 15,000 IT professionals, Crawford said. The Quantum Leap program will re-code and re-skill close to 1,000 exiting IT positions by fiscal year 2023, starting with the first 100 in the next two months.
Tied to the Army's People Strategy, the program will provide a "non-traditional" training approach, by launching a range of online and virtual education opportunities.
The program will target the necessary skill sets in critical IT or cyber fields and move past the need for traditional certifications or degrees to meet mission requirements, Crawford added.
Training through a virtual space also provides more flexibility with the expedited transmission of information, Crawford explained. Many big companies and academia have already adopted this approach and found success.
"What accelerated the [Quantum Leap] idea is what we've learned during our time in the COVID-19 environment," he said. "Overnight, we went from probably 2-3% virtual engagements to over 90% of the Pentagon teleworking, with a vast majority of our engagements leveraging the virtual space.
"We have not missed a beat … proving that this can be done," he added.