On May 26, Integrated Enterprise Network (IEN) Project Manager (PM) Col. Justin “Jay” Shell represented PEO EIS at the Defense Strategies Institute’s (DSI) Joint C2 Summit in Alexandria, Virginia. During the summit, Shell led a town hall discussion on the Army acquisition process and how PEO EIS is supporting the Army Unified Network Plan from an enterprise perspective. The event brought industry, academia, international partners, senior military leaders and government officials together in the same room to discuss how the Army is achieving decision superiority through command and control (C2) capabilities, and how different branches of the military and industry can work together to improve current processes.
Shell began by explaining the role of IEN and its product offices — Global Enterprise Network Modernization – OCONUS, Global Enterprise Network Modernization – Americas, Land Mobile Radio and Wideband Enterprise Satellite Systems — as the Army’s total lifecycle acquisition manager chartered with implementing a modernized and standardized network. IEN’s network modernization efforts ensure that Army networks are scalable, accessible, flexible and defensible in alignment with the Army’s Network Modernization Strategy and Army Unified Network Plan (AUNP).
Shell shared a detailed, step-by-step explanation of the network modernization process, focusing on how infrastructure upgrades within the Army’s major theaters enable a communication architecture capable of attaining multi-domain operations (MDO) — including Joint All-Domain Command and Control, Mission Command from Afar, and Synthetic Training Environments — by 2028. The infrastructure upgrades encompass changing copper to fiber, new server racks and wiring, time-division multiplex decommissioning, plant maintenance and more.
Shell explained the importance of the Army global secret internet protocol router network (SIPRNet) — a system of interconnected computer networks used to securely transfer classified information through inner and outer layers of encryption — to achieving the AUNP. The SIPRNet will rapidly extend network access and services, provide faster connection speed, enable global connectivity, reduce labor costs and provide simplified network scalability.
The discussion concluded with Shell detailing how government and industry can work together to evolve the acquisition process. Among his many recommendations were creating a culture of creativity and adaptability, ensuring sustainability as a prime consideration in solution design, providing emerging technologies that are expandable and interoperable, and the need to think “big picture” across the Army enterprise.
Acquisition can only move as fast as requirements, resources and risk assumption enable it to. Shell believes streamlining the acquisition process and assuming a risk-taker mentality is critical to the Army fully realizing a Unified Network by 2028. In his opinion, empowering military stakeholders and industry partners to share their suggestions and insights will help streamline and evolve the acquisition process.
“Industry does a great job providing tactical support, but the Army needs industry to provide more strategic support,” said Shell. “Industry’s involvement with multiple branches of the military affords it keen insight into solutions that we and other branches may not have considered. The military needs industry to feel more empowered to share its knowledge and recommendations.”