PEO EIS discusses unified network support, Agile transition at TEM 9

By Erika ChristDecember 17, 2022

PEO EIS Program Executive Officer Ross Guckert (center) and other participants in the Decision-Driven Data panel at TEM 9 on Dec. 8, 2022 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems Program (PEO EIS) Executive Officer Ross Guckert joined other Army leaders on a decision-driven data panel at the U.S. Army Technical Exchange Meeting 9 (TEM 9) held Dec. 7-8 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Presented by the U.S. Army Network Cross-Functional Team and Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T), TEM 9 focused on the Pacific and European theater of operations, including warfighter perspectives and lessons learned and applied for unified network and data-centric modernization priorities and experimentation.

Guckert’s presentation centered around EIS’ collaboration with other Army organizations to deliver the unified network, as well as EIS’ adoption of an Agile acquisition approach.

“At EIS, we’re reimagining how we modernize our posts, camps and stations,” said Guckert. “Not just a tech refresh with new routers, switches and fiber — but a strategy to deliver capability that aligns with zero trust principles that support multi-domain operations, Joint All-Domain Command and Control, synthetic training and other Department priorities. In so doing, we intend to reduce infrastructure and optimize wireless capabilities,” he added.

EIS is starting with the Army’s number one priority, Secret Internet Protocol Router (SIPR) network modernization, which is designed to modernize both the SIPR and non-classified Internet Protocol Router network into one gray network that provides Soldiers with comprehensive, unified capabilities, including in disconnected environments.

Voice modernization is another focus area for EIS, said Guckert. That initiative involves taking phones off desks and reducing the Army’s overall hard phone count in time for the decommissioning of aging time-division multiplexing infrastructure in fiscal year 2025.

EIS also is “moving out with ICAM” — or identity, control and access management — according to Guckert, who described it as “foundational to zero trust.”

EIS’ current ICAM solution leverages Enterprise Access Management Service – Army multi-factor authentication and the Army’s Master Identity Directory to authenticate and authorize users, said Guckert, noting that the organization is accelerating Privileged Access Management in the next year.

As part of the Army’s Digital Transformation Strategy, EIS is working closely with PEO C3T to fully share operational strategic ICAM capabilities to allow for rapid capability fielding to tactical mission partners, enable zero trust and reduce costs. This will help inform the ICAM requirement under the Unified Network Operations Initial Capabilities document, which will define the next-generation ICAM solution, building on the one that exists today, said Guckert.

To help deliver all of this capability faster, EIS is transitioning to a different software acquisition approach.

“This is the year of Agile; this is the year of acceleration,” said Guckert. “With the pivot to Agile and adoption of commercial best practices, we will deliver capability quicker, in an iterative fashion, with security baked in, streamlined testing, and — I would argue — better meet the needs of the customer.”

Industry can help EIS with its Agile transformation by engaging frequently with leaders to help them understand what best commercial technologies and practices are, and by putting a premium on innovation. Licensing cost models are another hot topic for EIS.

“We encourage industry to be flexible with their licensing cost models as we adopt Agile,” said Guckert. “We want to have a modular architecture, so that means a modular, open systems approach and not having perpetual licenses but a different approach and cost model.”

Upcoming procurement opportunities for industry are available on EIS’ website, said Guckert, noting that the SIPR Modernization request for proposal will be on the street this month. Other upcoming solicitations include Pacific Modernization, Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army Increment II, Release 4, and the Army’s holistic ICAM solution.

Besides Guckert, other participants in the TEM 9 Decision-Driven Data panel session included Jeff Witsken, director of mission command network integration at the Mission Command Center of Excellence; Jennifer Swanson, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for data, engineering and software at the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology; Mark Kitz, program executive officer with PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors; and Col. Matt Paul, project manager for mission command at PEO C3T.