Signal Corps: Transformation and progress continue

By Laura LeveringMarch 28, 2023

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1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Dwayne Williams, U.S. Army Signal School deputy commandant, briefs a group of distinguished visitors during a tour of Fort Gordon’s Brant Hall on March 15. The site is one of several buildings undergoing major renovations as part of the installation's new campus. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A board depicting Signal Corps Personnel Structure is on display n the entryway of Brant Hall during a distinguished visitors tour to the installation on March 15. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A graphic depiction of the future U.S. Army Signal School. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT GORDON, Ga. – Several months have passed since demolition on Fort Gordon’s iconic Signal Towers began, leaving with it many to question the Signal Corps’ progress, and perhaps more importantly, what lies ahead. And although it will several more years until Soldiers will occupy the newly constructed buildings, the work behind the scenes has not slowed down. If anything, it has sped up.

Reflecting on the past year or so, Dwayne Williams, U.S. Army Signal School deputy commandant, said there has been significant progress across the Signal Corps – not just on the campus construction site, but more-so “behind the scenes.”

“As we look holistically across the Regiment and what we’ve accomplished at the school … it’s a lot,” Williams said.

Signaleers from all backgrounds have been preparing for years and have finally begun seeing the fruits of their labor – at a notably rapid pace, beginning with execution of military occupational specialty (MOS) convergence for the 25 series. Under the MOS convergence strategy, the number of MOSs was reduced by more than half, from 17 to seven, largely to support Army of 2030 force structure initiatives.

“The overall purpose of the MOS convergence is to go from a network-centric Army to a data-centric Army, and to get on the cutting edge of technology,” explained Lamar Lauderdale, Enlisted Division chief, Office Chief of Signal (OCoS). “At the MOS level, what we’ve been doing is moving our career fields into that direction.”

Phase II of MOS convergence was implemented Oct. 1, 2022, and the first-ever class of network communication systems specialists (25H) graduated on March 8. It was an action that created a multi-disciplined enlisted force and optimized the workforce at lower grades but did not address development for senior leaders. However, Lauderdale and his team are working diligently on the latter in what will be Phase III.

“Instead of having four different [senior leaders’] courses as you see today, we are creating one that all of these Soldiers will go to,” Lauderdale said.

The course will target NCOs at the E-6 and E-7 levels possessing the MOS 25H, 25U, 25B, and 25S. Graduates of the course will have a broader knowledge of signal at the E-8 level. The end-state will be a course that develops multifunctional senior NCOs capable of integrating signal into multidomain operations (MDO).

Effective Oct. 1 of this year, the information systems engineer (FA26B) will change to data systems engineers, and information systems technician (255A) will change to data operations warrant officers, making them “the Army’s data engineers with the key responsibility of developing and maintaining large-scale data processing systems for preparing structured and unstructured data and analytic modeling.”

To meet this objective, new curriculum has been added to professional military education courses that emphasize cloud platforms (Azure and Amazon Web Services) and business intelligence tools (Power BI).

“This is what we’re doing to help transition the Army from network to data centric as directed by the secretary of the Army,” said Will Norat, OCoS director. “This is really coming from the Army senior leadership.”

All of this, and more, is happening while Fort Gordon undergoes a major structural transformation that will directly impact Signaleers.

“All of our classes have had to make adjustments or moved in order to enable either renovations or posture for new construction to begin,” Williams said. “Additionally, “We’ve consolidated our outside training facilities in order to allow to facilitate integrated training amongst our AIT MOSs so that Soldiers get an opportunity to interact with other MOSs before arriving at their first unit of assignment.”

As for what the new campus construction means for the Signal Corps’ future, the bottom line is things are looking up. From establishing a new Data Foundational Course for all – not just signal – MOSs, to reducing resources required to train and increasing the ability to instruct at the Secret level, the Signal Corps is evolving alongside Fort Gordon’s transformation.

“The new campus will allow us to integrate our current course requirement and future course requirement at a much faster pace,” Williams said. “We are leveraging cloud technologies now, virtual technologies, that eliminate the requirement for hardware purchases in order to make changes to courses. We will have classrooms that give us more flexibility in terms of being able to keep up with technology at the rate that it’s evolving and facilitate us training at the optimal training time during the day as opposed to having to train Soldiers on three shifts.”

These improvements only touch the surface of what’s happening within the Signal Corps.

“There are a lot of little things we’ve done to enhance the strength of the Signal Corps,” Williams said.

And if you ask any of the leaders involved in the planning, they agree it’s worth every bit of work they have – and will continue – to put in.

“We’re definitely heading in the right direction,” Norat said. “We’re trying to make changes as quickly as the process allows, and we’re going to do that through the use of contractors, we are going to leverage the Advanced Civil Schooling program, and we’re going to leverage the [Training with Industry] program to build the bench for data workforce.”

“Seeing the strategies come to fruition with the development of the enlisted, officer, and warrant officer – because everyone is changing – and we’re doing it aggressively as needed … I think it’s great that we have the green light to do it, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Lauderdale said.