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LandWarNet Shows The Way Ahead

August 17, 2009
By Kent R. Schneider

It is fitting that this month’s SIGNAL Magazine includes a focus in on the U.S. Army. The month of August also features the 2009 LandWarNet Conference, the Army’s premier forum for information sharing and training in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) and information technology. LandWarNet 2009 will be held August 18-20 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This year’s conference theme—“LandWarNet–A Global Network Enterprise Enabling Full Spectrum Operations for the Joint Warfighter”—could not be more timely. As the entire defense community takes on the issues associated with enterprise and cross-domain information sharing in support of interagency, joint and coalition operations, this conference will promote this dialogue head on.

In my view, the LandWarNet event is a model for the way we would like to see most conferences operate—and for several reasons. First, this is the Army’s event. Direct oversight of program content and execution is provided by the Army’s C4I leadership, led by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, the Army G-6/chief information officer (CIO), and Maj. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA, commander, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). The U.S. Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Life Cycle Management Center (LCMC) at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, also have significant involvement. The NETCOM staff provides day-to-day coordination and direction. AFCEA International supports this Army effort and executes the conference itself with a lot of support from the AFCEA South Florida Chapter.

Second, LandWarNet has become an outstanding value for the Army, for industry and for academia because nine formerly separate events have been consolidated into this single featured event each year. The cost and time savings for the Army are obvious with one major event on which to focus. As a result, the Army is able to bring nearly all of its C4I leadership to the event, conducting related commander’s and sergeant’s major government-only conferences on Monday and Friday of the same week. This gives the Army leadership the opportunity to conduct a robust dialogue and to interface with industry and academia, which are gathered in large numbers. Industry saves as well as the number of events companies have to support is reduced by this model.

Third, this event has become a training focus for the Army C4I community, active duty, Reserve and National Guard. The critical mass of soldiers at the event allows robust training, for which all receive appropriate training and continuing education credits. The number of C4I professionals gathered at the conference makes this training cost effective for the Army, and it exposes the soldiers to the plenary speakers and panels provided at LandWarNet.

I am discussing LandWarNet in this month’s commentary because  if you are involved with Army C4I or information technology, you need to engage in LandWarNet. Whether you are in the Army, other military or civilian government organizations; are a joint, interagency or coalition partner of the Army; or are in industry or academia and support the Army, this conference offers a strong role for you. The Army has made this the Armywide C4I event for the year, and you need to be part of the dialogue. That the Army has chosen to take an enterprise perspective, a view of full-spectrum warfare requirements and solutions, and an approach that includes all the stakeholders in warfare today—joint, interagency and coalition—is important for the community and for those who attend.

LandWarNet is a forward-looking conference. While some discussion of the current state of C4I in the Army and among its partners will occur, the focus will be on future requirements and solutions. During the conference, tracks will be run by CECOM LCMC, the SignalCenter, G-6/CIO and NETCOM to talk about the evolution of C4I in land warfare and how to meet the emerging challenges. Attendees will hear perspectives from the doctrine and combat developers, the operators and those with acquisition responsibility. And make no mistake, this conference will remain focused on the warfighter and the warfighter’s needs. This will provide the whole picture going forward and give all of us the knowledge needed to contribute better to the vision.

I hope I have made a case for why you need to be at LandWarNet 2009. See you there!