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It Is All About the Enterprise

July 2010
By Kent R. Schneider, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army has become a fount of innovation. Under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson, USA, the Army’s chief information officer/G-6, and Maj. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA, commanding general of the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM), the Army is transforming its LandWarNet to become a global enterprise network fully capable of supporting an expeditionary Army in an era of persistent conflict.

On March 2, 2009, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., USA, the Army chief of staff, signed a memorandum announcing implementation of the Global Network Enterprise Construct (GNEC) strategy. This strategy has many elements, but its outcome has been repeated by Gen. Sorenson a number of times. First, LandWarNet will be operationalized as a global warfighting capability extending to the individual soldier at the edge. Second, security will be paramount in the architecture, significantly improving network defense posture. Third, the transformation will improve network efficiency and effectiveness, yielding significantly greater capability at lower cost, particularly in operations and maintenance. Finally, this enterprise capability for the Army will enable greater interoperability and collaboration with joint, inter-agency, coalition and nongovernmental organization mission partners.

Those watching the progress in implementation of the Army strategy know that tremendous advances already have been made. Network service centers (NSCs), the heart of the network, are being operationalized to support the U.S. Northern Command, Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Pacific Command, European Command, Central Command (CENTCOM) and Africa Command areas of operations. Within these NSCs, fixed regional hub nodes (FRHNs), area processing centers (APCs), and theater network operations and security centers (TNOSCs) are being implemented and capability is being migrated into these centers. This constitutes a movement to everything over Internet protocol, or EoIP, the direction the Army needs to go to achieve the marginal capability, security and economies it seeks. This is huge progress and is setting the example for the rest of the force structure.

Key contracts are being awarded this fiscal year to implement this strategy. The enterprise e-mail contract is planned to be awarded by the fourth quarter, and the NSC/APC spiral one contract is to be awarded by the end of the third quarter. There will be plenty of small business opportunities in this implementation, particularly for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

The Army’s LandWarNet Conference will be held this year in Tampa, Florida, August 3-5, 2010. The theme this year is, “LandWarNet—Providing Global Cyber Dominance to Joint/Combined Commanders.” At this conference, attendees will hear a great deal more about the GNEC implementation and the roles everyone can play. Speakers and panels will discuss the progress made to date and what the future holds. As the theme suggests, the move to Tampa this year provides more access to the joint commands there. CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM and the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) will participate in a new joint track and will be heavily engaged in the plenary program. The significant international presence at CENTCOM will contribute an additional dimension to this content-rich conference. Prospective LandWarNet attendees might want to visit the U.S. Army CIO/G-6 website at www.army.mil/ciog6 and read the GNEC. It is the primer for understanding the direction of the Army.

Another important initiative is the Apps for the Army, or A4A, challenge that the Army has initiated. Just last year at the 2009 LandWarNet Conference, the Army vice chief of staff asked why the Army cannot have applications such as those found in the Apple App store. Well, the Army issued a challenge to all military and Army civilian personnel to develop and submit applications for Army use. The challenge was announced March 1, 2010, and submissions closed May 15, 2010. A total of 53 apps were submitted by 71 participants. Submissions included apps for Android, BlackBerry, ASP NET, LAMP, iPhone  and Army Knowledge Online in a variety of app categories. Employee cash awards of up to $30,000 can be made. The submissions will be evaluated for functionality and security, and winners will be announced at this year’s LandWarNet Conference. This is just another reason to attend the conference and see what new functionality has been developed. It is amazing what can be achieved if people are turned loose to innovate.

Great things are going on in the Army. See them at LandWarNet.