Although the Army’s Integrated Tactical Network has faced delays for a variety of reasons, the two-channel manpack radio will undergo operational testing this fall, according to Gen. John Murray, USA, commander, Army Futures Command.
Information technology modernization has reached a precipice within the federal government as agencies struggle to manage many moving parts and jockey for the same pot of money and talent. Add to the fray the results of a new survey showing an alarming reliance by federal agencies on outdated information technology systems.
Released this week, the Army’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request of $178 billion adds focus to supporting Joint all-domain operations. While the Army’s funding for FY 2017-2018 centered on readiness and recovery, addressing "must-pay" bills and filling gaps in its force structure, the Army’s heavy focus for FY 2019-2020 is on increasing lethality and implementing six modernization priorities. For FY 2021, however, the service is shifting to support the U.S.
Modernizing information technology across 700,000 U.S. Air Force personnel is not a simple venture. Updating legacy systems, moving applications and data to the cloud, enabling the use of mobile devices, securing appropriate licensing and supplying powerful computing are complex undertakings. The pursuit of a digital transformation is a vital effort of the service, said Maj. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, USAF, assistant deputy chief information officer, Digital Transformation, and assistant deputy chief of staff for Cyber Effects Operations.
Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc., San Diego, California (N00024-20-D-4449), Vigor Marine, LLC, Portland, Oregon (N00024-20-D-4442), and Pacific Shipyard International, Honolulu, Hawaii (N00024-20-D-4448) (Lot I); and Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc., San Diego, California (N00024-20-D-4450), MARISCO Ltd., Kapolei, Hawaii (N00024-20-D-4453), Propulsion Control Engineering, Aiea, Hawaii (N00024-20-D-4451), and Pacific Shipyard International, Honolulu, Hawaii (N00024-20-D-4452) (Lot II), are each awarded a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for ship repair, maintenance and modernization of non-nuclear surface ships (including DDG, CG, LPD, LSD, LHA, LHD, PC, MCM and LCS class ships) assigned to or visiting Pearl
The days of holding onto legacy IT systems are over. Last year’s Executive Order has made data center and IT modernization an issue of “how” and “when,” not “if.” Despite the mandate to modernize, federal government agencies often struggle to transition from legacy facilities and legacy mindsets, largely because of three myths.
Myth #1: “Our legacy systems are working just fine.”
The slow speed of modernization is partly due to the idea that decades-old systems still seem to be working. You may see this mindset in your own agency: If it has served us well for this long, why would we change?
McLean, Virginia-based Capgemini announced on July 31 that it would be supporting the government’s information technology (IT) modernization efforts. The General Services Administration (GSA) awarded the company a contract under a new multiple-award blanket purchase agreement (BPA), the Centers of Excellence Discovery and Assessment BPA for Cloud Adoption and IT Infrastructure Optimization.
On Friday, the Defense Department released its DOD Digital Modernization Strategy, aiming to greatly improve the military’s digital environment. The strategy aims to modernize the DOD’s joint information enterprise environment by advancing its fixed and mobile networking capabilities,; DOD-wide enterprise information technology (IT) services, coordinated technology refresh efforts, joint cybersecurity capability and access to data.
El Segundo, California-based Raytheon announced on July 11 that The Boeing Company chose it to be the radar supplier for the B-52 bomber radar modernization program.
Under the contract, Raytheon will design, develop, produce and sustain active electronically scanned array radar systems for the entire U.S. Air Force B-52 fleet, Raytheon stated. Raytheon's B-52 radar is based on active electronically scanned array (AESA) systems developed from the APG-79/APG-82 radar system. The new systems will improve the navigation reliability of nuclear and conventional missions. It also offers improved mapping and detection ranges, and an increase in the number of targets that can simultaneously be engaged.
The cloud strategy document released this week by the U.S. Defense Department is drawing mixed reactions from industry and military officials. Experts welcome the strategy as an important step toward modernizing the department’s infrastructure but also express some concerns and note that many questions remain.
The U.S. Army may establish an artificial intelligence task force over the next 90 days in an effort to help develop needed expertise and better prepare for the service for the future of warfare, says Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, Army chief information officer. The service also is creating a cloud computing advisory board.
To ensure greater supply availability of certain technologies, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command is pursuing a concept not widely used in the military, reports Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, USA, commander of the organization and senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The command has started a pilot program that will allow the service to option intellectual property rights in specific hardware and software contracts, Gen. Taylor says.
The U.S. Army will be ditching some programs, re-engineering others and seeking innovative technologies to fill networking requirements created by a new operational reality, say the service’s information technology experts. Having a deliberate period of acquisition now, the service is able to incorporate flexibility and innovation into its plans to meet new requirements.
The U.S. Army’s major overhaul of its network may lead to a communications structure capable of conforming to an array of operational situations, including the possibility of providing offensive cyber and electronic warfare capabilities.
The U.S. Army took another step toward developing its fourth command when it announced that Austin, Texas, would be the location of the new Futures Command.
The service is pursuing the new command as a way to modernize and position itself “to achieve clear overmatch in future conflicts,” according to the Army. Having a central location for its modernization will unify its efforts, Army leaders said.
“The creation of the Army’s Futures Command constitutes the Army’s most significant reorganization effort since 1973,” said Army Secretary Mark Esper. “It is a new organization that epitomizes our commitment to bold reform and transforming the Army’s modernization process.”
Taking the network into battle can be challenging for Army soldiers operating on the tactical edge. The Army’s Command Post Computing Environment, known as CP CE, is an integrated mission command system that supports warfighters across intelligence, fires, logistics, maneuvers and airspace management capabilities. The need for this system to include open system architecture and be interoperable, cost effective and cyber secure are key goals of the Product Manager Mission Command (PM MC) of the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).
Two U.S. Army generals intimately involved in the modernization of the service’s network are considering a competition for industry and academia to come up with cutting-edge solutions, such as artificial intelligence, for the future network.
In an example of great minds thinking alike, Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, USA, who leads the network modernization cross-functional team (CFT), and Maj. Gen. David Bassett, USA, the program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical (PEO C3T), recently realized during an interview with SIGNAL Magazine that both were thinking along the same lines.
The U.S. Army is making some long-needed changes to the way it’s configuring the networks required to prepare for, conduct and win wars. With the promise of increased resources, the service plans to do more than just upgrade its information technology. Instead, it has designed a strategy that incorporates the successes of the past, adjusts where needed in the present and sets the stage for a future that takes advantage of innovative solutions.
Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, Army chief information officer (CIO)/G-6, said the service is interested in small satellite technology, dynamic spectrum access, the ability to leverage existing infrastructure, alternatives to space-based precision, navigation and timing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and air and ground robotics.
Gen. Crawford specified that the technologies are not capabilities gaps but instead are technological areas of interest. He made the comments while presenting a keynote speech at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia.
The U.S. Army has awarded a five-year, $81.5 million contract to Herndon, Virginia-based LGS Innovations. Under the contract, LGS will support the Army's Program Executive Officer Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) Power Projection Enablers (P2E) team at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. LGS will assist the P2E in data network modernization as part of the Pacific Data Project. The data project seeks to create a single, secure standards-based network across 100 sites in the Asia Pacific Theater. Also, the effort will reduce the number of entry and exit points to enhance network security.
The U.S. Army intends to improve expeditionary command-post capabilities by providing mobile, scalable and survivable platforms, the service announced. The Army recently authorized the implementation of the Command Post Integrated Infrastructure, or CPI2, effort in December to address mobility issues and to ensure communications hardware and mission-command application integration across platforms.
The Army has established several technological goals, which include:
• Leveraging secure wireless technology for rapid connectivity.
• Improving mobility.
More than a decade ago—2003 to be precise—the Defense Department announced plans to convert its network to the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) standard. Today, the wait continues.