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Napoleon’s Thinking on Digital Networks

The French general's ideas still inspire those who keep the U.S. Army on the cutting edge of technological capabilities.
MG Christopher Eubank, Commanding General, United States Army Network Enterprise Technology Command. Photo By: AFCEA

Maj. Gen. Christopher Eubank, commanding general, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, speaks at TechNet Augusta. Credit: Michael Carpenter

Predictive artificial intelligence and machine learning will be used to prevent network outages in the future to avoid communications disruptions before they actually happen.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Eubank, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM), made this prediction at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta 2022 event during his keynote speech.

“How you use [artificial intelligence and machine learning] to truly get us to a place where we knew [a network outage] was going to happen and, by the way, we fixed it before it happened,” said Gen. Eubank during his remarks. “That’s the big challenge for us,” he added.

Gen. Eubank’s command is tasked with ensuring freedom of action in cyberspace and denying it to adversaries, as well as supporting multidomain operations. This is a continuous mission and critical to Army warfighters in all operation theaters.

Support services span the world to emplacements in Korea, Germany and Kuwait among other locations, and all systems need to be up 24/7.

“This operation in Ukraine really opened our eyes,” said Gen. Eubank, touching on the mission of sustained connectivity port-to-fort-to-fight. As communications with units deployed in Eastern Europe became critical, taking the existing networks into new compliance standards would mean an advantage.

“It’s allowing units to get on the fight faster and get on the network faster,” Gen. Eubank told the audience.

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MGChristopher Eubank. Photo By: AFCEA
The secret in war lies in communications.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Eubank (quoting Napoleon Bonaparte)
Commanding general, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command

Among the network’s desired attributes are resilience, defensibility and accessibility to those who are deployed, with uninterrupted global access.

Zero trust and the adoption of modern business practices are also qualities expected from this structure as the final objective is having one unified system that will efficiently communicate to all stakeholders, according to Gen. Eubank.

A part of this drive is Army 365, the program that provides a solution for on-site and remote work. This initiative also includes the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Department of Defense.

“Army 365 migration is not done. We’re still doing it today. We are roughly 800,000 users on the environment today and more to go, and we’re working through that now,” Gen. Eubank said.

Gen. Eubank explained that migration to Army 365 was hastened after the pandemic forced many to work remotely.

“We can’t afford to have 22 disparate networks anymore, whether it’s physically or technically,” the general said.

“It’s the effort we have to do, to be the fighting force we need to be in 2030, and if this business in Ukraine hasn’t told us anything, it’s told us that,” he stated.

“I will leave you with a quote from Napoleon, and that is, ‘The secret in war lies in communications.’ And I will tell you that there’s nothing more important than that every day, for us in NETCOM,” Gen. Eubank said.

 

MG Chris Eubank, USA, on AI and ML and the Network