BALTIMORE — The Army says it is establishing concrete methods at the highest levels to move plans forward with a computer modernization that will create the network needed for joint operations in the future.
The service is working on the governance of its unified network, it is also directing staff to important program areas and establishing milestones to make a final push on the barrier between strategic and tactical networks.
“Last week we briefed the Under Secretary of the Army on this approach and he has endorsed it and, quite frankly, is integrating it into his day-to-day governance,” said Lt. Gen. John Morrison, chief of staff. Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Army on Tuesday at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference. “We are well on the way to execution. We will guide him through the Army Orders process, so that we can align resources and people in organizations and establish accountability.
Federal News Network reported last year that the Army will begin implementing concepts intended to unify its corporate and tactical networks in 2022, these new actions are some of the first steps in getting there.
The Army has been working on the Unified Network since October 2021, when it released a strategic plan for the program.
The Army’s unified network plan has five lines of effort he says are key to shaping the future of the military. This includes establishing the network to enable multi-domain operations, force posture for these multi-domain operations and maintaining the network.
The other two lines of effort include reforming processes and policies and securing freedom of action in cyberspace.
The Army wants to have a multi-domain task force by 2028.
The strategy highlights a three-phase plan, the first of which ends in 2024. This phase will establish a security architecture based on zero-trust principles, synchronization with 5G and moving capabilities to the cloud.
The remaining phases run through 2028 and focus on completing the Department of Defense Information Network operations structure and then implementing the Unified Network for items such as rugged computers, edge sensors, robotics and cybersecurity.
Senior leaders plan to finalize a new Army network plan in the coming months. This document will help define what the common network architecture will look like in which the unified network will operate.
It also remains to be determined how the unified network plan will play into the service’s plan to largely outsource day-to-day network operations to its garrisons. The Army is still piloting the Enterprise-IT-as-a-Service (EITaaS) approach at three of its facilities and does not expect to make a final decision on the path forward for the rest of its bases until 2023.
“We’re working on all of that, but the notion of a unified network would just fit into that [EITaas] umbrella, or it would be a component of how we deliver the unified network,” Morrison said last year. “The hope is that we can be more effective and efficient working with our industry partners, but the notion of a unified network supporting multi-domain operations is that they must support each other.”
The military in general places a huge emphasis on multi-domain efforts. One of its current flagship programs is the Joint All Domain Command and Control.
This concept will bring together many different weapons and systems across all domains so that decision makers can quickly see and share data to take quick action.