A Revolution in Army Information Management

Article excerpt

The Army has reached a crossroads we have never seen before. We, and the entire nation, find ourselves in an era of persistent conflict. At the same time, the Army is reorganizing, restructuring and changing its global footprint. Information technology-of particular interest to the G-6-continues to evolve so quickly that it's hard for anyone, whether in the private or public sector, to keep up.

These factors are driving a revolution in Army information management. In the aggregate, the Army has decided to embrace the enterprise concept for its information technology (IT) needs and operations and to tighten its data management practices. The expected payoff is greater efficacy and efficiency. Simultaneously, the Army is tackling head-on the constant and increasingly sophisticated threat to cyber operations. The goal is that no soldier is ever put at risk due to cyber vulnerability.

LandWarNet: New Army Enterprise Activity. A viable, secure LandWarNet infrastructure that allows deployed units to access the network from anywhere in the world and that consistently supplies the right data is no longer merely a nice extra-it is absolutely essential. Our soldiers are beyond network-enabled; they are thoroughly network-dependent. Their success is tied directly to the technology and information we provide them. The G-6 is profoundly committed to getting our warfighters everything they need to protect the nation and to return home after a job well done. One of the most important changes resulting from this revolution is the restructuring of LandWarNet into an enterprise activity capable of delivering enterprise services.

Until now, Army entities have drawn their IT services from local sources, primarily the installation at which they are located. Typically, each installation has its own servers, operates with slightly (and sometimes extremely) different software and supplies users with various hardware. These disparities mean that a service or feature available at one location may not exist at another, and there is no easy way to pool IT knowledge and management across the Army. From a holistic point of view, this is very inefficient. For instance, the large number of dispersed servers means that many operate at less than 100 percent capacity, leaving the Army with a bill for a capability it does not fully use. Also, due to the difficulty of maintaining this huge quantity, not every server carries the most up-to-date software-security patches, in particular-which leaves our Army network vulnerable.

With LandWarNet in the form of an enterprise activity, the entire Army will receive consistent, standardized IT services across the globe. In addition, the overall number of servers will be reduced, which in turn reduces maintenance, personnel and, ultimately, energy costs.

To ensure that home-station and deployed forces can access LandWarNet from anywhere, the Army is establishing regional network service centers (NSC). The NSCs will integrate geographically separated network capabilities, enabling the Army to achieve interoperability within the Joint enterprise and to improve information assurance and computer network defense. The NSC architecture is based on three major components: fixed regional hub nodes (FRHN), area processing centers (APC), and theater network operation and security centers (TNOSC).

The FRHNs will provide deployed forces with an improved transport leg for high-bandwidth connectivity into the global information grid. During all phases of Joint operations, Ku- and Ka-band satellite-equipped brigade combat teams (BCT), Stryker BCTs, divisions, corps and Armylevel units will be able to access APCs and TNOSCs through the nodes.

Data management and processing will be handled by the APCs. Among other advantages, the APCs will enable deploying units to forward-stage user applications, content information and services, which will reduce data and application transport requirements. …