4/7/2015 2:08 PM
Last week, we were honored to have U.S. Army Signal Corps leaders from around the globe attend our annual Signal Forum in McLean, VA. It proved to be a tremendous opportunity to enhance the knowledge, collaboration and teamwork of our Signal Regiment. We had valuable discussions on the Army Network Campaign Plan; the Army Operating Concept; modernizing our Army Network; moving capabilities to the cloud - and how to work with our partners in the sister services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Industry and Academia.
We were especially honored to have a group of terrific guest speakers which included: Gen. Daniel Allyn, Army Vice Chief of Staff; the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, Mr. Terry Halvorsen; the Deputy Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, Lt. Gen. James 'Kevin' McLaughlin - and the Commanding General of Army Cyber Command, Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon. In addition, more than 20 former senior Signal Corps leaders offered their seasoned insight and wisdom to our current Signal Team.
We all know the challenges the future holds. We are keenly aware of the reality of declining budgets and force reductions that threaten our military readiness. Mr. Halvorsen spoke about his vision of the future and emphasized the importance of partnership when it comes to delivering on the defense mission both now and in the future.
Thankfully, this is not the first time the Army has dealt with these hurdles – and it won’t be the first time we leap over them to continue the mission. During the Forum our leaders made it very clear that our Soldiers are up to the challenge, and that more than ever, the Signal Corps will play a central role in enabling the Army to continue to operate across the full spectrum of conflict to shape and prevent war.
How will the Signal Corps enable Army mission success?
By fulfilling the Army’s needs: Our Signal Corps is critical to nearly all of the Army core competencies. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn spoke to us about the foundational role the Army Signal Corps plays in setting the theater of war by establishing communications architecture. This allows the joint force to maintain freedom of action, which is essential to preventing conflict and, if necessary, enabling the joint forces to seize the initiative. The Signal Corps will play a critical role in enabling expeditionary mission command as the Army relies on efficient transition from home station to deployed theater. We continue to work towards changing how fixed-station command centers connect to tactical communications through our Home Station Mission Command Center upgrades.
How are we establishing this communications architecture?
By implementing the Army Network Campaign Plan: The Army network is one of the key technological focus areas described in the Army Operating Concept. As an enabler of situational understanding across the joint force, the network must “empower leaders at the lowest levels with relevant combat information, situational understanding, and access to joint and Army capabilities.” The Army of 2020 will operate in a complex world where cloud-based computers receive data from tens of billions of devices. These computers will have the capacity to digest, correlate, contextualize, process and then present data back to humans in a way that assists our decision-making process. The implementation of the Army Network Campaign Plan will posture the Army for success in a cloud-based world.
An essential element of the ANCP lies in the implementation of the Army Cloud Computing Strategy, which establishes and communicates the Army’s vision for delivering cloud-enabled network capabilities to improve mission and business effectiveness, increase operational IT efficiencies and protect Army data and infrastructure. The strategy extends the baseline and concepts defined in the various federal, DOD and Army policies and documents.
In the process of modernizing the network, we will continue to focus a keen eye on cybersecurity. To respond to the challenge, we are actively growing our cyber workforce and tapping into our Guard and Reserve capabilities. We continue our efforts towards the consolidation of Guard, Reserve, and Corps of Engineers networks initially through the migration to joint regional security stacks.
As we undergo these changes, our force remains our top priority. More than ever, our Signal Soldiers will be called upon for their unique skills and expertise. We are dedicated to providing world-class training for our future leaders by optimizing our Signal force structure, working closely with the regiment and partner organizations, and collaborating with our industry partners.
Our Signal force stands poised for change, and I know we will succeed.
Lt. Gen Robert S. Ferrell