Published: March 01, 2019

ARMYBusiness DevelopmentInformation TechnologyInnovationProfessional ServicesResearch and Development

The AFCEA Washington DC Chapter Army Luncheon was held on February 22, 2019, at the Army Navy Country Club, to discuss how culture and technology are connected as Army leaders focus on improving military readiness.  The theme set forth in the agenda acknowledged that “more than any given technology, [the] intersection of data and culture is likely the most important factor in the success of data-driven decision-making in government.”

The panel included:

  • Colonel (P) Jeth Rey, Army Cyber Command’s Director of Operations
  • Colonel Nora Marcos, Network Cross-Functional Team’s Chief of Staff
  • Colonel Carl Young, Chief of Architecture & Data Division. CIO/G6
  • Colonel Wade Johnston, Network & Space Integration’s Division Chief
  • Francis Rose, Moderator, Government Matters

After introducing the speakers, the moderator opened the floor to Questions from the attendees.  Not wasting any time, the first question asked for an outline of the evolving strategy on how the Army plans on modernizing its networks.  According to Colonel Rey the “roll out will be next month” at AFCEA’s annual Army Signal Conference, March 12th-15th.  He strongly encouraged all guests to attend. When pressed further he stated that the Army currently operates with “government-owned, government-operated equipment” and that they are “exploring the possibility of contractor-owned, contractor-operate [equipment, but on] government-owned sites."  Short on details, however, he did say that the new plan would involve implementation of anything “as-a-service” and that they were exploring collaboration with the Navy and Air Force.

“As-a-service” is an IT term that refers to the delivery of anything as a service being made available to a customer over a network rather than provide it locally or on-site.  The most common include the three general cloud computing models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  Examples of software applications include Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce (SaaS), Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine (PaaS), and Google Compute Engine (IaaS).

When asked, Colonels Nora Marcos and Carl Young confirmed that the current problem moving forward is the culture in the Army of not sharing information and data among various Army agencies.  Col. Young noted that they are partnering with the Navy and Air Force to learn how they share data among the numerous enterprises.  He continued that the Army needs to work with both military and private sector to upgrade their network infrastructure, rather than doing everything in-house.  In addition, IT has become so sprawling that the Government does not “have an authoritative card catalogue” of every system or how they work.

This brought back the question of culture, and how the Army network being in the hands of the private sector could be dangerous.  Col. Rey made mention of two major highlights under the given topic.  One being the Army’s request for industry to “transport” the data from government user to government user.  While also relaying how they’ve been looking into the hoteling and banking networks to help bolster the Army’s network security and operations.

Additionally, when asked, Col. Jeth Rey noted that the Army has restarted the Joint Regional Security Stacks DoD program, saying that the latency issue had been resolved.  He declined to give any more information on the subject.  As a final comment, Col. Marcos stated that the Army plans to continue increasing the use of OTAs and encouraged all attendees join consortia.