By Jaspreet Gill and Andrew Eversden on August 24, 2022 at 2:16 PM
WASHINGTON and ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The US Army has launched a portfolio review of its entire network modernization portfolio and is looking to place “big bets” on future battlefield network technologies, the service’s No. 2 official said this week.
“It’s too early to kind of draw any conclusions,” Undersecretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo told reporters on Tuesday at Aberdeen Proving Ground. “So we’re kind of in the middle of it right now.
“But the goal is to rationalize our investment and the requirements that we have in all of these areas, from enterprise all the way to the tactical edge. And I think if I would characterize it, the focus is on building foundational investments that are going to enable the Army to be part of the joint force and to do everything that we have to do as part of our national defense strategy.”
For several years, the Army has been working to modernize its network to be more secure and resilient as the service shifts to Multi-Domain Operations and contributes to the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative. Network modernization is among the service’s six modernization priorities.
Camarillo did not go into depth during his comments Tuesday, during a visit to Aberdeen Proving Ground. But speaking Wednesday at a Potomac Officer’s Club event, he added that the portfolio review, which will end in the fall, will focus on four areas: network operations; cloud adoption; the transport layer, which includes tactical radios and satellite communications; and the common operating environment. The review is being led by the service’s chief information officer and G-6.
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“Some of the questions that we’re examining as part of the reviews include, for instance, how do we implement a hybrid and multi-cloud approach combining…private and public sector cloud computing resources to meet Army security and resilience requirements, while at the same time promoting competition among different teams?” Camarillo said.
“How do we assist our migration across the enterprise by resourcing those common services that are required to do migration activities that are absolutely essential?” he continued. “How do we work with the private sector and other agencies to develop a strategy for migrating to the cloud and deliver the developing requirements that deliver the best value and effectiveness to the Army?”
The review was prompted by the several different Program Evaluation Groups, or PEGS, in the service, which is how the Army segments its budgets, Camarillo told reporters during the Potomac Officers Club event. But the goal isn’t to reallocate funding lines within the budget or realign organization responsibilities.
Instead, Camarillo said he hopes the review will allow the service to identify areas where it can invest in next-generation requirements and make sure the service is accelerating its efforts appropriately.
“I think what we are trying to do is look at our current requirements for many of those capabilities,” he said. “And to the extent that there is duplication, or if there are opportunities to perhaps streamline and accelerate the requirements development process so that we can get to the next-generation leap ahead, that’s what we’re looking at.”
During his trip of Aberdeen, Camarillo received demonstrations of the network modernization work underway by the Network Cross-Functional Team, Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communication-Tactical and PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. Camarillo told reporters that during his visit he was pushing the network team at Aberdeen to focus on future requirements and network needs.
“I’ve challenged the team here today: What can we do in terms of looking at next generation requirements? You know, big bets, whether it’s in the transport layer, all of our tactical radios, what do we need to do to get the next generation of evolution,” Camarillo told reporters before departing the installation.
Those big bets, according to a fact sheet, include increasing network resiliency, securing data, unified network operations, weaving together a data fabric and completing the service’s C5ISR Modular Suite of Standards program, a platform that will allow soldiers to plug in cards embedded with networking and electronic warfare capabilities.
IT acquisition, however, has always been a pain point for the Department of Defense and the services are always looking to find ways to speed up IT buys. To achieve the big bets, Brig. Gen. Jeth Rey, director of the Network Cross-Functional Team, told reporters Tuesday that the service needs to continue to explore new ways that acquisition process can be sped up — an area where Army senior leaders could help.
“We all have to come back to the under after today’s engagement with him: is there something we can do differently to acquire IT equipment in the processes that we currently have,” Rey said. “In the acquisition process, is there something that he can help with to put that particular technology into the hands of the user, a little bit faster? So I think we owe a ‘come back’ to him on what part of the process needs to be adjusted, or something new introduced.”
Article link: https://breakingdefense-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/breakingdefense.com/2022/08/army-undersecretary-reviewing-network-modernization-portfolio-wants-big-bets/amp/