The Army — bogged down by a long, bureaucratic acquisition system from which leaders are trying to extricate program offices — could undergo systemic changes by integrating processes and functions, according to some.
Army officials are looking to pivot to more agile, dynamic ways of equipping soldiers and taking on emerging threats. And one place they are looking is within their own components, evaluating where synergies can be found between offices, needs, systems and more.
The idea is especially clear when it comes to cyber, information operations and electronic warfare, officials said Dec. 13 at an event held in Arlington, Virginia, by the Association of the U.S. Army.
“It’s about integration. It’s really integrating requirements, integrating capabilities, integrating formations,” said Army Cyber Center of Excellence Commander Maj. Gen. John Morrison.
“Literally, you can have a combined arms effect inside cyberspace … integrating intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare and, I would submit, also signal. You need all of those to come together if you’re really going to deliver the effects you need.”
It’s proven fruitful already, Morrison said, highlighting as a prime example the Terrestrial Layer Intelligence System that just recently received initial approval from the Joint Requirements Oversight Council.
“As we were going down the road to develop the TLIS document, we were very stovepiped and fragmented in that we had our intel brothers and sisters developing their own requirements document, we were at Fort Gordon in happy bliss developing our own electronic warfare requirements document,” Morrison said.
“But when we stepped back and took a look at it, we were getting ready to do a disservice on two levels. Forget the fact that we were going to try and buy two separate, distinct systems, but we were also getting ready to buy capabilities for our operational formations that did not bring an integrated effect and an integrated capability to the person that matters most, and that’s the maneuver commander.”
Morrison said what they did was unorthodox by traditional standards, but it worked.
“It was an unnatural act for the Army to … bring two disparate centers of excellence together to come up with one integrated requirement, but I’m very pleased with how the Army reacted to it,” he said.
Morrison said to expect more of this type of integration going forward, starting with the requirements process — a process that’s seeing other changes as well.
“You’re not going to see requirements documents that are very technical in nature, saying, ‘We want to be able to do this, this and this’ … very prescriptive requirements,” he said.
“What you’re going to see in these documents are operationally based requirements. ‘This is the operational effect that we are trying to achieve.’ And we’re going to set them in such a manner that we can do iterative development, because like we’ve done with the network, in this space everything is going to be evolving over time and we’ve got to have that inherent flexibility … because, quite frankly, our adversaries are not following the [Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System] and locking in a program of record for the next 20 years. Neither can we.”
And it’s not just in electronic warfare or cyber. At the AUSA annual meeting in October, Army CIO/G-6 Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford explained that one of the root causes that led the Army to the stalled Warfighter Information Network-Tactical — a major symptom of a much bigger IT acquisition problem — was the fact IT requirements came from multiple sources and were not integrated.
What happened over the course of time, Morrison said, is the Army had a bunch of stovepiped requirements coming out that ended up being stovepiped programs of record that had to be bolted together. The solution? Integrating the requirements.
Where each center of excellence previously could write a requirements document, get approved and get funded, now all requirements will go through the Cyber Center of Excellence to the Mission Command Center of Excellence, be integrated at Fort Leavenworth — the home of the Mission Command CoE — and then passed on to the Army.