Following several months of intense focus to modernize the Army’s tactical network, the service is now turning its attention toward the enterprise, strategic network.

While work is still ongoing to fix issues related to the tactical network the Army’s chief information officer said an in-depth mission analysis of the enterprise network has begun.

“That work has started. Initial mission analysis is done,” Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, said at the Army Signal Conference hosted by AFCEA in Springfield, Virginia March 3. “Our goal is to write the strategy by the fall, the overarching strategy.”

Despite being in the initial stages of the study, Crawford shared one of the conclusions the Army has come to thus far: “we believe that the issues associated with the strategic network have literally been masked over the last 15 years.”

Crawford acknowledged that it wasn’t as if this was unbeknownst to the Army, but the depth and scope of the issues have been masked because of lacking demand not the systems.

Crawford noted the system was not put through the paces in Iraq and Afghanistan during the counterinsurgency fight of the last decade and a half the same way it would be in Europe in a high-end operating environment.

Crawford pointed to a few items included in the scope of the effort: cloud, network convergence shrinking down 62 disparate networks, Joint Regional Security Stack migration and identity management.

“You can pick one of many of what I call enterprise software optimization,” he said. He added that the service spends about $3 billion alone over a five year period on enterprise software sustainment.

This effort will be a bit different from that of the tactical network modernization just given the nature of the strategic network.

“You think solving the problems of the tactical network were hard, in terms of developing a strategy,” Crawford said. “Try taking someone in the enterprise like you can a radio, or like you can another mobile device that you can in the tactical, like some of our Nett Warrior capability, you can show them that. ‘Here are our tactical devices.’ I don’t know about you all but I’ve had a hard time…pick[ing] up the enterprise and take it to somebody – hey here’s what the enterprise looks like.”

“This is going to be a little bit different in terms of laying out the depth and scope,” he added.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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