Doug Wiltsie is director of the Army's System of Systems Engineering & Integration (SoSE&I) directorate. Serving under the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, known as ASA(ALT), Wiltsie is responsible for providing coordinated System of System (SoS) analysis, engineering, and architectural, and integration products that facilitate how the Army shapes, manages, validates and synchronizes the deployment of integrated materiel capabilities.

SoSE&I also synchronizes integration and interoperability across the program executive offices, Army programs of record, current force systems, and other Doctrine, Organization, Training, Leadership, Personnel and Facilities (DOTLPF) elements to achieve integrated capabilities for a full-spectrum force. SoSE&I is also the material integrator for Network Integration Evaluations and capability set fielding efforts.

Wiltsie recently spoke to C4ISR & Networks about issues ranging from SoSE&I's role as the Army's cyber lead to supervising multiple PEOs to protecting systems from cyberattackers.

Doug Wiltsie is the director of Director, System of Systems Engineering & Integration.

Photo Credit: Army

What are the first things on your mind when you come into the office in the morning?

DOUG WILTSIE: The real thing that's on my mind is the ability of the organization to prove out the operational effectiveness of the network, and that's really being done by the execution of the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) with the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) down at Fort Bliss. BMC's new on the operational side. We're doing the outfitting side, but the product that comes out of is the measure of the pieces and parts of the network, how well they work, and then the overall effectiveness of the network.

Cyber, clearly, is also on the list every day — the ability to do defensive cyber operations, offensive cyber operations, and then the clear mission assurance, as well as maintenance assurance of a lot of the products that are coming out of the vault.

Doug Wiltsie is one of many high-level speakers slated to appear at the C4ISR & Networks Conference, May 26 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View. Find out more and register here

Can you explain the role SoSE&I plays as a cyber lead for the Army?

WILTSIE: SoSE&I's role is really about the ability to look across the portfolio. So you have the program executive offices (PEOs), and they are responsible for their portfolios. Our job is to look at how the operation of a crosscutting capability — one that goes across the PEOs — is implemented to make sure that we're in sync and that we're all moving to provide a specific operational capability.

If you bring that to cyber, you really have two responsibilities. The first is to work across the PEOs to ensure that we deliver an end-to-end solution that supports all echelons and that's synchronized to ensure that data and information can flow both up and down.

We've also established something called the Cyber Innovation Challenge with a consortium of commercial vendors to be able to prototype and demonstrate the leading-edge capabilities that are out there with respect to cyber and how they can work within the Department of the Army. What that allows us to do is get a very quick look at a technology, figure out how we would implement it, and own the requirement so that the enduring acquisition will be [better] trained. It also allows us to field a very small percentage of the pilots to users to get feedback on how they would do tactics, techniques and procedures, and how they would do their concepts of operations with such a tool. It really helps us both on the operator side and the acquisition side to hone what we want to go get so we can go get it as fast as we can. Those are really the kind of two things that we do.

How do you go about collecting information about what's happening at the PEO level? Do you have any tools that allow you to look into their operations?

WILTSIE: Information assurance (IA) is the responsibility of every PEO and the systems that they execute, so when you're looking at things such as IA and vulnerabilities of a system, that's their responsibilities.

Our real focus has been the implementation of policies to ensure that, across the entire ASA(ALT) organization, we're doing all of the right things in regards to information assurance and routine assurance, and doing a sort of oversight. We do get information back from the PEOs on where they are with regard to scorecards, etc., but it's really more of an oversight mission.

One of our jobs is to make sure that the requirements, as they come down, are synchronized across each echelon. We then work with the PEOs on how we can create an environment that ensures data is going to pass both up and down and focus on those areas that have the highest priority. Today, the highest priority is really building out the infrastructure.

As hackers get better at what they're doing, cyber teams need additional tools to be able to counter those kinds of [threats]. That's an evolutionary process that we work on with our Cyber Center of Excellence, and Training and Doctrine Command and then, within the leadership here, to understand what we need to do, what needs to be procured. Then, if we can run an innovative challenge that helps us hone the requirements, we will.

There are really three PEOs that are involved in defensive cyber operations and offensive cyber operations. PEO Enterprise Information Systems is working at the enterprise level, Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical is working at the tactical level, and then PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors is working on the offensive cyber operations.

The next thing we're looking at is Web-facing vulnerabilities. Portals are Web-facing. Obviously, that's a vulnerable area and [we are] executing a two-phase plan to improve their security.

Big data analytics, for which we have a pilot running today, is giving us some great information about moving forward. [For example], the big data analytics connection to the joint enterprise with the joint regional security staffs — that's data that's coming off both the interpost and intrapost data, so we can use heuristic algorithms that will allow us to understand when the traffic flow changes [to detect potential attacks].

The last thing is the creation of cyber situational awareness at every echelon — the ability to see the network end to end, understand what it's supposed to look like, understand what the threats are within a specific area of responsibility, and then use that situational awareness to implement both defensive and offensive cyber operations.

Describe your role in assured positioning, navigations and timing (PNT)?

WILTSIE: I think it's pretty clear that, as the threat environment changes and our adversaries become more sophisticated, it's essential for the Army to achieve assured PNT through other means. We're actively working with the Air Force, DoD and the Navy. We're working with everybody to execute the congressionally mandated transition to M-Code. All of Military GPS User Equipment is working with the program managers to establish the budgets necessary to do that.

Within the Army itself, the other aspect that we're looking at is the PNT System of Systems Architecture. It enables an enterprise approach coordinated across the platforms, and also the domains, in order to continually outpace the threat and increase the efficiency in PNT implementation. It's really about trying to establish the ultimate goal of PNT enhancements that provide our forces with unhindered access to trusted PNT environment in all conditions.

Is that a long-term goal, or do you think you might see something like that with the Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability (VICTORY) architecture in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle?

WILTSIE: VICTORY architecture is absolutely an example of where that would be implemented as we look forward to ... the things we know the combat vehicle folks are looking [toward]. So it's something that we're looking at. The System of Systems Architecture gives us the ability to understand the environment, and then make those smart choices for the PEOs to execute the acquisition as it goes forward.

What is the future of the NIE and Army Warfighting Assessment?

WILTSIE: My understanding is that we're going to continue to do [NIE] at least through 2020 because the fundamental effort of the NIE is to validate Network 2020, and validate the capability sets that are going to be fielded for the network as it goes forward at least through 2020. There are some dynamics clearly that have to be taken into account with the reduction in forces and the demand on forces, and so the Army continues to look at that. But I don't see the NIE stopping any time in the near future.

What is the Common Operating Environment (COE) that you're looking at for networks, and where are you with that process

WILTSIE: The COE is not a program per se, it is more along the lines of ... using commercial best practices in things such as consolidation and open architecture to allow us to achieve the goal of a COE where we can plug-and-play sensors or plug-and-play applications into a common environment. If we look today at what's about to be evaluated or assessed out at NIE 16.2, we're going to look at ... the computing environments that make up the [COE] ... [including] the command post computing environment where they've utilized best practices and collapsed the infrastructure so there's not a server for each application. There's a service layer now that provides common services, and they're able to lay the apps on top, and that's going to continue over time as they improve that process. But the idea is ... within the tactical operations center you don't have a small room behind a curtain that has a server for every app.

Is there anything else you wanted to bring up? 

WILTSIE: I've only bee at the organization a few months, but the organization is really critical for ASA(ALT) from the acquisition standpoint. I am able to work across PEOs that are doing an absolutely phenomenal job of executing their missions. Our job is to support them, so that as we look across the different functions we see where there are gaps and then work together to fix them.

It's a critical thing to have an organization like this be able to look across and help the execution, because the really important piece for soldiers that are deployed is that they get a capability that works and that gives them the edge they need in order to accomplish their mission and get home. I'm really proud of the organization here. It's a phenomenal group of folks that are very dedicated and do a lot of good things to help the Army get better.