Cuviello: Army IT momentum irreversible

SALT LAKE CITY - By early summer, three of the Army's top brass - the secretary, chief of staff and CIO - will retire or resign, leaving a hole in the leadership that has pushed an Armywide transformation initiative that is highly dependent on IT.

Replacements have not been named for Army Secretary Thomas White, who announced his intention to resign last Friday, or Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, who is retiring in June.

But President Bush has nominated Army Maj. Gen. Steven W. Boutelle, director of information operations, networks and space in the Army CIO office, to replace the current CIO, Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, when he retires in June.

During his three years as CIO, Cuviello has pushed Army Knowledge Online, the service's enterprise intranet portal. The portal provides free Web e-mail, Army news articles, banking information and other services. It has a job bank and an application to track deployment days, and the portal also lets users review or change some personnel functions. There are more than 1.2 million AKO users.

During an interview in Salt Lake City at the Software Technology Conference today, Cuviello said he doesn't think the Army will lose its focus on transforming to a faster, more agile force that bases its major programs on IT. Cuviello called the momentum "irreversible."

"I think the momentum that we've got going is being supported and led by the senior leaders, but it's being implemented by levels down, and they are going to continue," Cuviello predicted.

White and Shinseki's unnamed replacements will come from inside the Army where they have also spent years fine-tuning the transformation initiatives, Cuviello added.

Last summer, two other high-ranking officials retired. Miriam F. Browning, director of enterprise integration, and Col. Robert L. Coxe, chief technology officer, left in August. Browning oversaw the establishment of an IT career program for civilians and she helped establish the Army Knowledge Management initiative, a concept that promotes the use of IT on the battlefield for a network-centric, knowledge-based force.

Coxe, along with Cuviello, worked heavily in establishing the AKO portal.

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