Borland: Army's one-network effort starts at the top

Borland: Army's one-network effort starts at the top

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.'The importance to the Army of networked, interoperable IT has clearly reached the service's top ranks, deputy CIO David Borland said today.

He recalled a briefing last week on the Future Combat Systems initiative, in which Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki told senior leaders that the Army is on a path to transform "virtually to one network and one database."

Borland, in a morning keynote address today at the Army Small Computer Program's IT Conference, underscored the significance of Shinseki's comments in the Army's four-year transformation efforts.

"Here you have the most senior Army officer talking about the importance of a single database while he's talking about FCS," Borland said.

Part of the Army's way of getting its arms around IT has been to gain a better accounting of how IT dollars are spent. Out of the Army's proposed $93.9 billion fiscal 2004 budget, $5.58 billion would go to IT systems and programs, Borland said.

"We now have a good handle on where the money goes. We couldn't tell before because money for IT was buried or spent in other areas," he said.

The money will reallocate command, control, communications and computer investments from local control to enterprise oversight and management, Borland said. In the Army's transformation processes will shift from stovepipe systems to servicewide best-business practices and collaboration tools.

The Army Knowledge Online portal also has helped the Army move from maintaining duplicative Web sites to an enterprisewide portal. AKO is a key component of the transformation, Borland said. About 250,000 users log on to it daily and download more than 2 million files from more than 315 community pages, Borland said.

"We are doing lots of things today through AKO," he said. "We're headed in the right direction: a ubiquitous, addressable, any-place-in-the-world capability to access information, to access knowledge that we have gained over [nearly] 230 years" since the service was founded in 1775.

Eventually, Borland said, "all the knowledge in the Army will be accessible through the site."

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