Ambitious initiatives in new Army 500-day plan

Originally posted at 12:37 p.m. and updated at 4:40 p.m.

(Updated) FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.'The U.S. Army's Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6, with little fanfare, issued its latest 500-day strategic plan this week in time for the Army's annual LandWarNet conference. But even as top Army IT officers took turns articulating those plans at plenary and breakout sessions, many of them stayed busy behind closed doors between sessions, hammering out what was to be accomplished and how those plans were to be executed in the coming months.

The new 500-day plan reads much like the prior plan, which was last updated in October 2006. The vision, mission and six strategic goals remain unchanged, but the new plan lays out a series of 20 new or updated objectives. And it puts new emphasis on specific, near-term initiatives.

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Sorenson, the nominee slated to replace former CIO Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, said that he was already developing a series of 100-day plans that would spell out finer-line goals and the individuals responsible for accomplishing them.

'The task that was given to the staff,' Sorenson said, 'was to make sure (we define) what specifically from the G-6 organization what role we play in influencing, directing and controlling what needs to be done here.' That work, including setting up milestones and schedules to accomplish them is still being formulated, he said.

The 100 day plans aren't expected to be released before the fall'and presumably not before the Senate completes Sorenson's confirmation hearings.

Among the new or more detailed initiatives outlined in the 500-day plan, the Army CIO/G-6 plans to:
  • Leverage new technologies to upgrade operating capabilities'integrating voice, video and data exchange within the LandWarNet network;
  • Transform Army installations to begin functioning like 'docking stations''establishing common user enterprise services that allow troops to access their data and applications, regardless of where they plug into the network;
  • Redefine the role of the CIO/G-6 as the Army proponent for knowledge management, focusing on industry best practices;
  • Align the CIO/G-6's development priorities more closely with the budget development process'and increasing the visibility of Army IT assets and the use of portfolio management tools; and
  • Improve the skills of information technology managers'by increasing the number of IT personal taking advanced training and increasing the emphasis on knowledge management.

Sorenson said in an interview with GCN that his primary technology concern in shepherding the 500-day plan is that 'there are a lot of great advances in technologies. The issue becomes, how do we integrate that? How does it help enhance what we're doing?'

Sorenson is expected to bring his acquisition and systems integration experience to bear on the goals and initiatives of the new 500-day plan. Those goals, as introduced by current acting CIO Vernon Bettencourt Jr., call for the Army CIO's office to:
  • Develop and maintain a secure, seamless, interdependent LandWarNet network using an integrated enterprise architecture;
  • Lead enterprise integration to achieve superior decision making, by converting processes, applications and data into network-centric capabilities across the Army.
  • Protect and defend the Army's systems, networks and information;
  • Ensure that Army information management and IT investments maximize joint and Army capabilities;
  • Develop the Army's IT and information management knowledge and skills; and
  • Deliver an integrated enterprise strategy that influences joint and Army use of information management and IT in furthering warfighting capabilities.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.


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