Army becomes net dependent, CIO says

Sorenson speaks at LandWarNet conference

TAMPA, Fla.-- For years, the Army has paid attention to many weapons technologies, but there was always a core of what’s commonly called the “Big 5”: the Abrams main battle tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the Apache helicopter, the Patriot air defense missile battery and the multiple launch system.

However, times have changed and the importance of those systems is fading in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the Army increasingly realizes that the Big Five are really just the Big One. And that would be the Network, with a capital “N”.

There’s a simple reason why the network has gained such prominence recently: The Defense Department's desire to turn the Army into an expeditionary force, meaning that the great majority of it will be based in the continental United States (CONUS), and will bring the network with it when it deploys.

“Eighty percent of our forces will be here in CONUS, and this will be done by 2011 as we complete the base realignment and closure,” said Army chief information officer/G6 Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, speaking Aug. 4 at LandWarNet 2010. “If we’re going to be responsive to a joint force commander, we need to be expeditionary, and to be expeditionary, we have to be networked.”

That philosophy was codified by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey in April when he referred to a primarily CONUS-based Army as a networked organization.

“The word ‘network’ has been embedded in the vision of the chief of staff as he talks about what he sees for the future,” said Sorenson. “And, oh, by the way, [the preferred term] is no longer 'net-enabled' or 'net-centric.' It is 'net-dependent,' and that is what our Army is.”

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.


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