Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, the Army

Lighter communications key to Army’s future

In order for the Army to meet its vision of rapidly deploying smaller soldier teams into unforgiving environments, lighter communications systems are essential.

That’s the view of Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, the Army's CIO/G-6, who outlined his priorities to meet the Army's vision for 2025 at the Association of the U.S. Army Institute of Land Warfare breakfast, in Arlington, Va.

It's critical that the communication infrastructure be ready at all times – from installation to the point of need, Ferrell said.  To make that happen, his first priority is to build provide signal capabilities to the force, bridging the gap between the tactical and institutional networks, he explained.

Signal capabilities, according to Ferrell, include equipping the signal regiment for an integrated end-to-end network as well as the responsibility for training the signal force to meet C4 (cyber and command, control, communications and computers) cyber missions  and aligning the signal force structure.

Other priorities revolve around the institutional side of the network:  increasing network throughput and ensuring sufficient computing infrastructure.

Ferrell said he plans to “increase the highway from 10 GB to about 100 GB” across all posts, camps and stations, which will “set the stage to stand up the cloud,” he said.

Delivery of data services to the edge, he said, involves looking at more than 11,000 applications, then assessing which apps to kill, which to migrate to the government cloud and which to move to the commercial side.

After the apps are moved to the cloud, the next goal will be to move the Army to voice-over IP. "We'll look at unified capability and move everything over to voice-over IP, he said. “That's video, chat, sharing of files and things of that nature."

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