The four pillars of focus for the Army’s new technology office

In the last two months the army split its technology management organization into two, creating a new office of the chief information officer and an office for the G6. Lt. Gen. John Morrison Jr., the deputy chief of staff, G-6, said Tuesday as part of this new organization reaching initial operating capability, its roles and goals are coming into focus. “The CIO is the principle advisor to the Secretary of the Army. They really focused on policy, governance and oversight. It’s all things IT related,” Morrison said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “On the G6, it’s a little bit of a different focus. It’s really about strategy, network architectures and implementation of command control, communications, cyber operations and networks. The CIO establishes the policies. We are responsible for planning and actual implementation of those policies, and then supporting Army organizations worldwide as they actually go out and implement those policies.”

Morrison said he expects the G6 to reach full operating capability in fiscal 2021. “You’ve seen some things that are different. The mere fact that cyber operations are included in the G6 is not traditional. But it gets back to the notion of if you believe in combined arms maneuver in cyberspace to include electromagnetic spectrum, why would we separate that role and function?” he said. “There is work for us to do there. But I’d also submit to you that’s one of the lessons learned from the other services because that’s generally how they organized.”

Morrison said the G6 will focus its efforts across four pillars of effort. The four pillars are as follows:

Setting the unified network

The network also will be the Army’s contribution to the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) to ensure networks are interoperable and can share data. Morrison said it’s integrating the work of the cross-functional team with the tactical network and also focused on the notion of vertical integration. “If you buy into many of the things that we are working on from our modernization priorities or our operational framework—long range precision fire, deep persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and multi-domain operations where cyber effects at the tactical level could be deployed just about anywhere on the globe—you need a unified network,” he said. “We have to stop talking about an enterprise network that is focused on modernizing our base, post, camp and installations and a tactical network that is very base, post and camp centric. We need to bring those two together so that we support where the Army is going from both a modernization and an operational warfighting construct.” Morrison also said the unified network must take into account new and emerging technologies like 5G and secure wireless.

Posturing our signal and cyber forces to operate for multi-domain operations

He said the effort must support the unified network and building additional cyber capacity to operate at the tactical echelons. “That means taking a look at the training. That means taking a look at the talent management. That means taking a look at the organizational framework that we are putting in place and as we learn, adjusting them over time,” he said. “That means making sure we have signal and cyber underpinned by intelligence, operating in a combined arms fashion in cyber space to include electromagnetic spectrum.”

Reforming and operationalizing cybersecurity processes

Morrison said he wants to review the risk management framework and see how the Army can move from a model that is less focused on bureaucracy and periodic reviews to one that is more focused on operational evaluations to ensure cybersecurity is a part of a system before it gets on the network.

Focus on implementation and execution across the network and cyber

The biggest challenge the G6 faces is hiring and training employees to have the right skillsets. He said the goal is to develop capabilities the Army needs with the right linkages back to the joint environment. “How do we harmonize joint investments in the joint tactical grid which supports the unified network, and how do we make sure we are leveraging all the investments so that we are effective as a joint force, as an Army, and fiscally efficient?” he said. Morrison said he has asked his staff to look at using all current hiring authorities to address these and other needs. G6 is in need of employees who understand the cloud services, data analytics and cybersecurity.

Author: Chandni Mandaviya