AUSA News: Army Leader Signals Change in ‘Big Six’ Modernization Priorities
Stew Magnuson photo
WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the past six years the Army has adhered to a list of its top six modernization priorities, but a change of leadership may have upended that.
The recently sworn in Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George said at the Association of the United States Army’s annual Eisenhower luncheon Oct. 10 that the “Unified Network” has taken the top spot.
“Our number one priority when it comes to transformation is the network,” he said. “Command and control is foundational to how we fight, and a lot of the systems the Army has today do not support effective command and control.”
The so-called “Big Six” list the Army has followed for the past six years in order was long-range precision fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicle, the network, Future Vertical Lift, air and missile defense and soldier lethality.
The service has made significant progress in recent years on its six modernization portfolios, George noted. “We've made a lot of good decisions over the last several years. Now, we must look at what's next.”
National Defense at a press briefing Oct. 11 asked Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, commanding general of the Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, if the network had indeed knocked long-range fires off the top of the list.
He took out a red notebook. “I’m thumbing through my notebook and I’m looking through my notes that I took at the chief of staff’s speech about continuous transformation yesterday and he did say the number one focus area and priority was the network,” he said.
“I don't know what that does for me outside of cutting down on my sleep and increasing my anxiety,” he quipped.
“I will tell you that our Army senior leadership understands the significance of being able to move the right data to the right place at the right time. And they're investing their time and energy to ensure that we can do that effectively,” Stanton said.
“They're providing the right prioritization and providing the right guidance and providing the right degree of resourcing in ways that we haven't seen historically. And so it's an exciting time to be part of helping to design and architect what we currently have and where we're going to be,” he added.
The Army will be in a state of continuous transformation when it comes to unifying its network from the tactical edge, back to the larger “enterprise” network and to a cloud, he said.
That has already been achieved on a smaller scale in experiments at European Command, he added. That includes narrowly focused use cases that are determining where gateways need to be placed in order to support the data flows necessary for that kind of connectivity, he added.
“We are absolutely operating at the very tactical edge all the way into the enterprise cloud and back again at mission relevant speed,” he said.
Repeating that across the scale and breadth of the Army will require more time, he said, while declining to estimate when that might happen.
Additional reporting by Sean Carberry
Topics: Army News