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Commanders Need Fast, Secure Data on Battlefield

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U.S. Army
Friday, July 24, 2020

The Army is working to streamline the way it manages data to defend its network from relentless cyberattacks and give commanders fast, secure and reliable access to the information they need on the battlefield.

Network systems “were built and evolved under an ad hoc process, versus a very deliberate design process, 20 years ago,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander of Army Cyber Command. “Maybe that worked OK, but now we’re part of a Department of Defense network of 7 million end points without sufficient visibility and sufficient command and control of our networks.”

Part of the solution to being faster and more aggressive in defending the Army’s networks, he said, would require moving toward command-centric network operations with areas of operations under a single commander who has responsibility, authority, resourcing and accountability.

“Currently our data is stored in disparate infrastructure in silos, making it difficult to query across systems,” Fogarty said, explaining that in multidomain operations, the network “is another weapon in a commander's arsenal, and data will be the ammunition for the commander.” 

Data as ammunition, however, is only effective “if it is useful, if it is reliable, accessible and usable. Data must be delivered on demand quickly and automatically,” Fogarty said in recorded remarks during the recent Army Signal Conference, hosted virtually by AFCEA International, a group formerly known as the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. 

In partnership with industry, three pilot programs are underway at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Camp Roberts, California, and at Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas, to “help change how the Army runs its network,” Fogarty said.