Modernizing LandWarNet: Empowering America’s Army
The United States Army is in a period of transition. As it shifts focus from extended operations in Afghanistan, the Army will enter into a new era with different global challenges and priorities. A variety of state and nonstate actors will employ hybrid techniques to challenge American presence, interests and effectiveness. As the nation’s force of decisive action the Army will be intrinsically involved in a variety of worldwide missions designed to confront destabilizing forces. The Army’s ability to quickly respond to any type of contingency is dependent upon its ability to generate, project, apply and sustain a trained, professional force.
Connecting all aspects of Army combat power are information and communications. The Department of Defense’s current Strategic Guidance—“Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense”—explicitly highlights this fact: “Modern armed forces cannot conduct high-tempo, effective operations without reliable information and communication networks and assured access to cyberspace and space.” Timely, accurate and detailed information allows decisionmakers to employ the appropriate response to the full range of global events, from humanitarian crisis to combat. Further, information and the corresponding communications architecture provide formations the most relevant and up-to-date operational picture— regardless of location or position in the deployment cycle—and accelerate response time. Operational agility is an imperative for the Army of today and of 2020.
LandWarNet—the Army’s enterprise-level network for delivering information to leaders and commanders conducting unified land operations—provides that agility. It is the Army’s top modernization priority. The network strategy builds on 10 years of expeditionary warfare experience and is currently addressing the force’s tactical and operational requirements through a new acquisition process and the semi-annual Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) exercise. The Army is also modernizing the garrison elements of the network as part of the end-to-end vision that focuses on operational effectiveness, ease of use and cybersecurity. As the overall size of the Army decreases, the levels of technological integration and network connectivity must increase to provide warfighters the information superiority required by modern war.