Army takes on acquisition, cyberspace and culture

Army Force Cyber Command to open doors Oct. 1

The Army will officially launch its cyber command with full operational capacity on Oct. 1, according to Col. Mark Quantock, who is nominated to be director of operations of the new Army Forces Cyber Command. The organization's headquarters will be at Ft. Belvoir, Va.

"The stand up of [the command] marks the beginning of the Army's full-spectrum cyberspace operations," Quantock said at an event held by the Washington chapter of AFCEA. The command joins similar cyber sub-organizations of the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, which all operate under the U.S. Cyber Command, which launched in April.

Quantock said his top priorities include combining planning and technologies to achieve strategic planning for full-spectrum operations and syncing missions with U.S. Cyber Command.


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"We need to bring the full command together and work with other Army service component commands and provide direction for the Global Network Enterprise Construct," the Army's strategy for collapsing its numerous, separate networks into five standardized network service centers, Quantock said.

The Army command's opening comes as the service takes on major programs to upgrade its IT infrastructure and capabilities while simultaneously undertaking budget cutting directives from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army's CIO, said the service is conducting capability reviews across all Army domains and pushing forward with enterprise efforts to meet the budgetary mandates recently handed down by the Defense Department.

"We're going to reduce duplication and ensure what we're buying is what the warfighter really needs," Sorenson said, adding that his organization is using the Army Force Generation management process to evaluate technologies, acquisition and deployment.

The Army is in the process of shifting from an acquisition strategy built for large-scale systems to smaller-scale, IT- and service-based acquisition.

"Big programs of record are being hampered by policy and they're unable to get stuff out to the field," said Maj. Gen. Mark Bowman, director of architecture, operations, network and space at the Army Office of the CIO/G-6. "We can't buy IT like we buy tanks."

"We're after cellular technologies, chemical and biological sensors," said Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, commanding general of the Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command. "People talk about communications, communications, communications, and not electronics and computational power. We're after high-powered computation."

To do so, Bowman said the Army must overcome a culture that can be resistant to change.

"There is a culture of, 'This is the way we do IT,' and that's the wrong approach," Bowman said. "We need to be able to accept a 70 or 80 percent solution and keep revising."

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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