Army Signal Regiment transforms training, operational strategies

Micro-cyber focus to help meet future demands of Signal Regiment

After a two-year, top-to-bottom assessment of its operations, the Army’s Signal Regiment is transforming the way it trains soldiers, beginning with an increased focus on cyber operations to better prepare troops for future warfare, according to a July 1 Army report.

“The Signal Regiment is addressing all of the issues identified in the Signal Tactical Functional Area Assessment by moving to what we call 'micro-cyber,'” said Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, commander of the Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, Ga. “We will train our soldiers to be more flexible, to serve more people with smaller systems and to do all this with the same staffing levels and no funding increase.”

The micro-cyber focus targets gaps in Army signal operations, including poor organizational structures that prevent adequate coverage for downrange troops, inefficient training and leadership development, and inadequate ability to access and field rapidly evolving cyber technologies, the Army report states.

The command’s expanded mission responsibilities, recently outlined in a new Army operational concept, require increased flexibility and support for more types of operations, including constant defense of the Army’s network enterprise.

“Today the regiment is organized to support combined arms maneuver, provide support to battalion level, support the [Army service component command] as the warfighting headquarters and provide theater-centric network services,” said Col. Robert Barker, director of the Army Signal Center’s Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate.

“The new [operational concept] requires the regiment to support combined arms maneuver and wide-area security operations, extend support to company level and below, support corps and divisions as the warfighting headquarters, and operate and defend a 24/7 Army single network enterprise,” Barker said.

To meet the growing responsibilities, the Army Signal Center of Excellence has developed a new plan of action to address the operational gaps and fulfill three key capabilities of the Army network modernization strategy: provide communication capability beyond line of sight, provide mission command on the move and integrate soldiers into the network, the report states.

The Army will seek to overcome the limitations of its Warfighter Information Network-Tactical and Joint Tactical Radio System communications capabilities by transforming its Expeditionary Signal Battalions into ESB-Enhanced, smaller, more modular organizations with increased capabilities that have more easily transported, scalable network support packages. The micro-cyber packages will be stocked with the latest commercial technologies.

The micro-cyber approach “will provide mission command [with] essential capabilities across all echelons,” Barker said. “The regiment will transition the signal military occupational specialties to develop the multidisciplined soldier required for micro-cyber.”

ESB-Enhanced will provide 70 network support packages — an increase of 40 from current levels — and a deployable network operations command and control headquarters. The additional capability increases the available signal assets from 34 percent to 98 percent in each phase of the supply-based Army Force Generation cycle, the report states.

The improved command and control capability will allow organizations to coordinate network planning, develop standard operating procedures and train across the Army life cycle.

Additionally, training strategies will be transformed from “pure assemblage training to an educational approach providing the knowledge to understand, and transition between, continuously changing commercial technologies,” the Army report states, adding that digital training applications will be developed to bolster the ability to learn new equipment and build on existing knowledge.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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