New Army Chief Information Officer to manage IT overhaul
- By Kris Osborn
- Aug 08, 2017
The Army’s new Chief Information Officer will oversee a broad, service-wide effort to move hundreds of software and data systems onto a single common standards architecture.
Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford, sworn in Aug. 1 as the new CIO, arrives at a time of massive IT transition for the Army as it seeks to decrease its global hardware footprint and increase both interoperability and security between networks.
As the Army’s CIO (G-6), Crawford will advise the Chief of Staff of the Army on the network, communications, signal operations, information security, force structure, and equipping.
His role includes managing the Army’s $10 billion IT investments and enterprise IT architecture at a time when the service is rapidly moving toward greater integration of common IP protocol across service networks.
Crawford will supervise and shepherd along a service-wide move toward what the Army calls Common Operating Environment standardization. This initiative, which spans more than 400 different units, is designed to allow rapid integration of new IT products while maximizing interoperability between and within data systems.
“The Army has put out multiple iterations of mission command software with improvements to make it better. The lack of standardization of hardware and software has created operational interoperability challenges,” said an Army official
Army developers explained that when soldiers transition from one unit to another, they often find themselves using different software to perform mission command duties.
“You still have to send cybersecurity patches and software upgrades, as needed, but this is difficult to do when you have multiple software iterations out in the field,” an Army developer added.
For instance, Common Operating Environment, which is slated to be completed by 2019, will enable various battle command functions and applications, such as Command Post of the Future, to quickly share mapping data and intelligence information across Army networks.
In his previous assignment, Crawford served as the Commander, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground Senior Mission Commander. Prior to that, he served as the J6, Director of C4/Cyber and Chief Information Officer, U.S. European Command; the Commanding General, 5th Theater Signal Command; and the G-6, United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Kris Osborn is a former editor of Defense Systems.