TAMPA: “Transforming Cyber While at War” set the theme as LandWarNet 2011 launched Aug. 23, with the Army’s chief information officer telling the audience that the Army must change how it acquires information technology.
The Army must not only close the technology gap, but eliminate it, said Lt. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence to the crowd at the Tampa Convention Center. She said the bottom line was to keep a committed partnership with academia and industry to find the right solutions and venues, then bring that technology to the force simultaneously with the civilian sector.
More than 450 vendors have exhibits at the Tampa Convention Center for the three-day annual conference. Lawrence said every booth would be visited by a senior member of her staff, so she encouraged them to show their technology and give their feedback.
Lawrence also told the audience the Army’s network “must be a single, secure standard-based network.”
She said the network was about taking a Soldier with a single identity — a common access card — and being able to communicate on any government computer around the world and getting to their data.
“Whether he’s sitting at home, TDY (on temporary duty) or forward deployed to any theater of operations, it’s all about how he will be identified, it’s all about the data, so how do we clean this up; where do we store this information; how do we tag it and how do we get access to it,” she said, challenging the audience.
She then introduced Maj. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, commander of the Army Signal Center of Excellence, who said big changes were coming in equipment, training, education and the way signal forces were employed.
While Lynn didn’t elaborate, he did say that avatars were coming to the Army and when future Soldiers join the Army, avatars will be made of the individuals which will have their characteristics and emulate their real performance.
Following Lynn, Kent Schneider, president and chief executive officer of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association which sponsors the conference, said that to save the Army travel funding, the format for 2012 will be changed to three regional programs. It will be called TechNetReenforces and brings the Marine Corps and joint pieces as well.
The first will be TechNetReenforces Southwest in March 2012 in Tucson, Ariz., and will focus on the operational view and networking. TechNetReenforces South will be back in Tampa in July 2012 with a focus on the interface between joint and coalition forces. Rounding out 2012 will be TechNetReenforces East in Baltimore in August. The focus will be on cyber.
Lawrence then introduced Sgt. Joel Tavera and singer-songwriter Theresa Sareo who was performing at her fourth LandWarNet conference and speaks regularly for the Army and wounded warriors. She lost her right leg when a drunk driver ran into her in 2002.
Sareo dedicated her song “Through a Soldier’s Eyes” to Tavera whose Humvee was hit by five rockets in Iraq in 2008. Three Soldiers were killed. Tavera lost his vision completely, his right leg, several fingers and suffered 60 percent third-degree burns over his body as well as severe head trauma. The audience gave Tavera and Sareo a standing ovation.
Vincent Viola, founder of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, N.Y., was then introduced by Lawrence. Viola, a graduate of West Point and Ranger School, served with the 101st Airborne Division, then later served as a major in the Army Reserve.
When he left the Army he became a trader on the stock exchange and an eventual entrepreneur, launching a number of successful businesses, including Pioneer Futures, one of the top 50 futures commission merchants in the U.S.
“I’m not a businessman and I’m not a technologist, but what I really am in my heart and soul is a Soldier and that is the approach I’ve taken in my business career,” he said.
He noted that innovation, staying six or seven steps ahead in technology, was an absolute to the U.S. military. He also encouraged buying off-the-shelf products and equipment and hiring personnel who are driven by passion in their work rather than a paycheck.
Following track sessions covering computer hardware enterprise software and solutions, or CHESS, and forums on Army enterprise email, as well as sessions on information technology security, Lawrence hosted an awards luncheon where she served as the keynote speaker.
Army Knowledge Management Awards were presented to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4; Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical; Information Technology Agency, Consolidated Consumer Service Center; General Fund Enterprise Business System Project Office; Headquarters, Training and Doctrine Command, Chief Knowledge Office and Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.
Information Assurance Awards were presented to Lt. Col. Terry McGraw of the Army Cyber Operations and Integration Center and Dwayne Tanner of Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Enterprise Systems and Services.
Capt. Joseph Clar of the 650th Army Regional Support Group and Dwayne Smith of the Army Signal Network Enterprise Center received Information Assurance Professional of the Year awards.
Most Innovative Information Assurance Project and Implementation awards went to the Information Assurance Division of the Cyber Leader College and Chris Hwang from the 1st Signal Brigade, Korea.