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CHIPS Articles: Lt. Gen. Steven W. Boutelle, Army Chief Information Officer/G-6

Lt. Gen. Steven W. Boutelle, Army Chief Information Officer/G-6
Technology is supporting ground forces today and helping the Army transform for tomorrow...
By CHIPS Magazine - October-December 2003
CHIPS: How has the Global War on Terrorism changed the Army's communication priorities or needs?

Lt. Gen. Boutelle: The Global War on Terrorism has reinforced our commitment to a force focused on operating along the full spectrum of conflict. This ranges from humanitarian operations to armed conflict with the capability to always ensure homeland defense and security. Our global and pervasive information systems, the Army Knowledge Enterprise (AKE), will provide leaders with the information they need to make key time-sensitive decisions. Our Army's battlefield success is contingent on the right information reaching the right Soldier at the right time.

We understand that to fight and win our nation's wars, the 21stcentury U.S. Army must rapidly transform to a net-centric, knowledge-based force focused on strategic and tactical responsiveness, and enhanced lethality and survivability. We are continually applying operational lessons learned to make and keep the Signal Corps relevant, modular, scalable, deployable and agile, now and into the Future Army Force.

CHIPS: How is the Army adjusting its traditional approach to battlefield communications support?

Lt. Gen. Boutelle: We've recognized that we have some essential imperatives for how we must do business. First, we must manage our network operations and security centers (Active Component, National Guard, and Reserve) as a single Army enterprise. This allows us to exploit synergies and efficiencies from the sustaining base to our deployed tactical networks. As an enterprise, we must apply our Information Assurance (IA) programs across our strategic, operational and tactical systems. We are leveraging the commercial marketplace as we replace aging systems, such as Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE), with the suites of equipment like those in the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) system.

Second, we must consolidate current and future capabilities into an Army Knowledge Enterprise as the Army's portion of the Global Information Grid (GIG). The AKE concept focuses on integration and interoperability of processing, storing, and transporting information over a seamless network, allowing pervasive access to universal and secure Army information (including business information systems) across tactical, operational and strategic levels. The AKE will provide an "on-the-move" battle command capability by exploiting commercial and military satellite-based networks, providing an uninterrupted flow of information to conventional and unconventional warfighters.

Third, our newly created Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) is evolving as the Army's global information provider and manager for the entire Army Knowledge Enterprise — Active, Guard and Reserve. NETCOM is designated as the single authority to operate, manage and protect the Army's Knowledge Enterprise Infostructure. NETCOM ensures consistent operational policy and investments are strategically aligned to the Army's global networking requirements. NETCOM manages and defends the Army's portion of the GIG, supports the Future Force, and reduces our total cost of ownership as we build and deploy the Army Knowledge Enterprise.

Fourth, the growing cyber threat to the GIG has brought the Army G-2 and G-6 into a synergistic relationship to manage and defend our networks. NETCOM's Army Network Operations and Security Center (ANOSC) has collocated with the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) — this enhances its dynamic role in information management. And it facilitates and synchronizes the Computer Network Operations and Computer Network Defense missions with those of the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Operations (JTFCNO), the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the 1st Information Operations Command and its Army Computer Emergency Response Team (ACERT).

All six Army theaters now have a Network Common Relevant Operational Picture (NETCROP). This provides the ANOSC visibility of the health and operational status of each theater's network. Additionally, it allows NETCOM to provide a near real-time situational awareness reporting capability to Army leadership. To ensure the highest state of network readiness, the ANOSC initiates network operations and computer network defense drills Armywide. Standardizing and honing cyber-warfare techniques, tactics and procedures into an enterprise-managed information delivery system will continue to increase the availability and robustness of our networks.

CHIPS: How have you applied recent operational lessons learned to current force operations?

Lt. Gen. Boutelle: We continue to rapidly assimilate our experiences from Joint and asymmetrical operations in East Timor, the Balkans, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and the campaign in Iraq. The most obvious lesson is that today's Army does not deploy alone to conflicts or humanitarian operations, but as part of a Joint team. During Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), as in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, our Army signal Soldiers provided communications for the Army — and also for the Air Force, Marines and our coalition partners. The extensive data network that linked command-and-control headquarters at all levels ensured a more rapid sharing of information through a common operating picture that consistently allowed forces to operate inside the enemy's decision cycle.

Current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated that a net-centric, knowledge-based Army is at the very foundation of the Future Force and a significant and profound combat enabler. Interoperability is now not only expected, but it is demanded, in support of Joint and combined operations. In addition, two key points reinforced in those successes were that conventional signal forces will follow contingency or special operations signal forces and that either of those signal forces must be capable of supporting enterprise network connectivity with voice and data, NIPR, SIPR and JWICS [Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System]. Bandwidth requirements expanded dramatically and we have taken steps to get more commercial satellite bandwidth and terminals into units. And more is still needed. We continue to work to meet bandwidth requirements.

A variety of signal units in OEF conducted their assigned missions almost unnoticed in the shadows of successful coalition combat operations. This remained the case as their support grew for nearly 7,000 Joint and coalition customers at Bagram Airfield and 5,000 at Karshi-Karnabad (K2), Uzbekistan. In OIF operations, more than 9,000 signal Soldiers have been deployed to support Central Command operations, establishing key communications links along the way to provide command-and-control connectivity both inside and outside the area of operations.

CHIPS: What role did Blue Force Tracking (BFT) play in these operations?

Lt. Gen. Boutelle: The success of Blue Force Tracking is probably the most heralded example of how the Army is transforming itself into a fully net-centric force and it played a significant role. Our Blue Force Tracking capability in support of OEF and OIF was one of the most effective and successful efforts in demonstrating a transformed Army into a net-centric, knowledge-based force. BFT evolved from the Army's FBCB2 program. This program was developed in Task Force XXI and refined in operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. BFT is an FBCB2, satellite-based capability mounted on various platforms, such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, Apaches, Blackhawks, etc.

These BFT-enabled platforms transmitted and received battlefield locations, battlefield graphics and overlays, and orders to and from a central information server system for aggregation and retransmission. This provided a near real-time situational awareness common operating picture of friendly forces on the battlefield to Army, Joint and Allied forces. Thus, BFT allowed our combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to have a fully integrated COP beyond-line-of-sight. The satellite capability enhancement allowed forces to operate through sandstorms, night and extremely long distances. Forces could zoom in and out, seeing troop locations for 10 miles, 20 miles or the entire country of Iraq. Battle command doctrine is being shaped by the ability to have "live" situational awareness while communicating and collaborating on-the-move via a space-based network. The success inspired the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) to designate the Army as the Lead Service to refine Joint Blue Force Situational Awareness (JBFSA) capabilities for the Services.

With the Army Headquarters reorganization, and the creation of NETCOM, the Army CIO/G-6's mission to transform Army information management is well underway. Resourcing the information management transformation remains a significant challenge, and educating the Army to embrace cultural change is the key to success. The Army Knowledge Management (AKM) strategic goals are in concert with DoD's Network-Centric Operational Warfare (NCOW) reference model announced in FY03. While we continue to support current operations — OEF and OIF, we are also swiftly forging ahead to institute best business practices and to manage our infostructure at the enterprise level. NETCOM plays an essential role as a global communications provider and manager for the entire Army Knowledge Enterprise — Active, Guard and Reserve. All this adds up to creating a net-centric, knowledge-based force enabling information superiority and battle command to increase the combat power necessary to quickly win our nation's wars.

CHIPS: How important to Soldiers in the field is it to collaboratively communicate with Joint warfighters?

Lt. Gen. Boutelle: Collaboration means sharing common knowledge in real-time and these days, that's essential on the battlefield. This is extremely important. Today we can share pictures, graphics, overhead imagery, and plans among decision makers, even when those people are separated by hundreds of yards or globally by thousands of miles. Folks in Qatar can have a real-time vision of people in Afghanistan on a moment-to-moment basis. They put that brainpower to work linked between warfighters in Afghanistan or Iraq and staffs in Qatar and even in Florida, at U.S. Central Command Headquarters at McDill Air Force Base. They are working to find solutions to issues anywhere in the world.

CHIPS: Based on what you've described, is the Army taking a hard look at how Army Signal should be task organized and manned?

Lt. Gen. Boutelle: Yes. In order for us to provide the required communications for all recent operations, we learned we must make significant adjustments to our task organization and modernization efforts. The Army has begun a permanent Signal Transformation to address these issues with the Integrated Theater Signal Battalion (ITSB), the largest and most significant organizational change to the Signal Corps in 20 years. The ITSB is a complete, top-to-bottom rewrite of signal doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures based on lessons learned in OEF, OIF, and other recent deployments, such as in East Timor.

Why are we doing this? After all our tactical signal organization and structure with MSE and TRITAC equipment served us well in the Cold War and Desert Storm. However, our recent operations demonstrate that we do not have the organization, structure or equipment to support today's warfighter requirements. Significant task reorganization is required and some units (battalions and companies) are not relevant today due to the lack of COTS equipment. And although WIN-T is our future system, in the interim, the next five to seven years, we must adjust to stay relevant.

We are doing this by incorporating transmission, switching and systems-control assets into a single signal unit. "Traditional" echeloned signal support rules did not apply in either OEF or OIF. Thus, we are going to modernize all echelons of communication units to support Joint operations with not only voice, but also SIPR and NIPR, VTC and special circuit capabilities.

These designs will integrate beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) systems, wide-band data and computer-network-management capabilities into its design. This alleviates the need for massive task organization. Additionally, these designs provide unity of command in an organization of Soldiers who live together, train together in garrison and deploy as a unit or in modular teams. As the blueprint for the tactical signal unit of the future, ITSB is an essential component in AKM strategy. AKM is our comprehensive strategy to transform the Army into a net-centric, knowledge-based force. This plan is linked and synchronized with the Army Transformation Campaign Plan to incorporate technology and leverage streamlined knowledge processes into the Army at a cultural level.

CHIPS: This looks like Army Signal has got its hands full.

Lt. Gen. Boutelle: We are going to be very, very busy. We've got a huge task to provide the right information, to the right person, at the right time, but I am confident that we are on the right track. We must (1) Reshape our signal Forces; (2) Restructure our signal equipment; (3) Consolidate our networks into a single enterprise; and (4) provide bridging communication capabilities until we see WIN-T and Future Combat Systems (FCS) networks are fully fielded.

It will take quality, innovative leadership, and continual engagement and good communications within our Regiment. I am confident that our Soldiers, civilians and contractors, as they have proven in every operation, are up to the task and will continue to be so.

Lt. Gen. Steven W. Boutelle assumed the position of the Department of the Army Staff Chief Information Officer / G-6 on July 3, 2003. Previous assignments include Director for Information Operations, Networks and Space, Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6, Headquarters Department of the Army from 2001 to 2003; Program Executive Officer for Command, Control and Communications Systems (PEO C3S) from 1997 to 2001; Project Manager for Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (FATDS) from 1992 to 1996, and Chief of Staff for PEO C3S before his assignment as the PEO. From 1996 to 1997, General Boutelle was the PEO C3S "Trail Boss" responsible for software and systems integration for the Army's Task Force XXI.

After receiving an induction notice in 1969, he enlisted in the Army as a Nuclear Weapons Electronics Specialist. In February 1970, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Signal Corps at the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He attended the Radio Officers Course at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey before his first tour of duty as a platoon leader for the 1st Battalion, 4th Mechanized Infantry Division, and later in the 2nd Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

Lt. Gen. Boutelle graduated with honors from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington, with a bachelor of arts degree in Business and Finance and with honors from Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia, with a master's degree in Business Administration. His military education includes Command and General Staff College, the Defense Systems Management College and Army War College.

Lt. Gen. Boutelle's awards include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters.

Lt. Gen. Steven W. Boutelle
Lt. Gen. Steven W. Boutelle

September 2003 - Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division attach a sling load of food and water onto a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. The supplies are being delivered to the division’s 1st Brigade in support of an upcoming mission. U.S. Army Photo by Pvt. Daniel D. Meacham.
September 2003 - Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division attach a sling load of food and water onto a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. The supplies are being delivered to the division’s 1st Brigade in support of an upcoming mission. U.S. Army Photo by Pvt. Daniel D. Meacham.

September 2003 - Soldiers mark a spot where unexploded ordnance was found in a field in Mosul, Iraq. The air assault troopers are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. U.S. Army Photo by Pvt. Daniel D. Meacham.
September 2003 - Soldiers mark a spot where unexploded ordnance was found in a field in Mosul, Iraq. The air assault troopers are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. U.S. Army Photo by Pvt. Daniel D. Meacham.
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