LandWarNet speaker urges focus on technology

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ? U.S. Army Secretary Peter Geren urged Army information technology managers and industry executives to stay focused on technology efforts that deliver the right information to the right people in real time, noting "we cannot afford a modernization holiday."

Speaking at the LandWarNet conference, Geren stressed the importance of equipping soldiers with information about their situation without overwhelming them.

"We must make sure we don't replace the fog of war with the fog of information overload," he said.

He also noted that Army leadership was committing greater attention to LandWarNet and the use of technology with the creation of a new LandWarNet directorate at G3 "to help synchronize the efforts across the force," he said.

"LandWarNet is central to changing how the Army fights. It seeks to integrate every element of Army modernization," he said, "and seamlessly connect the leader to the soldier on the battlefield ? and connect the soldier to the information he or she needs wherever and whenever he or she needs it."

That future is taking place now, he said.

"We are spinning out the first of the [Future Combat Systems] technologies, unattended ground sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles," Geren said. "Instead of line-of-sight radio and up-and-down satellite signals, LandWarNet and FCS will give us a three-dimensional mesh of ground, aerial and satellite platforms and nodes, with the soldier on the ground at the center of the effort."

Balancing the need for security and proper classification and the urgent needs on the battlefield remain important issues and "will not be easy," he said. "We're working on it. We must get it right for the soldier."

One way industry can accelerate that effort, he told the audience, is to "help us build cheaper secure radios" with Global Positioning System access.

"Your challenge," he said, "is to remember that solider as you design, test and produce the information systems required on the battlefield; remember the conditions in which he or she works; and the implications of bad or late information or the implication of too much information."

Wyatt Kash writes for Government Computer News, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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