Army IT strategy for intell includes key role for cloud computing

All echelons will have access to cloud tools and apps

The Army's efforts to enlist cloud computing to modernize its intelligence capabilities is in step with similar efforts across the military services. 

A key part of the Army approach will be to empower commanders, program managers and soldiers to develop tools and applications on their own, within a set of servicewide standards, Mary Lynn Schnurr, director of Intelligence Community Information Management for the Army Intelligence Chief Information Officer, said today at Army IT Day in Vienna, Va.

After a brief video outlining the near-future capabilities the Army hopes to field, Schnurr described in detail what these systems will be, such as cloud-based data and information management architecture, orbital and airborne intelligence and communications assets, and advanced biometric technology.

Biometrics are vital to identifying enemy leaders and as a security feature for future systems. She described one prototype technology that will provide warfighters with smart sunglasses with built-in video cameras and projected displays on the wearer’s lenses. Soldiers will be able to capture images of enemy combatants and record their voices for analysis and identification matching.

Another key feature that Army intelligence is laying out is the Land Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance network, which will be a part of the larger LandWarNet enterprise.

The Army is also working to consolidate hundreds of data centers involved with military intelligence. Schnurr said that the goal is to reduce the number to just three facilities in Wiesbaden, Germany; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Hawaii for intelligence analysis and storage.

These centers will coordinate with other intelligence community cryptographic and geospatial data facilities and their respective clouds. Schnurr said that there is no reason for Army intelligence to store data that can be accessed from other government sources.

Other areas that the Army is exploring in its intelligence cloud efforts are reusing software for additional operational and cost-saving flexibility. Schnurr said that the service must move past 18-to-36-month software-development cycles, noting that in the private-sector applications are made within days or weeks.

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