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|You can just have your browser on a thin client, tap into that cloud, get your files, get your e-mail, get your content, whatever you need in order to work. So we are clearly looking at leveraging the same type of concept and capabilities that they’re trying to put in the commercial world into what we have in the military in the future.Lt. Gen.
Jeffrey A. Sorenson, Web 2.0, Military Style
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson is the chief information officer/G-6, U.S. Army.
The Army also is considering how to replicate the Google Mail concept so soldiers can check e-mail from wherever they are located. In addition, the service is digging into Microsoft’s plans to develop clouds of content. With this knowledge, the service could design equipment that would allow soldiers to use smaller devices to access information in lieu of carrying massive computers.
From Interview with Army Director CIO/G-6 Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson
We are trying to improve our enterprise architecture such that we are protecting what we call the ‘coins of the realm,’ those specific aspects of the network that you do not want to have compromised. Part of our strategy now is setting up area processing centers to reduce the number of points of presence on the network, so that we have a consolidated number of centers where different organizations across the Army can draw services, but leave network management to a number of centers that are highly standardized in terms of their tool sets, as well as function, so they can better manage the security of the network. That’s part of the enterprise architecture.
The second thing is that we are trying to consolidate some of our active directory capabilities. As we have proliferated the number of active directories throughout the Army, we have so many that they can’t see each other. We have difficulties making sure they are all secure. A lot of consolidation is taking place, both in the area of processing centers and our consolidation of active directory capabilities, to get to an improved security posture across the board.
Another good interview with General Sorenson from FedTech.
Fedtech: What’s the biggest hurdle that you face in the Army right now in terms of deploying IT?
Sorenson: I would say at this point, it’s clearly been trying to consolidate a lot of different networks that we have built up over time into a single network under the command and control of the Network Enterprise Technology Command, otherwise known as NETCOM 9th/Signal Command (Army), down at Fort Huachuca [in Arizona]. We have had difficulty trying to get to that interoperable network because we have built all these individual ones that don’t necessarily work together.
Each one of us — OSD, the Army, the Air Force and the Navy — have individual agreements with Microsoft. There is an effort right now to consolidate that. We are moving quite frankly into a joint arena right now with Microsoft. The Army is the lead for this because we are the largest customer.
* Note: General Sorenson says the Army is Microsoft’s biggest customer, period.