The U.S. Army this week announced the creation of a series of policy reforms and technological changes to improve and modernize the military branch's digital strategy, according to Defense One.
Army Chief Information Officer Dr. Raj Iyer announced the Army Digital Transformation Strategy, or ADTS, on Wednesday at the annual Association of the U.S. Army gathering in Washington, D.C. The strategy comes as part of a larger shift in both culture and mindset within the Army that will make the branch more technology-focused and operational in multiple domains by the year 2028.
"We're moving from the industrial age to the digital age — the chiefs call it the 'information age.' And what this means is, now, us pivoting towards data for decision-making, right? They'll always have platforms. They'll always have [information technology] systems and they'll always have the networks," said Iyer. "But what's new now, and what's different now, is our pivot to using data as our strategic asset for decision-making."
He added that the strategy is centered on three core objectives: balancing "modernization and readiness," by upgrading legacy systems and allowing for a more data-oriented and digitally-capable Army. The strategy's second objective is to "reform" the branch.
"Our policies haven't changed in 30 to 40 years," Iyer said. "I was surprised to go back and look at some of our cybersecurity policies, data policies, and network policies. You know, it is not reflective of what we need to do to achieve multi domain operations — and my job as the CIO in the secretariat is to fix those policies. I don't want to do this in a vacuum. I want to make sure that we do this the right way. So I'm seeking and looking for your feedback in terms of where policy is an impediment to you."
The final objective is known as "people and partnerships," and focused on improving employees' skills, with Iyer noting that they have already begun training some employees in software, but that these soldiers often end up returning to their previous functions within their units.
"We have not taken advantage of the new skills that they've learned, right?" Iyer said. "So the Army is changing our doctrinal concept for how we're going to be coding at the edge and [using artificial intelligence] at the edge. And all of those have to mature before we can establish the right capacity that we need, in terms of how many of these soldiers we need to generate."
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