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US Army faces hard choices under Unified Network plan

A US Army Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle outfitted with the legacy Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 Soldier Network Extension system. (US Army)

Senior US Army leaders are girding themselves for a series of potentially painful divestitures of legacy network communication platforms and systems to clear the way for implementation of the ground service's new Unified Network strategy.

The plan to clear out networked communication, command, control, computers, intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (C4ISR) equipment, rooted in older or outdated technologies, in line with the new network strategy β€œis all aimed at ensuring that we have a multidomain capable [force] by 2028”, said US Army Lieutenant General John Morrison, deputy chief of staff of the service's Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, and Information Technology (C5IT) directorate.

β€œIt is a much shorter [timeline] than you would originally see ... and when you take a look at the plan, it is pretty light because we want to get to a point where we iteratively modernise [networks] as technologies and capabilities change,” he said regarding the rapid modernisation pace outlined by the Unified Network strategy. β€œI am not quite sure what the network will look like in 2035 ... but we do know the network that we need to ensure, we have a multidomain capable force by 2028,” Lt Gen Morrison noted during an October briefing in Washington, DC.

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