Army acquisition official emphasizes move toward low signature in digital transformation

By Dan Schere / August 16, 2023 at 1:49 PM

Young Bang, the Army's principal deputy secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, said Tuesday that the service's digital transformation strategy must incorporate low signature, particularly when it comes to a potential conflict with China.

“We have a lot of capabilities, but a lot of these capabilities have now gotten exponentially bigger, require more power, have different signatures and we are literally a Christmas tree when we light up,” Bang told attendees of the AFCEA TechNet conference in Augusta, GA.

China, Bang said, is ahead of the game when it comes to having equipment that is “digitally native,” compared with the U.S. Army. He said the need for low-signature capabilities is among the lessons that should be taken from the conflict in Ukraine with Russia.

The Army’s digital transformation should be guided by the principles of traceability, observability, replaceability and automated consumption, he added.

“We’re trying to get to agile, and we’re trying to get to [continuous integration/continuous delivery] and we’re trying to break down the obstacles at the enterprise level to get there . . . to constantly iterate. To get more things out there faster, in smaller increments. But more importantly, get the users feedback as we’re doing it,” Bang said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. John Morrison said when it comes to drawing lessons from the Ukraine conflict, the Army is in the process of working through which operational capabilities are needed at each echelon to support maneuver.

“That is a very different way of thinking than how we’ve been in the last 20 years in a counterinsurgency fight," Morrison said. "Very brigade-centric, brigades tailored to be completely self-contained and really do wide-area security operations. Not necessarily largescale ground combat operations."

Morrison added the service is in the process of expanding soldiers’ ability to securely connect to the network around the world. Servicemembers will be able to plug into the unclassified network globally by the end of the calendar year, and by next summer the classified network will be available globally, he said.