‘Net-cen­tric­ity will usher in pro­found changes in op­er­a­tional con­cepts and or­gan­i­sa­tional changes’

Lt Gen­eral (Retd) V.K. Kapoor, Ed­i­tor, SP’s Land Forces, in­ter­viewed Lt Gen­eral Su­nit Ku­mar, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (DGIS), In­dian Army. The DGIS gave out de­tails about the trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives of the In­dian Army to adapt to net­work-cen

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SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): What is the sta­tus of the In­dian Army with re­gard to net­work­cen­tric war­fare (NCW) ca­pa­bil­ity? How soon would this ca­pa­bil­ity be ac­quired? What are the prob­lem ar­eas we are fac­ing in ac­quir­ing this ca­pa­bil­ity?

Di­rec­tor Gen­eral In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems (DGIS): NCW ca­pa­bil­ity is an en­abler to rev­o­lu­tion in mil­i­tary af­fairs (RMA) and en­com­passes a seam­less do­main of com­puter net­works, ap­pli­ca­tions, process re- en­gi­neer­ing and de­ci­sion sup­port tools aimed at at­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion and de­ci­sion dom­i­nance in the bat­tle­field. The In­dian Army has clearly iden­ti­fied the fo­cal ar­eas for evo­lu­tion of net-cen­tric­ity and has come a long way in this jour­ney dur­ing the last two decades. The projects ini­ti­ated to be achieved are cur­rently at var­i­ous stages of devel­op­ment and field­ing. Phase I (Test Beds) of var­i­ous op­er­a­tional in­for­ma­tion sys­tem projects have al­ready been suc­cess­fully fielded.

Man­age­ment in­for­ma­tion sys­tem (MIS) au­to­ma­tion projects, with pan-In­dia cov­er­age, are also on track and are likely to be com­pleted by De­cem­ber 2013. Im­por­tant MIS projects, i.e, hu­man re­source man­age­ment sys­tem (HRMS), au­to­ma­tion of Record Of­fices, mil­i­tary in­for­ma­tion sup­port op­er­a­tions (MISO) and in­te­grated quar­ter­mas­ter package (IQMP) would be com­pletely fielded and in­te­grated with MISO ap­pli­ca­tion by 2013-14. MIS projects for the au­to­ma­tion of work flow in the field

Army is also on the anvil. It is vi­su­alised that the In­dian Army is well on track to trans­form into a net­work-cen­tric force. The chal­lenges im­ped­ing the de­sired evo­lu­tion of au­to­mated scheme of In­dian Army have been iden­ti­fied and are un­der res­o­lu­tion.

SP’s: How is the In­dian Army vi­su­al­is­ing the trans­for­ma­tion to this type of war­fare? What is the type of frame­work (in­tra and in­ter-ser­vice) in­volved and what are the types of projects ini­ti­ated in this re­gard? How is part­ner­ship with the pri­vate in­dus­try func­tion­ing in the field? DGIS: Ad­vance­ments in the field of ICT dur­ing the past over a decade man­dates trans­for­ma­tion of In­dian Army into a net­work-cen­tric force. The over­all con­cept of a net-cen­tric In­dian Army en­vis­ages con­ver-

gence of ‘shared sit­u­a­tion aware­ness’ and ‘de­ci­sion sup­port tools’, aimed at short­en­ing our ob­serve, ori­ent, de­cide and act (OODA) loop. The Army is cur­rently in the process of en­hanc­ing net en­able­ment, and the frame­works needed to in­te­grate dis­parate projects have al­ready been ac­com­plished. In the In­dian Army, be­sides au­tomat­ing the op­er­a­tional as­pects, greater ef­fort is now di­rected to­wards the train­ing to en­hance ex­ploita­tion of the net-cen­tric­ity in our peace­time func­tion­ing as well. The pri­vate in­dus­try is ac­tively in­volved; di­rectly (in MIS project) and in­di­rectly through devel­op­ment agen­cies (OIS project) and greater as­so­ci­a­tion from in­dus­try is on the cards with the cat­e­gori­sa­tion of cer­tain im­por­tant au­to­ma­tion projects in ICT do­main, as ‘Make’ projects.

In or­der to re­alise the full po­ten­tial of net­cen­tric­ity, the en­tire force from sol­dier and weapons up­ward needs to be net­worked. We are mov­ing in that di­rec­tion through op­er­a­tional in­for­ma­tion sys­tems at dif­fer­ent lev­els.

SP’s: What is the cur­rent sta­tus of In­dian Army’s com­mand, in­for­ma­tion and de­ci­sion sup­port sys­tem (CIDSS) which in­volves the devel­op­ment of the ar­tillery com­mand and con­trol, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem (ACCCS); air de­fence con­trol and re­port­ing sys­tem; elec­tronic war­fare sys­tem; bat­tle­field sur­veil­lance sys­tem (BSS); bat­tle­field man­age­ment sys­tem (BMS); and fu­tur­is­tic in­fantry sol­dier as a sys­tem (F-IN­SAS)?

DGIS: As brought out in Ques­tion No 1, au­to­ma­tion of op­er­a­tional in­for­ma­tion sys­tem is cur­rently at var­i­ous stages of devel­op­ment and field­ing. Au­to­ma­tion of op­er­a­tional sys­tem is be­ing con­cur­rently pur­sued right from sol­dier level up­wards to strate­gic level. More­over, all th­ese sys­tems are be­ing evolved in an in­te­grated man­ner. As a re­sult, fully in­te­grated op­er­a­tional in­for­ma­tion sys­tem is ex­pected to be fielded as per the pri­or­i­ties w.e.f. 2015.

SP’s: What are the var­i­ous sub-sys­tems of the BMS?

DGIS: The pro­posed BMS is be­ing de­signed to au­to­mate op­er­a­tional func­tion­ing at the ex­e­cu­tion level in the tac­ti­cal do­main. The so­lu­tion would call for a fam­ily of sys­tems de­pend­ing upon the type, role and hi­er­ar­chy of the en­tity. The pro­posed BMS so­lu­tion would es­sen­tially con­sist of com­mu­ni­ca­tion sub-sys­tem, non-com­mu­ni­ca­tion hard­ware in terms of com­put­ing de­vices, dis­play units, nav­i­ga­tion sub-sys­tem, soft­ware com­po­nent, etc, to run the re­quired func­tion­al­i­ties and power man­age­ment sys­tem.

SP’s: The mil­i­tary in­stru­ment of NCW will have to be forged on suit­ably in­te­grated or­gan­i­sa­tion, in­duc­tion of new tech­nol­ogy, joint op­er­a­tional con­cepts and doc­trines, and joint train­ing. How far have we pro­gressed in this field?

DGIS: Net-cen­tric­ity will usher in pro­found changes in op­er­a­tional con­cepts and or­gan­i­sa­tional changes. The former would be a nat­u­ral process as we im­bibe net­cen­tric­ity; the lat­ter is al­ready un­der way. The hu­man re­sources to drive the NCW ap­pa­ra­tus is be­ing cre­ated by a train­ing mech­a­nism at cat ‘A’ and ‘B’ in­sti­tu­tion to build the IT ca­pa­bil­ity across the spec­trum of In­dian Army. Apart from this, ad­e­quate ex­po­sure in IT and NCW is be­ing im­parted at unit and for­ma­tion level by means of

Net-cen­tric­ity will usher in pro­found changes in op­er­a­tional con­cepts and or­gan­i­sa­tional changes. The former would be a nat­u­ral process as we im­bibe net-cen­tric­ity; the lat­ter is al­ready un­der way.

var­i­ous train­ing cap­sules, cadres and in­te­grated fir­ing, em­ploy­ing in­te­grated Tac C3I sys­tems at a for­ma­tion level rather than at in­di­vid­ual unit level.

SP’s: Have we been able to digi­tise the bor­der area maps in­clud­ing the ter­ri­tory be­yond the bor­der in the case of our likely ad­ver­saries? What is the progress in this re­gard?

DGIS: Ac­cu­rate geospa­tial data forms the bedrock of op­er­a­tional au­to­mated sys­tem; the essence of tac­tics is the in­ter­play of ground and weapons. The re­quire­ment is be­ing met through a bank of geospa­tial data which is be­ing grad­u­ally built up through in­puts from var­i­ous re­lated agen­cies in the coun­try.

SP’s: How is In­dia’s ad­vanced soft­ware ca­pa­bil­i­ties be­ing ex­ploited by the Army?

DGIS: In­dia has im­mense In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IT) skilled hu­man re­sources (HR) which has pro­pelled it glob­ally as an IT su­per­power. Nec­es­sary hand­shake be­tween the in­dus­try and the ser­vices has been an on­go­ing process. Dur­ing the past five years, in­dus­try has been in­volved in the devel­op­ment of ma­jor MIS projects (with pan-Army foot­prints) and their re­sults would be vis­i­ble in the en­vi­ron­ment within next three to six months. As far as the cap­i­tal projects are con­cerned, some of the re­cent mega projects have been cat­e­gorised as ‘Make’, thereby cre­at­ing an av­enue for fur­ther en­hanced par­tic­i­pa­tion by the in­dus­try in the devel­op­ment of in­for­ma­tion sys­tems. We are san­guine that sim­i­lar en­gage­ments will help us to har­ness the po­ten­tial of In­dian in­dus­try to­wards our goals.

SP’s: Is the In­dian Army plan­ning to net­work all weapon plat­forms for ‘si­t­u­a­tional aware­ness’ or is this go­ing to be done se­lec­tively? Can you give us an idea of the costs in­volved?

DGIS: In or­der to re­alise the full po­ten­tial of net-cen­tric­ity, the en­tire force from sol­dier and weapons up­ward needs to be net­worked. We are mov­ing in that di­rec­tion through op­er­a­tional in­for­ma­tion sys­tems at dif­fer­ent lev­els. Net­work­ing legacy equip­ment is ex­pected to be a chal­leng­ing process. How­ever, we are tak­ing mea­sures to en­sure that all the equip­ment sched­uled for in­duc­tion/devel­op­ment in fu­ture, is also data-en­abled, so that their in­te­gra­tion does not pose any chal­lenge later.

SP’s: How is the peace­time au­to­mated man­age­ment of units be­ing en­sured through the Army Soft­ware Devel­op­ment Cen­tre (ASDC)? How far have we pro­gressed in this field?

DGIS: ASDC has worked out a com­pre­hen­sive MIS au­to­ma­tion frame­work for the In­dian Army, based on a con­tem­po­rary model. This per­va­sive frame­work pen­e­trates all ech­e­lons of the Army from units, up­wards to Di­rec­torates at Army Head­quar­ters. This frame­work is the bedrock of unit peace­time MIS func­tion­ing; all other ac­tiv­i­ties are ori­ented to­wards achiev­ing this goal. ASDC is in­ti­mately in­volved in all stages of soft­ware devel­op­ment life cy­cle and en­sures that holis­tic and com­pre- hen­sive pack­ages are devel­oped and fielded in the In­dian Army. Based on the user feed­back, it fixes bugs and de­vel­ops up­grades which are dis­sem­i­nated to the users. The present ef­forts at ASDC are to de­velop a fully-in­te­grated MIS for the Army, use­able across all the units and through all hi­er­ar­chies.

PHO­TO­GRAPHS: Anoop Ka­math / SP Guide Pubns

PHO­TO­GRAPH: SP Guide Pubns

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