In its efforts to modernize more efficiently the U.S. Army has unveiled its Common Operating Environment (COE) Implementation Plan, a common set of IT standards architecture it will use to network the force. In a time of constrained budgets, the Army hopes the plan will establish processes and practices that will aid the acquisition process.

The plan supports ongoing efforts to decrease redundancy and promote the use of Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) technology whenever possible.

“Transitioning to the COE in accordance with the Implementation Plan represents a significant cultural shift in the way the Army will acquire and develop systems. The Plan is designed to tell industry upfront and with certainty the parameters within which Army applications and foundational software must fit. The plan is to establish an Ecosystem for each of the CE’s so that developers have access to architectures, foundational products, SDK’s and certification environments required for developing applications,” Terry Edwards, director of ASA(ALT)s Office of the Chief Systems Engineer explained.

Agility is a key attribute of today’s acquisitions process and the implementation plan reflects that. Rather than seeing high-dollar solicitations for complex systems the IT of the future Army will be focused on immediate need, accessibility and commonality whenever possible. Expect more demand for software engineers and cloud architects with experience providing interoperability between systems. The implementation plan also points to government’s increasing comfort with open source technology and the cloud, but notes the need to balance with data security and warfighter functionality.

Read the full COE Implementation Plan.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.