WASHINGTON – Robert S. Ferrell was promoted to lieutenant general on Jan. 24 by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. Ferrell, the Army’s new Chief Information Officer/G-6 and the first African-American to hold the position, is responsible for leading Army network modernization. “The CIO/G-6 is even more important today as the Army stands up a cyberforce and establishes the Cyber Center of Excellence at Ft. Gordon,” said Odierno in a ceremony at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
As the CIO, Ferrell directly advises the Secretary of the Army on strategic direction and objectives for and supervises Army command, control, communications, computers and information technology functions. As the G-6, Ferrell serves as the Army Chief of Staff’s top advisor regarding network, communications and Signal operations, and related security, force structure and equipping issues. Ferrell oversees a $10 billion annual budget.
“To ensure that the Army can provide an expeditionary and decisive land power,” said Ferrell, “we will continue to enhance Army cyber capabilities, modernize our combat training centers and installations, transition network services and applications to a cloud environment, and strengthen information assurance and cyber security.”
Ferrell’s career spans more than 35 years. He most recently served as commander, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Previous assignments include Army units in Korea and Europe, and deployments to Bosnia and Iraq. Ferrell has commanded at every level from company to brigade and has served in critical units, such as the 2nd Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, Special Operations Command and 5th Signal Command.
From Alabama and New Jersey, Ferrell enlisted in the Army and attained the rank of sergeant before leaving active duty to pursue his undergraduate degree at Hampton University in Virginia. After graduation in 1983, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps. He has earned master’s degrees from both Central Michigan University and the U.S. Army War College.