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BCKS History

BCKS continues to develop as the Army's enterprise-level KM organization. BCKS is an Army organization responsible for developing and implementing KM products and services across the Army.  BCKS grew in its abilities and capabilities to better assist both Operating and Generating Forces and to better manage the tacit and explicit knowledge within the Army. 

BCKS serves as the AOKM lead agent for CAC, who is designated Functional Proponent for AOKM.  BCKS has developed the Army's first KM doctrine manual, launched KM training, and built numerous knowledge networks and professional forums.  These capabilities greatly improve the flow of Army knowledge from those Soldiers who have the knowledge to those Soldiers who need it.

Knowledge management continues to be an area of rapid growth and ever increasing potential.  As within academic and business communities, Army leadership at all levels is beginning to realize the importance of knowledge management and is making strides in the implementation of KM processes throughout the army. The military and civilian members of BCKS work within this environment to maximize the benefits and overcome the challenges of harnessing the knowledge resident within the Army and across the JIIM environment.

Today BCKS is combining People, Processes and Technology to help Soldiers share what they know, solve problems and grow professionally.

BCKS History Timeline

View of BCKS History timeline from 1990's to 2008
PDF format


1990's – grassroots efforts with collaboration and sharing of experiences began with the NCO community. With a personal computer, modem, and the "Old Soldiers BBS" (Bulletin Boards Systems), NCOs could log in daily to read and respond to posted files and threaded discussions. By 1997 the BBS went away and the first NCO Web site was built on Geocities. The focus began to expand about how the Internet could help Soldiers in their day-to-day productivity where NCOs began to interactively participate in discussions. These highly motivated and interested NCOs became the Peer Mentors who helped other NCOs. NCO Net continued to grow as it filled the gap of knowledge among the enlisted ranks. In October 2005, the NCO site migrated from the US Army Sergeants Major Academy into BCKS. Today, NCO Net is a composite of all its very successful predecessors. For more detailed NCO Net History see

Also in the mid 90’s, work done at CALL on the foundational knowledge strategy focused on codifying lessons learned and filing those documents in a large repository. This first generation of knowledge management was technology centric and focused on document storage.


Spring, 2000 – a team of young officers in company command developed and launched a social network called as a means of connecting past, present and future company commanders in an ongoing conversation about leading Soldiers and building and building combat-ready units. 


early 2001 – the Army Science Board recommended KM and the Warrior Knowledge Network as part of the CAC University After Next project for the Army. This predecessor to BCKS demonstrated the potential for leveraging the Internet and formally managing knowledge on a grand scale. CALL laid the original seeds for an integrated knowledge network as part of a future semantic web.


2002 – the wildfire of grassroots collaboration grew at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, An instructor and 15 passionate Majors attending the college launched S3-XO Net, the first of many field grade forums to follow. Together, these early communities of practice (CoP) fueled a movement. To view or join this CoP log in with your AKO account.


2003 – Lt. Gen. Cody (then Army G3) agreed with the training and leader development concepts, but wanted it expanded to include Battle Command – decision making and leadership. The Army Knowledge On-Line (AKO) Capability Document was published with BCKS as Appendix C. This capabilities document captured the potential of BCKS:

  • "BCKS is not categorized as an acquisition program, but rather serves as the enabler for the Army’s transformation strategy."
  • "BCKS is a critical enabler that will ultimately link enterprise level knowledge resources with battle field functions."
  • "BCKS is the implementation of various processes, techniques and procedures to generate manage and use knowledge."


2004 – Army Knowledge Management (AKM) Guidance Memorandum Number 5 directed the Army to distribute knowledge via a dynamic, global-knowledge network called BCKS and established CG CAC as the Specified Proponent for BCKS. In the summer of 2004, BCKS was funded with operational Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funds and was charged with preparing the Army for the next patrol rather than the next war. The founding members of the government team with close coordination the Company Command team and a long list of volunteers and contractors created the first Army-sponsored social networks (Leader Net) and supported the development of pilot unit networks (CAVNET).

The mission of BCKS, as approved by the CG, CAC:

Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS) supports the online generation, application, management and exploitation of Army knowledge to foster collaboration among Soldiers and Units in order to share expertise and experience; facilitate leader development and intuitive decision making; and support the development of organizations and teams.

BCKS operates within the seven major objectives:

  • Enhance Battle Command: The BCKS team supports virtual collaboration to facilitate the timely exchange of Army, Joint, Interagency, and Multinational knowledge to enhance situational understanding, learning and decision making at all echelons.  The BCKS team assists in units’ preparation for deployment by enabling SIPRNET virtual Right Seat Rides.
  • Enhance Professional Education: The BCKS team oversees the integration of knowledge management practices and expertise to support the establishment of collaborative capabilities across the Operational and Institutional Army.
  • Facilitate Exchange of Knowledge: The BCKS team facilitates the establishment and operation of online professional forums.  The BCKS team supports the implementation of secure, standardized knowledge management practices.
  • Foster Leader Development: The BCKS team provides collaborative professional forums in order to assist and support the Army’s training and education process to develop adaptive leaders and teams of leaders. The BCKS team enables sharing of experience and expertise to help develop intuitive decision making.
  • Support Doctrine Development: The BCKS team enables collaborative doctrinal discussion capabilities and supports the online creation and revision of doctrine.
  • Support Lessons Learned: The BCKS team provides knowledge management expertise and best practices to assist CALL as it collects and shares Observations, Insights and Lessons Learned.
  • Support Training: The BCKS team supports the collaborative development of relevant online training scenarios based on current combat experiences and develops training curriculum designed for all levels within the Army structure.

2004 - 2006 – BCKS grew its Professional Forums to over 80,000 participants as it piloted early KM initiatives and developed core competencies for creating and managing professional forums and knowledge networks, while it developed KM protocols and training for the Army at large.


2005 – CAC Operations Order – US Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) established BCKS to support soldiers and leaders in performance of their respective operational mission(s).  BCKS mission was to support the Army's battle command, doctrine development, leader development, and education and training programs by transforming processes and business rules through the knowledge generation-processing-application cycle.  The purpose was to enhance learning and timely development of situational understanding by members of US Army organizations operating in a Joint, Interagency and/or Multinational environment.   The Commander's intent included the development of adaptive leaders who experience repetitive operational situations either virtually or through shared professional experiences to build the necessary frames of reference for intuitive decision making. 

2005-2006 – the Army Research Institute (ARI) conducted a comprehensive study of metrics for evaluating effectiveness for communities of practice resulting in the Community of Practice Evaluation (CoPE) Report. This study looked at the S3-XO Net professional forum (now a year and a half old) and recommended 8 categories of metrics ranging from foundational requirements for startup to organizational level value metrics. 


January, 2006 – BCKS was named a Major Subordinate Organization (MSO) within CAC. As a result of this, and based on internal experience and assessments, the Director reorganized the existing military, DA Civilian and contract personnel. 

Key positions, such as the Director, Deputy Director and Plans and Operations Officer, within BCKS remained throughout the reorganization. CGSC continued to provide key personnel support to BCKS through the positions of Professional Forums Chief and Knowledge Support (technical). Additionally, BCKS partnered with the 84th Army Reserve Readiness Training Command (ARRTC) who established an LNO and employed 42 reserve soldiers to provide facilitation, content management and KM training support.

Fall, 2006 – BCKS began development of the Army's first KM doctrinal manual. FM 6-01.1 'The Knowledge Management Section' establishes doctrinal principles, tactics, techniques and procedures necessary to effectively integrate KM into the operations of brigades, divisions, and corps. This manual provides the doctrinal guidance for commanders, staffs, and leaders of the organizations responsible for KM in operations. This pivotal manual is scheduled for publication in summer 2008.

October, 2006 – BCKS began developing the basic KM training class. Based upon FM 6-01.1, the class was first taught in January 2007. This face-to-face course explains the components of KM (people, processes, and technology) and provides scenarios from real events that utilized KM techniques and procedures to solve both common and complex issues.  The BCKS training team assisted in the Warrant Officer Career Center KM Program and the FA 57 simulation class.  The team developed KM training for integration into the Army Center of Excellence (COEs) classes and has worked with over 125 other Army units and organizations.

August, 2006 – BCKS began developing a "blended solution" to allow units and Soldiers to access all of their disparate software programs through a common a common access portal, using AKO. This allows units to manage and administer their knowledge assets without having to go through the initial pain of learning to use AKO and building sites. They can simply begin to USE their site once built, and learn over time, during their administration tasks, how to improve and build others as they desire. The Knowledge Access Team (KAT) has created over 1,000 pages and oversee 3200 groups.


August, 2007 – DA G-3/5/7 published the memorandum assigning the CG CAC responsibility for developing a KM program across the Army with the assistance of BCKS.

Fall, 2007 – BCKS launched the Joint Functions Knowledge Network focused on TRADOC Centers of Excellence and the Operational Forces Knowledge Network focused on operational units.

October, 2007 – BCKS developed and submitted the AOKM Campaign Plan (CP), the strategic KM planning and resourcing document for the Army. The AOKM CP not only describes the Army's vision for AOKM across time, it also lays out a clear path to achieving the strategic implementation of AOKM while identifying the required resources to accomplish this vision.  

Additionally, the AOKM CP serves as a bridge to address the shortfall between the urgently required AOKM capabilities of the current force and the required capabilities of the future Army modular force. A resourcing bridge is required for this gap as AOKM is not yet a formal program of record funded by HQDA. The AOKM CP identifies the resources required to strategically implement AOKM pending completion of the AOKM Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) portion of the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) that will result in AOKM becoming a program of record. The level of detail in the AOKM CP provides senior Army leaders the necessary information to fund this critical Army program.

November, 2007 – BCKS developed and submitted the BCKS Concept Plan to support an expanded BCKS Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA). This new TDA supports the expansion of the BCKS and provides the additional resources necessary for the strategic implementation of AOKM across the Total Army. The new TDA authorizes an additional five military positions and 20 Department of the Army Civilian (DAC) positions representing a significant growth in BCKS capabilities. This Concept Plan is strategically linked to the AOKM Campaign Plan and provides the necessary personnel to initiate the AOKM CBA.

BCKS hosted the 3rd Annual Army Knowledge Management Conference, 5-8 November at Fort Leavenworth. This event was attended by over 100 knowledge management stake holders, key leaders and practitioners from around the Army. Results of this conference are archived on both the BCKS Warrior Knowledge Base and on AKO. The AKO site also has downloadable videos of the briefing and resulting discussions available for download or Pod Casting.  Login with an AKO password at CAC CG Lt. Gen. Caldwell attended the out brief to conclude the conference.

The BCKS Training department hosted a working group for Army Guard units preparing to deploy to Kosovo (KFOR). Five different Army Guard units shared knowledge and agreed on a web portal that they could use to collaborate and share knowledge that was common to the mission and required in the preparation for deployment. The hosted session was extremely successful and the portal is still active.

December, 2007 – the first BCKS Strategic Communications Plan was signed by the Director of BCKS.

December 2007 – CAC-BCKS develops the Knowledge Facilitation Skills Workshop (KFSW). This 5 day workshop is a venue for professional forum facilitators and community leaders to share best practices and lessons learned. The KFSW has three (3) terminal learning objectives: manage an online conversation, manage a professional forum, and apply Knowledge Management strategies and approaches. The workshop is designed to improve the ability of and enable the Professional Forum facilitator to:

  • Apply a basic understanding of Operational Knowledge Management and enabling services
  • Describe the roles and missions of a KM practitioner
  • Manage conversation in an online Professional Forum
  • Facilitate knowledge flow between community members and across community boundaries
  • Communicate effectively with both the community and BCKS
  • Manage content for the community
  • Assess and improve knowledge flow and transfer of both tacit and explicit knowledge
  • Integrate knowledge across the organization
  • Identify and develop good news stories highlighting knowledge-based solutions
  • Report on community progress and measures of effectiveness
  • Monitor Operational Security (OPSEC) within the forum


January, 2008 – BCKS and HQs, Forces Command (FORSCOM) joined together for the development and fielding of the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the FORSCOM Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Warfighters' Forums. These BCT Warfighters' Forums (WfF) are command directed, high-priority tools that provide knowledge management capabilities to deployed and deploying soldiers to ensure they have access to all the knowledge and information necessary to complete their wartime mission. Support to the BCT WfF continues with the expansion of the WfF from its initial, and very basic capabilities into an essential tool for every Soldier and leader. 

Spring-summer, 2008 – BCKS is supporting TRADOC in the planning and initial capabilities development of  Support and Functional Brigade Warfighters' Forum. This critical capability was directed by the CG TRADOC (Gen. Wallace) to meet the evolving needs of the generating force and to ensure the operating and generating forces are closely integrated. The Support and Functional Brigade WfF will be closely linked with FORSCOM BCT WfF to support and enable the integration of the operating and generating forces.

BCKS also conducted its first deliberate Knowledge Assessment of TRADOC's Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) and then USARPAC. BCKS provided recommendations to reduce the time required to bring a new capability to bear and improve collaboration between TRADOC ARCIC HQs and its subordinate centers.

Summer, 2008 – BCKS continues to mature its Knowledge Assessment protocols and provide knowledge services to the Army. Direct KM support to United States Army Pacific Command (USARPAC), Army Medical Department (AMEDD), European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Army Dental Command (DENCOM) is being shaped. BCKS also is piloting virtual team capabilities as it develops both a web-based framework and the training associated with virtual teaming and collaboration.


January, 2009 – BCKS upgraded to Tomoye Ecco 2.1 which incorporated a more intuitive interface with professional forums and offered new capabilities such as blogging, tagging, and improved social networking features. BCKS provided training and support to U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and the Army Medical Division (AMEDD), bringing significant progress in solidifying their Knowledge Management efforts.

April 2009 – BCKS received an "Authority to Operate" (ATO) for BCKS NIPR/SIPR operations authorizing BCKS to setup an instantiation of the BCKS System on each of the networks. Although, this is not new for NIPR, it is new for SIPR. This new capability will provide supporting services, such as SIPR Forums and WKB that are currently not (and never have been) available to the War Fighter unless they had NIPR access. With this change, the War Fighter will have a greater degree of latitude in their discussions and content. They will have classified capabilities up to secret for comprehensive discussions of TTP's, SOP's, IED's and other tactical materials.

Spring 2009 – Knowledge Assessment Team accomplished Knowledge Management Assessments for 2 organizations identifying KM gaps and contributing factors. A Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) Workshop was conducted that involved participants from six CAC organizations. The workshop teaches ways to help capture soldiers' and Army civilians' experiential and tacit knowledge.

Summer 2009 – BCKS taught the first pilot of the Army Knowledge Management – Qualification Course (AKMQC). The course ensures all Army BCT, Division, Corps and ASCC KM sections are proficient in executing full spectrum knowledge management. BCKS was invited by the Signal Center at Fort Gordon to assist in writing a Knowledge Management Terminal Learning Objective and two Enabling Learning Objectives for the Common Educational Outcomes (Common Core) of the Captain's Career Course.

Fall 2009 – The 5th Annual Army Operational Knowledge Management (AOKM) conference was held with over 350 KM practitioners and experts in attendance including Army, Navy, Air Force and International enlisted and officers. They developed KM action plans that will help enable The Army to better learn and adapt in the face of change, complexity and uncertainty. Special topics included challenges of implementing social media in a military environment, how to increase collaboration among members while operating in a deployed status, and challenges for operating in the JIIM environment.

2009 – BCKS now manages over 60 forums and has more than 150,000 members. During the calendar year, the Training Team conducted 10 KM Basic courses, 3 AKO/DKO Administration courses, 3 Knowledge Facilitation Skills Workshops, and 1 Army Knowledge Management Qualification course. The Assessment Team conducted 6 Knowledge Assessments.


Last Reviewed: October 25, 2010

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