Armor & Mobility

FEB 2017

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Page 23 of 27

Tactical network software complexity is often discussed as an operational readiness issue due to the fact that either too many software baselines exist in operational formations or that network initialization is time consuming and complicated for field based units who demand simplicity to ensure expeditionary connectivity. The Army's Central Technical Support Facility (CTSF), a subordinate organization of the Communication and Electronics Command (CECOM) is actively working to lessen the software systems integration burden on Forces Command units, while also assuring the security, integration readiness and functionality of tactical network software baselines. As the Army's only facility certified to perform Army Interoperability Certification network software testing in an age of digitization, the CTSF ensures that the Army network has interoperable and secure software capacity as it looks to streamline network baselines and ensure less complex network integration needs. Addressing the C4ISR Evolution Established in 1996, CTSF initially served as a center for rapid development and testing of Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS) and to support early digitization exercises at Fort Hood. But today, the campus is the Army's only strategic facility responsible for performing interoperability testing and configuration management for all tactical level Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems (C4ISR), applications and hardware prior to release to the field. Staffed by more than 125 military personnel Army civilians and support contractors, the CTSF is a collaborative environment also serving as home to more than 300 personnel representing Army product and program management teams who develop and field network product lines that support the Army's Mission Command Network. These organizations execute other activities including regional support, fielding, training, and operational testing from the CTSF location. "The synergy created among the unique capabilities assembled at the CTSF campus is what allows the Army to achieve excellence in interoperability and is truly its defining characteristic," said Colonel Federica King, the CTSF commander. As the Army digitized its forces and entered into more than a decade of continuous wartime operations, the CTSF responded to the demand by adding skilled personnel and facilities to rapidly address the complex challenge of integrating and testing the growing number of digital capabilities. In 2007, CTSF became an enduring capability for the Army as it transferred from Department of the Army Chief Information Officer - G6 (CIO-G6) control in order to better leverage its capabilities across the Army Materiel Command enterprise, and in the process became a subordinate command of CECOM. A Turn toward Software Interoperability Today, the CTSF replicates current and emerging Army network baselines to ensure Army Interoperability Certification of software, in other words, testing new software to ensure it is ready to integrate into operational unit networks. As an end product, CTSF experts provide reasonable assurance that the various software baselines are interoperable prior to fielding, a comprehensive look at the cyber security posture of systems across the Army and assurance of software integration readiness—ultimately helping to provide a less complex product to operational units. The unique CTSF facility infrastructure and workforce composition make system integration test capabilities possible. In addition to its core integration, evaluation, and configuration management staff, numerous program office technical representatives are on hand to support systems under test. CTSF's integration labs, provide program offices with digital environments to integrate systems prior to interoperability certification and correct issues found during testing. In addition, programs leverage the integration labs to provide support to tactical units. For example, ENABLING NETWORK READINESS Matt Garcia, CTSF Network Engineer, elements from the 1st Cavalry Division and 712 Air Support Operation Squadron run the Joint Air Ground Integration Cell (JAGIC) (at the CTSF) as part of the Air Force Lead Exercise Air Ground Integration level Exploration (AGILE) Fire 16. U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) is updating its Central Technical Support Facility (CTSF) in support of software certification efficiency in a digital age. By Kenneth Pope, and Justin Zadnichek, CTSF, Fort Hood, Texas 22 | Armor & Mobility | February 2017

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