Armor & Mobility

MAR-APR 2018

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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The network modernization strategy will deliver capabilities in the near term to close gaps, and continue to emphasize maintaining superiority through longer-term efforts and continued optimization. Significant improvements can be remedied among high-priority units in the next 12 to 24 months through program delivery of interim capabilities that will: improve command post (CP) survivability and mobility; integrate tactical network transport; provide a mission command application suite that resolves incompatibilities between echelons; improve radio and network survivability against electronic warfare and cyber threats; and increase joint/coalition interoperability and access to joint fires and close air support. SECURING CONTINUITY OF COMMUNICATIONS Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T) project offices are supporting near term efforts including mission command hardware and software standardization, modernization of tactical network transport connectivity across all components, fielding new data radios, improving expeditionary satellite communications capability and ensuring commanders have resilient and redundant network capacity. Critically, the latter involves procurement of terrestrial capabilities to improve transport resiliency (Troposcatter and Terrestrial Transmission Line of Sight Radios). The Army is also pushing to integrate Secure Wi-Fi to the field to enable units to stand up command posts faster and get connected to the network easier while in maneuver. "The key benefit provided by Secure Wi-Fi is the velocity that it brings to [the setup of] my mission command systems," said Col. Michael Adams, commander of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. "Near-peer adversaries are much more capable than enemies we trained against previously. In a decisive action training environment, [armed with Secure Wi-Fi], we are much faster and more mobile, and that equates to survivability." In May 2017, the Army's G-3/5/7 (Operations, Plans and Training) issued an Army-wide directive for more than 400 tactical units to consolidate to a single software baseline for mission command applications. To execute the order, elements from PEO C3T mobilized to support fielding approximately 290 units in FY18 and the remainder of the Army next fiscal year. MAXIMIZING COMMONALITY The Army is also committed to resolving incompatibilities and unnecessary complexity in its existing mission command systems through the establishment of a Common Operating Environment (COE). The COE will replace current stovepiped mission command systems that perform individual functions but do not integrate easily and often fail to create a complete common operating picture. "The rapid pace of deployments in the past 15 years has led to a significant increase in the Army's mission command systems as units have requested additional capabilities," said Col. Troy Crosby, project manager for Mission Command, who has the lead for implementation of the fielding efforts. "The Army is changing how it fields and sustains these systems, necessitating a move to a single baseline today, while we continue developing the next baseline as part of the Army's Common Operating Environment effort." To collapse legacy warfighting systems, reduce the burden of compiling data and shrink the technical and physical footprint of the CP, the Army is developing the Command Post Computing Environment (CP CE), a core part of the COE. CP CE will feature a simplified user experience by combining warfighting functions into a common user interface, reducing Soldier training and accelerating the integration of new capabilities. Work on CP CE has progressed significantly over the last year. The CP CE infrastructure, consisting of a new single tactical server infrastructure plus a common software baseline, will provide Soldiers an underlying core CP system upon which additional warfighting functionality can be built. The program is leveraging commercial software to support the baseline, which has saved time and money in the development process. Core CP CE common infrastructure functions will provide chat, a standardized map, message centers and an extensible data model. These functions will serve as the foundation for every warfighting application and remain the same for every computer and every Soldier, regardless of branch or military occupational specialty. CP CE will undergo operational test in late 2018 and be ready for early fielding in 2019. PARTNERING FOR ENHANCED OPERABILITY To support long-term network improvements, the program office is teamed with the Communications-Electronics, Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) to seek upgrades to Blue Force Tracking (BFT) 2, the Army's key situational awareness network. In use since 2002, BFT provides friendly force tracking information and is integrated on more than 98,000 platforms across the Army and joint services. The next-generation BFT modernization effort, BFT 3, will employ several new and enhanced features including The 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade, trained on its tactical network equipment, including transport equipment, during a field exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The Army's tactical network provides an agile, modular "tool kit" of integrated network capabilities. (U.S. Army photo) PEO C3T Network Modernization www.tacticaldefensemedia.com 16 | Armor & Mobility | March/April 2018

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