Artillery-to-acquisition officer provides innovative technology to Soldiers on the ground
By Tara Clements
For this Army-grown artillery officer, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and he keeps that in mind everyday as he uses his experience as a Soldier, a leader and an innovator to bring the latest technology to Soldiers on the ground and is striving to make it even better in the future.
The assistant product manager for the One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT), Maj. Thomas Jagielski ensures that deploying Soldiers and units are equipped with a valuable capability: “eyes in the sky” to maintain situational awareness. What does that mean? Without the situational awareness that technology can provide, a Soldier on a battlefield won’t know where the enemy is located. They’re out there, but if the Soldier can’t see them, they can’t know what capabilities they might have.
Now, give that same Soldier a visual, from a screen in his hands, of where the enemy is, what capabilities they might have, and the ability to coordinate with ground and aviation forces to address the threat—that’s tactical overmatch, and invaluable.
“When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management,” said Jagielski.
And Jagielski speaks from direct experience. This Bronze Star Medal recipient’s deployment experience has given him the ability to provide the “Soldier’s perspective” when developing upgrades and requirements for the system.
FOTF: What do you do in the Army? Why is it important?
JAGIELSKI: As the assistant product manager for the OSRVT, I ensure that limited OSRVT assets reach Soldiers who are deploying as well as provide training to maximize system effectiveness. Additionally, I manage the OSRVT preplanned product improvement and interoperability with other systems that allows the OSRVT to remain on the cutting edge of technology. OSRVT’s common software can be integrated with any ground vehicle, tracked or wheeled, for comprehensive situational awareness. The user-friendly graphical user interface delivers information in live video or map views, and allows users to easily save, export and analyze data. The OSRVT is a proven combat multiplier for maneuver and aviation units by providing unprecedented situational awareness. This ultimately saves Soldiers as well as civilian lives.
FOTF: Can you give me a few examples of how this technology has benefited Soldiers on the ground?
JAGIELSKI: This system enables Soldiers on the ground to have the most current operational picture. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That is never truer than when Soldiers are conducting operations. When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location, it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management. The OSRVT is used by intelligence sections to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance that formally had been accomplished by Soldiers. This reduces Soldiers’ exposure to hostile forces without a tactical advantage.
The OSRVT is also used by convoy commanders to identify danger areas, choke points, or areas of congestion, allowing them to maneuver and avoid those areas. Aviators use the OSRVT to conduct manned-unmanned teaming. In this teaming, an unmanned aircraft flies in front of a manned aircraft, extending the pilot’s range of sight. This allows the pilot to identify threats or objectives at greater ranges and maneuver to engage and or avoid the threats.
FOTF: What has your experience in the Army been like? What has surprised you the most?
JAGIELSKI: Transitioning from an artillery officer into Army acquisition has been an eye-opening experience. Learning the acquisition process and working through contract development and implementation has been one of the greatest challenges in my career. I have a great team in the OSRVT product office that works very hard to get equipment to the Soldiers who need it and make them successful. Many people on the team have prior military experience, but the battlefield has changed dramatically over the past few years. I’m able to provide the Soldier’s prospective for determining priorities and development and come to work every day knowing that I will learn something that will make me a better acquisition officer down the road.
The most surprising thing to me is the amount of effort and hard work by the whole team to maintain interoperability with all of the platforms in the U.S. military. The OSRVT receives data from manned and unmanned aircraft as well as robots across all services. These systems are continually working to provide better information to the end user but in doing so, communications profiles and specifications change making this a complex and challenging process. In order for the OSRVT to maintain communications with all systems, it is vital that interoperability profiles are current and future profiles are considered for future software. The level of effort to do this is far greater than I ever conceived.
FOTF: Describe the coordination process—how is this attempted across multiple technologies across multiple services?
“When a Soldier is able to identify combatants, their position, any potential obstacles or changes in an area of operations prior to arrival at a location, it allows for better planning and preparation for operations as well as better resource management.”
JAGIELSKI: The first step is to maintain interoperability profiles. Common Systems Interrogation works extensively with other branches and industry to ensure that all unmanned aircraft systems are able to communicate with each other as well as not interfere with other battlefield operating systems. They prioritize and control communication spectrums to ensure that the limited spectrum provides maximum coverage.
FOTF: You mentioned that the battlefield has changed dramatically over the past few years—how does that impact you and your team?
JAGIELSKI: The first thing we do is prioritize which units will be fielded. We are here to support the warfighter and we make sure that units deploying in support of combat operations are given priority in fielding. Our team also provides forward support to Soldiers, meaning we have teams stationed in theater to provide technical and logistical support. Often, this requires them to travel to forward operating bases to provide that support or to train additional Soldiers on our system. We use these opportunities to learn from the Soldiers as well. The threat on the battlefield continually evolves. Our enemy is innovative and adapts to our tactics, techniques and procedures. Therefore, we are attempting to stay at least one step ahead of them. We take the lessons learned from the battlefield and incorporate them into our new equipment training when we field additional units.
FOTF: How have your deployments contributed to your job today?
JAGIELSKI: As an artilleryman it is imperative that I understand how maneuver forces operate and their scheme of maneuver. In the past we have focused on linear operations that emphasized force-on-force action. In my recent deployments [to Iraq in 2003 and 2006], I’ve operated in an asymmetric battlefield. Understanding both of these enabled me to explain how the system would be fought in each environment. The ground Soldiers’ perspective and priorities are vastly different than aviators. I provide the ground Soldiers’ perspective with regard to system upgrade priorities and requirements.
FOTF: What does the OSRVT’s future look like?
JAGIELSKI: Our next upgrade will allow OSRVT operators to accomplish interoperability level III. This means the Soldier will be able to control the payload of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) while the pilot of the UAS allows supervised access. The aircraft will fly in a Safe Air Volume (SAV), or the volume of airspace in which it is safe to operate an unmanned air vehicle, using a keep-in algorithm. The software determines and directs the UAS to a location to provide the best images from the angle as specified by the OSRVT operator.
It is the vision of the commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence to have full-motion video down to the squad level. To do this, we must continue to work to reduce the size and weight of our system. The OSRVT team is looking at ways to leverage emerging technologies to decrease the size and weight while providing all of the capabilities of our current system. The system of the future will be smaller, lightweight, and man-packable. The operating system will be intuitive allowing Soldiers to receive feeds from multiple sources with minimal training.
FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?
JAGIELSKI: The Army offered a career that is mentally and physically challenging. I am always looking for ways to push myself to the limits and see what I can accomplish. Throughout my career, the Army has allowed me to grow as a person and as a leader. I have been able to work with some of the greatest hardworking and dedicated people and together we have been able to impact people and create positive change all over the world.
For more information, visit PEO Aviation.
- “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.
- “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.
By Steve Stark
FORT BELVOIR, Va. – MoBs, FaCs, STEM and FMS—these are just a few of the ways that the U.S. Army, along with DOD and others, is working to preserve the knowledge, skills and capabilities that make up its industrial base. You can read about them all in the new edition of Army AL&T magazine, available online now.
Keeping the industrial base healthy—the theme of the January – March issue of Army AL&T magazine—is crucial to keeping the Army healthy: maintaining its superiority, its overmatch, its edge. Keeping that base “warm” means that the Army has to understand where the must-have capabilities lie—no small task, given its size and complexity. Read how the Army is working with DOD to establish the “big picture” clearly in “Layers of Concern” on Page 8.
One of the specific ways the Army is grasping the industrial base is through fragility and criticality, or FaC, assessments. How critical is a capability, and how fragile is it? Learn all about this approach in “FaC-torial Analysis” on Page 42.
Keeping the industrial base healthy is also about dollars and cents—how the Army marches into the future even as a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway and shrinking budgets are projected to shrink even further. Partnerships with private industry and foreign military sales (FMS) are two ways to support the base economically. (See the articles on Pages 36 and 32, respectively. Learn about how the Army is continually improving its decision-making processes with respect to acquisition in “ ‘MoB’ Rules” on Page 102 in our BBP 2.0 section. “ ‘MoB’ Rules” is all about how Product Manager Sets, Kits, Outfits and Tools developed rigorous metrics for make-or-buy (MoB) capability decisions.
Even as the Army recovers from more than 12 years of war, it must also prepare for future conflicts, and a healthy industrial base is crucial to those eventualities. Learn how the Army is planning for the future, not only by preserving existing capabilities in the industrial base, but also by growing the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals (Page 72).
Last but hardly least, what does the Army industrial base think about how best to preserve the Army industrial base? In “Critical Thinking,” 10 industrial base stakeholders—executives of major defense firms, small-business owners, leaders of key trade associations and national security scholars—offer their views on what the base most needs from the Army in order to withstand the multiple challenges of today.
Army AL&T magazine is available in hard copy, online in our e-version, and as an app for your mobile device:
iTunes (for iPad and iPhone)
Google Play (Non-Kindle Android Devices)
Amazon (for Kindle)
Standardized Measures of Performance Framework enables consistent assessment of Army network capability
By Mr. Michael Badger, Dr. Dennis Bushmitch, Mr. Rick Cozby and Mr. Brian Hobson
“The testing of complex networks and their capabilities can be time- and resource-intensive, with minimal potential to reuse the test event’s capability.”
The Army’s adoption of the Agile Process to enable rapid technology insertion led the three agencies charged to execute this process—the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT))—to organize as the TRIAD and develop the needed measurement framework.
The TRIAD intended that the measurement framework would establish consistent, reusable, traceable, standardized performance and effectiveness metrics across the Agile Process. More specifically, the TRIAD envisioned that this framework would preserve resources and reduce risk in planning and executing the culminating activity of the Agile Process, a Network Integration Evaluation (NIE).
The testing of complex networks and their capabilities can be time- and resource-intensive, with minimal potential to reuse the test event’s capability. Testing without well-defined analytic objectives and repeatable measures of performance (MoPs) can waste time and money. Furthermore, without an Armywide objective standard for test and evaluation (T&E) metrics, the results will be less than compelling for senior decision-makers. Different organizations supporting the Agile Process and NIE events often misinterpret, inappropriately apply or reinvent the current set of network-related MoPs for each application (e.g., a T&E event).
The complex system-of-systems (SoS) solutions that comprise the Army’s network demand a measurement framework with traceable and credible measures, encompassing the interaction among various network layers; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems; and the technical requirements that underpin them. Beginning with the FY12 NIE events, an enduring MoP Framework emerged as a potential solution standard, developed by ASA(ALT), ATEC, BMC, the federally funded research and development center MITRE Corp., and subject-matter experts (SMEs) from the Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T).
The MoP Framework, which the TRIAD has used successfully and has matured during the planning and/or execution of five NIEs, achieves the following:
- Standardizes the terms of reference for each individual MoP and its application.
- Defines instrumentation considerations and practices in support of MoPs.
- Enables organizations using the MoPs to establish traceability to credible source documentation (operational and analytic requirements).
- Allows organizations to determine the gap(s) in MoP availability, application maturity and definition in a visual manner through the use of graphics.
- Allows organizations to re-prioritize the MoPs within each graphical representation according to analytic engineering or T&E requirements.
- Allows simple, graphical communication of T&E and analytic requirements among organizations from an operational perspective and at multiple levels (system, SoS, mission command tasks and operational effectiveness).
- Standardizes the units of measurement.
- Mitigates the errors in interpretation, instrumentation, and data collection, reduction and analysis approaches.
The key new concept introduced in the enduring MoP Framework is called a MoP map.
Figure 1 represents such a map for an operational capability category and subcategory. (See definitions in Figure 2) Figure 1 also illustrates the inclusion and alignment of various reference attributes, such as layers, data types and source MoPs. SMEs and organizations create and tailor different MoP maps for different operational capability subcategories, systems and/or SoSs within a subcategory.
The vertical axis of the MoP map relates top-level mission effectiveness MoPs to lower-level waveform, spectrum and radio frequency (RF) MoPs. The horizontal axis relates operational mission threads, applications, information exchanges and data types within a given system or SoS operational capability category. The attributes along this horizontal axis allow for MoP alignment to a variety of mission threads (i.e., call for fire); applications and information exchanges (i.e., message type); and data types (i.e., voice and video).
The MoP Framework employs several reference attributes to support the standardization and traceability of requirements. These attributes, as Figure 2 shows, correlate to credible operational capability categories and subcategories, align to layers of user application, are traceable to data types, and feature a source reference set of credible and established metrics. The MoP map accomplishes the following functionality:
- Aligns MoPs to operational capability categories and subcategories, enabling credible application to operational systems.
- Maps MoPs to user application layers, allowing flexibility.
- Enables traceability of MoPs to application data types, enabling their reusability and completeness across operational capabilities.
- Aligns credible, applicable and reusable metrics, increasing efficiency across a user community from multiple organizations
- Establishes relationships among different MoP maps by cross-referencing graphical tools
- Provides a powerful graphical representation tool for traceability to the parent operational requirement and MoP
- Provides a simple reference scheme for easy identification and traceability of MoP types, the MoP system layer and the operational capability type.
- Establishes and standardizes definitions and units of measurement.
The MoP Framework developers identified, developed and defined a set of operational capability areas that encompass the potential system—Capability Set (CS), System Under Test, System Under Evaluation and network capabilities envisioned as part of the Agile Process. Figure 2 defines these operational capability areas and categorization, and depicts a unique numbering schema for each subcategory to preserve originality and allow for traceability.
The intent of these defined operational capability categories is to align operational gaps with projected needs and requirements into operational capability categories, and to establish, define and employ consistent, credible and reusable metrics. These metrics, in turn, inform and characterize the performance and effectiveness of operational capability to satisfy defined requirements. Because these metrics have different attributes that they must align to and support, the MoP maps were developed with three different attribute alignment considerations: network layers, data types and MoP sources, as follows:
Network layers—Layering is an accepted approach to focusing and constraining the complexity in technical network analysis. The complete set of MoP Framework layers include: mission effectiveness; mission threads; application; Common Operating Environment (COE)/security; network routing/quality of service; network transport; waveform; and spectrum/RF. The vertical axis of “layering” in the MoP Framework in Figure 1 has evolved and matured through application to include high-fidelity measurement needs at the bottom of the axis (i.e., spectrum, RF and waveform), transitioning to lower-fidelity measurement needs at the top of the axis (i.e., mission effectiveness and mission threads).
Data types—As depicted in the generic MoP Framework, several data types within each operational capability subcategory could apply to different MoPs. The horizontal axis in Figure 1 relates the various operational mission threads, applications, information exchanges and data types toward one another within a given system or SoS category. The traceability of MoPs within data types between different operational capability subcategories allows analysts to cross-reference MoP maps.
Measures of performance sources—In developing the MoP Framework and the individual MoP maps, the TRIAD leveraged a body of work led by the TRADOC Analysis Center to identify a framework for Agile Process analytic requirements. (See Figure 3.) This analytic framework established a hierarchy of operational issues and essential elements of analysis, allowing for a credible and traceable source of MoPs.
Figure 4 shows the application of the MoP Framework methodology to the Mission Command (MC) Display Hardware operational capability subcategory.
As depicted in Figure 5, the performance MoPs are predominantly in the area of SoS operational issues. Figure 5 also depicts the evolving and maturing capability of the MoP Framework maps, as the MoPs for the COE/security layer have yet to be developed and coordinated.
Each MoP has a unique number. This numbering schema allows analysts and evaluators to leverage the MoP Framework for MC Display Hardware and import the information to event- or system-specific data source matrices, while still maintaining the traceability and origin of these MoPs.
By identifying and aligning MoPs for each operational capability subcategory, the MoP Framework provides credible and traceable metrics for analysts that are reusable across Agile Process activities and between organizations in support of a particular application (i.e., event). This reusability is based on repeated application of operational capability and the repeated need to measure operational performance and utility.
The standardization of a MoP Framework Armywide will promote cost avoidance by reducing the re-creation of testing objectives and streamlining instrumentation planning. The implementation of a unified MoP Framework will also give greater validity to the operational relevance of testing. Analytic requirements exchanged between organizations using this standardized construct provide for clear cost-evaluation guidelines, prioritization and traceable evaluation.
For more information, please contact Dr. Dennis Bushmitch (email@example.com, 410-322-2054) or Mr. Brian Hobson (firstname.lastname@example.org, 913-544-5101).
MR. MICHAEL BADGER is a senior network engineer for PEO C3T. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Rutgers College of Engineering and an MBA from Monmouth University. He was a resident senior executive fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2010. Badger is Level III certified in systems planning, research, development and engineering (SPRDE) – systems engineering and is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps (AAC).
DR. DENNIS BUSHMITCH is an inventor and prolific technical author, and has been a chief analyst for several Army programs. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of the New York University. He is Level III certified in SPRDE – systems engineering and is a member of the AAC.
MR. RICHARD “RICK” COZBY is the deputy director for SoS engineering and integration within the Office of the ASA(ALT). He holds a B.E. in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University, an M.S. in administration from Central Michigan University, and an M.A. in management and leadership from Webster University. He is Level III certified in program management and in test and evaluation, and is a member of the AAC.
MR. BRIAN HOBSON is a senior analyst, senior program manager and deputy director for Trideum Corp., Huntsville, Ala.. He holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.S. in operations research from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He is a lifetime member of the International Test and Evaluation Association and the Military Operations Research Society.
Contributing to this article were Mr. Vince Baxivanos, Ms. Christina L. Bouwens, Dr. Melanie Bragg, Dr. Nancy M. Bucher, Ms. Karen Drude, Ms. Diane Eberly, Mr. Derek Erdley, Mr. Na Gaither, Mr. Omar Gutierrez, Dr. John Harwig, Mr. Anthony W. Harriman, Mr. Michael S. Jessee and Dr. Chris Morey.
By Amy Walker, PEO C3T
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 6, 2013) — The Army’s rapid fielding of network systems to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan led to vastly improved communications capabilities on the battlefield — but also increased network complexity.
The service is now moving to simplify and reduce the number of network management tools its communication officers, known as S6s, use to manage the tactical communications network, moving from deliveries of stove-piped tool sets across various systems and echelons to an integrated system.
“The S6 has a wide range of network transport devices, applications and hardware that he has to manage and he has a lot of different program offices providing him with their own Network Operations (NetOps) tools that don’t necessarily work together,” said Lt. Col. Ward Roberts, product manager for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or PM WIN-T, Increment 3, who is leading the Army’s Integrated Tactical NetOps team. “But the goal of NetOps convergence is to provide one tool, or an easy to use integration of tools, into one seamless delivery so that the S6 has one tool set to manage his whole network.”
Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T, to which PM WIN-T is assigned, the Army is working to integrate and converge NetOps capabilities. The goal is to achieve network visibility from the enterprise level to the tactical level, while reducing the number of tools required. Integrating NetOps from the enterprise to the tactical edge will achieve efficiencies and improve operational flexibility. The NetOps efforts are just one component of the Army’s overall drive to simplify the network so it more resembles technology that Soldiers operate in their daily lives, making it easier and more efficient to use, train and sustain.
“Our young Soldiers are from a generation that has had iPhones, that has had Xboxes, that has grown up in an environment as digital natives,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, program executive officer for PEO C3T. “They expect things to work a certain way. So we’ve got to get NetOps down to a minimal number of tools that are easy to use, so the Soldier can make the network operational on a very complex battlefield.”
The Army’s WIN-T network backbone provides Soldiers across the force with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications, and now with Increment 2 supports on-the-move network communications down to the company level. Today, WIN-T NetOps tool suites are supporting S6s in theater as they facilitate the planning, initialization, monitoring, management and response of the network.
WIN-T Increment 2- equipped brigades now have four times as many network nodes that units had in the past, as many radio and satellite assets once possessed by a division, making it a challenge to manage that network. But today’s improved WIN-T NetOps tools make it much easier to manage that complexity, said Chief Warrant Officer Eric Bache, brigade NetOps manager for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 14.1.
“With my NetOps tools I can take a look at the various nodes and say, ‘I don’t want that link, it’s not passing enough data,’” Bache said. “I can shut one off and reroute it through another radio or antenna.”
An improved WIN-T NetOps tool suite developed under the WIN-T Increment 3 program will serve as the baseline for tactical NetOps as the Integrated Tactical NetOps team works to converge other products, such as those used to manage the lower tactical internet, known as the TI.
“As the Army modernizes its network, it is pushing network systems lower and lower in the echelons, so computers are in places that they never were before, including physically on the Soldier,” said Rich Greel, technical management division chief for PM WIN-T. “With the increased size of the network, additional number of nodes, and the Army pushing it down lower in the echelons, we have to ensure that NetOps tools make it easy for the S6 to manage that network.”
Today, the lower TI — the radio-based network used at lower echelons on the battlefield — is compartmentalized and can be difficult for the Soldier to track and manage. One of the objectives of NetOps convergence is to integrate existing lower TI tools together and make them work seamlessly with WIN-T’s upper TI tools.
An early success for lower TI NetOps convergence was realized with the 2013 fielding of the Joint Tactical Networking Environment NetOps Toolkit, which collapsed several lower tactical network tools, mostly radio management tools, onto one laptop.
This spring the next version of the advanced WIN-T NetOps capabilities are scheduled to be evaluated at NIE 14.2, before they are eventually fielded to units equipped with WIN-T Increment 2. The Army’s semi-annual NIEs leverage Soldier feedback to improve capability and rapidly mature and integrate its tactical communications network. They have also been a venue to converge NetOps tools.
The first NIE event in 2011 included more than 70 separate systems to run and operate the network. That total is now closer to 20. Part of the NIE 14.2 WIN-T NetOps demonstration will include the use of Condition Based Maintenance Plus. This new preventative maintenance concept for the tactical communications network is similar to OnStar and other diagnostic software found in today’s cars, and aims to increase reliability and sustainability while reducing sustainment costs.
“We are using the NIEs to validate our steps along the way and not waiting until we have an end product that we want to ship out,” Roberts said. “We are making incremental improvements and getting those out to NIE to garner feedback from the Soldiers, the larger network community and from our industry partners to see if our tools are helping Soldiers out and what kind of improvements we may need to make.”
The biggest benefit in achieving a common NetOps solution would be incurred by the Soldier, specifically the S6. The goal is to give him one method to do his job, train him one time and with one set of tools, making his job a lot easier. The second benefit would be realized by the greater Army. Buying fewer tools or buying the same tools more strategically and cost effectively will save taxpayer dollars.
“We are figuring out ways to save money by buying things only once, only buying what we truly need, and buying in the best, most strategic approach possible to get better deals and save money,” Roberts said.
The Army does not plan to buy a “one-vendor, end-all NetOps solution,” but rather a combination of products from multiple commercial vendors, either seamlessly working together upfront or integrated through an Army effort, Roberts said.
“The more vendors that look to team with other vendors in the commercial-off-the-shelf industry to provide tools that work together, the better off we are, and the easier it will be to pick those products up and roll them into our baseline,” Roberts said.
By The Close Combat Weapon Systems Project Office
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Engaging the enemy effectively without a clear line-of-sight is an ongoing challenge for Soldiers serving in small, outlying posts in theater. One solution is the Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS), a not-within-direct-fire-line-of-sight, single-use munition system that is launched from a small tube. The entire system is carried in a Soldier’s backpack.
Equipped with optical sensors, LMAMS transmits live color video wirelessly to a display on a ground control unit. The technology allows the Soldier to find the enemy and ensure positive identification before engaging. LMAMS deploys within two-minutes and can fly for up to fifteen minutes.
The advantages? Increased support and lethality while limiting unintended damage.
“It is a very sophisticated bullet with eyes,” said Bill Nichols, acting product director for LMAMS at the Army’s Close Combat Weapons Systems (CCWS) project office.
Fulfilling a Requirement
LMAMS is the product of an Army requirement submitted to the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) in January 2011. The request for an improved aerial munitions system was based on the results of a limited Block 1 Switchblade assessment, completed in the fall of 2010. Switchblade was the most mature technical solution available at the time. LMAMS, the resulting upgraded capability, includes an enhanced day camera and the addition of an infrared camera for night operations. It also comes with a tailored training package.
“… With all the limitations on resources, this team has performed a superb job in their ability to produce the kind of efficiencies that made it possible to get this system into theater rapidly.”
“Once the development work was completed, we took that configuration and put it through an extensive production verification test to ensure reliability of the system and to basically ‘shake out’ the system,” Nichols said.
That shaking out of the system included more than 100 test flights for the LMAMS. Once the test flights were completed, full-system munitions were produced and vetted through safety confirmation tests. The tests included limited environmental testing, electromagnetic interference testing and full, live firefight flight tests. Once LMAMS was deemed safe for use by Soldiers, the Army started equipping the system to support operations in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in August 2012.
“By partnering with the REF, we were able to deliver the capability to Soldiers in combat within14 months of receiving the original requirement” said Nichols.
Bill Ruta, program manager for CCWS added, “This has been a shoestring operation. With all the limitations on resources, this team has performed a superb job in their ability to produce the kind of efficiencies that made it possible to get this system into theater rapidly.”
Although the aerial munition is designed for non-line-of-sight targets, it’s categorized as a direct fire asset. When the munition reaches the target, the cameras on LMAMS allow the Soldier to have “eyes on” the target, which provides the required positive identification. If the situation or target changes, then the operator can wave the munition off and either continue to view or re-approach the target or look for a secondary target.
“It is one of the few—if not the only—munition that can be moved off of its intended target, directed to a safe place, and detonated or destroyed after it is launched. There is no other munition in the inventory that I am aware of that allows us to do this in real time and with such precision. It limits unintended casualties and collateral damage,” Nichols said.
LMAMS has allowed Soldiers to engage the enemy in the open, in narrow village corridors, or where other civilians are present within a small radius of where the target is to be engaged or neutralized. In instances where the primary target has been lost, the Soldier has been able to divert the munition to a secondary target or detonate, preventing civilian casualties.
LMAMS is ground-launched from a static position at a forward operating base or at a small post in a ready-to-fire or standby mode. In the future, it may be possible to have several munitions fired from a pod in an effort to provide base defense or to have the system launched from a vehicle.
“I’d say that with this type of munition and capability, although we have learned a lot, we are at about the second day of the Wright brothers’ first flight. We’ve got that much left to learn with this once we put it into the hands of the great Soldiers we have,” Nichols said.
Feedback from Soldiers who’ve used the munition is critical in determining the future of LMAMS, and there are systems in place to ensure that CCWS can collect crucial data. CCWS is already looking at feedback from each engagement and identifying potential improvements. There are also two formal field operating assessments going on as part of the feedback processes. These assessments, along with the individual engagement feedback process, will provide CCWS information critical to determine any future material changes, methods of employment and more effective system training.
“We’re getting all of that great feedback because Soldiers are always brutally honest,” Nichols said. “That’s exactly what we need in order to continue to evolve LMAMS.”
By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, PEO C3T
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) — With the Army’s newest set of tactical network systems now in the hands of Soldiers who could be among the last to deploy to Afghanistan, the service is ensuring users master the power behind their communications gear.
To do this, the Army established a new System of Systems, or SoS, training concept drawing on lessons learned from previous units fielded with the integrated communications package known as Capability Set 13, or CS 13, including two brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) that are now deployed to Afghanistan. The new approach embraces instruction on integrated systems capabilities, leverages Soldier knowledge and creates an underlying familiarity with how the equipment supports operations.
Using a train-the-trainer concept, the Army is instructing a “slice” of about 125 Soldiers from the 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), in order to establish proficiency with the network communications systems known collectively as CS 13, before introducing the gear to the full brigade for collective training events.
“We’re the fourth brigade to have CS 13, but the first to go through the SoS training,” said Capt. Justin Zevenbergen, communications officer with 3/101. “As signal Soldiers, we’re being trained first on CS 13 before the whole brigade is out there, so when we do begin our event training we can then say, ‘We’re going to rock-n-roll this because we know it, we’ve done it.’”
Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications – Tactical, or PEO C3T, the SoS training is based directly on user feedback and marks a key step in increasing unit proficiency and network performance. CS 13 marked the first time the Army has delivered network systems not on an individual basis, but as an integrated communications package that spans the entire BCT formation, connecting the static tactical operations center to the commander on the move to the dismounted Soldier.
“At first it’s overwhelming because there are so many moving pieces, but as time goes on and we keep working with the equipment, I think it will get easier and easier,” said Sgt. Brandon Pieper with the 3/101, who is also taking the training. “The systems are pretty easy to use and we’re moving forward from the lessons learned.”
As the Army continues to incrementally modernize the network and fields the follow-on CS 14 to additional units, including BCTs from the 82nd Airborne Division, this training concept will give Soldiers more time to learn the new systems and capabilities and maximize their effect. The right mix of technology and training will continue to evolve as the Army works to simplify the network, making it easier to use, train, maintain and sustain.
“We continue to incorporate lessons learned from Capability Set fieldings and drive those into our processes so we get better every time,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, program executive officer for C3T. “Now we are focusing on simplifying our communications systems for the end user while delivering a pervasive network that meets their needs.”
Also included in the SoS training is an overview course so commanders understand the network as an integrated combat multiplier and not just a collection of separate signal capabilities. A weekly technical “trail boss” meeting was added to keep training on schedule and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
“The idea is to get the brigade involved as much as possible, because that leads to good outcomes with CS 13,” said Tom Eberle, PEO C3T’s technical “trail boss” assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. “What the training allows them to do is to identify how the system is supposed to work. We wanted to help them help themselves. So we’re training the units to do that.”
The SoS training also focuses on “crew drills” that cross-train a collective crew on CS 13 systems — both mounted and dismounted — to ensure an overall understanding of how the systems function as a group in various mission scenarios.
CS 13 systems provide mobile satellite and robust radio capability connecting all echelons of a brigade combat team down to the dismounted Soldier, while improving battlefield awareness and reducing units’ reliance on fixed infrastructure. This becomes increasingly important as U.S. forces continue to draw down and carry out advise-and-assist missions with the Afghan National Security Forces, turning over many of their Forward Operating Bases and other infrastructure and gradually losing fixed network locations.
Using CS 13, the 4th and 3rd BCTs, 10th Mountain Division (4/10 and 3/10) are exchanging information while on the move in treacherous terrain and digitally tracking and communicating with small groups of dismounted Soldiers who have spread out to remote locations as they advise their Afghan partners.
As the Army’s first two units to receive CS 13 over the past year, both 4/10 and 3/10 faced an accelerated timeline for training with the equipment prior to deployment. As they completed their training exercises, the units recorded their experiences to pass along to their counterparts in 3/101 and 2/101. This input directly influenced the new SoS training concept, and highlighted the need for the Army to simplify network systems for the end user.
“Our big focus with this equipment is effective management of communications,” said Chief Warrant Officer II Johnathan Bradley, a network technician with the 3/101. “It’s making it possible for anybody to operate the equipment that needs to operate it. The end state is to get these guys familiar enough with the equipment that they know when something is wrong and can mold it where it needs to go.”
The 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), will continue training on CS 13 for the next several months prior to possible deployment in 2014.
The SoS training will evolve as the Army incorporates additional lessons learned from Afghanistan and from the Network Integration Evaluations, semi-annual events that leverage the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, conducting rigorous mission scenarios in a realistic operational environment at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Those lessons are continuously folded into the Army’s tactics, techniques and procedures, so each unit can make optimal use of the equipment they receive and innovate new methods of use.
As it continues for future units, the SoS training will empower Soldiers and leaders with the technical knowledge to ensure the right information is delivered at the right time to make crucial mission command decisions. By fielding the network in Capability Sets, the Army is providing scalable and tailorable equipment that is responsive to what the commander needs to execute current and future missions.
Education and training opportunities
Congratulations to Newly Selected Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows:
Congratulations to the Year Group 14 (YG 14) CDG/AAF inductees. The YG 14 inductees are:
- Kyle Bruner, Program Executive Office (PEO) Combat Support & Combat Service Support
- Monica Clemons, Army Contracting Command
- Kelly Courtney, Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM)
- Walter Hamm, Army Contracting Command
- Lauren McNew, PEO Command, Control, Communications-Tactical
- David Oatley, RDECOM
- Maurice Stephens, Communications-Electronics Command
The CDG/AAF Program is a three-year leadership program that offers competitively selected GS-12/13s (or broad/pay band equivalent) expanded leadership training and experience opportunities.
Defense Acquisition University-Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF): The DAU-SSCF announcement will open Jan. 29 and close April 2, 2014. This Military Education Level One (MEL-1) Army approved Senior Service College Fellowship provides SSC equivalency at your local commuting area if you live in either Maryland (APG), Alabama (Huntsville) or Michigan (Warren). The purpose of the SSCF Program is to provide leadership and acquisition training to prepare senior level civilians for senior leadership roles such as product and project managers, program executive officers and other key acquisition leadership positions. Participants not only graduate from a SSC, but will also complete the Army Program Managers Course (PMT 401), and have the option to complete a master’s degree. For additional information on this great GS-14/15 Senior Service College, go to the DAU-SSCF website.
The announcement will be offered through the Army Acquisition Professional Development System (AAPDS). To access AAPDS, login at the Career Acquisition Management Portal (CAMP). Next, click on Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAPPMIS). Once in CAPPMIS, select the “AAPDS” tab, and then select the “Application Module” link. Click on “Apply” and view all Army DACM available opportunities.
REMINDER: Applicants must to complete Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course prior to the start of the fellowship.
School of Choice (SOC): There will not be a SOC Announcement in FY14 due to the current fiscal environment. Should a command have an urgent need to send a high performing workforce member to obtain his/her Bachelor or Masters Degree during duty-time, please contact the AET Branch Chief, Scott Greene, to discuss potential for the DACM office to fund.
Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP):
Now in its 4th FY, ALCP is quickly becoming the foundation of Army acquisition civilian leadership development. This two-and-a-half day leadership experience challenges students to examine themselves and their environments in order to become stronger leaders within their current and future organizations.
The Army Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office has split our FY14 offerings into four quarters. The announcement for Q3 will be open Feb. 10 – March 10, 2014.
NOTE: ALCP will not be announced using AAPDS. If interested, please contact your command/organization Acquisition Career Management Advocate (ACMA) or Organizational Acquisition POC (OAP) to obtain a command allocation.
OFFERING DATE COURSE LEVEL LOCATION WHO MAY ATTEND ANNOUNCEMENT DATES* Jan. 13-15, 2014 ALCP I Atlanta, Ga. All-WF GS12/13 Closed Jan. 15-17 ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 Closed Feb. 24-26 ALCP I Alexandria, Va. Local-WF GS12/13 Closed Feb. 26-28 ALCP I Alexandria Local-WF GS14/15 Closed March 3-4 ALCP B Aberdeen, Md. Local-WF GS07-11 Closed March 17-19 ALCP I Orlando, Fla. Local-WF GS12/13 Closed March 19-21 ALCP I Orlando, FL Local-WF GS12/13 Closed April 28-30 ALCP I Aberdeen Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10 April 30 – May 2 ALCP I Aberdeen Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10 May 19-21 ALCP I Atlanta All-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10 May 21-23 ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 Feb. 10 – March 10 June 9-11 ALCP I Warren, Mich. Local-WF GS12/13 Feb. 10 – March 10 June 11-13 ALCP II Warren Local-WF GS14/15 Feb. 10 – March 10 June 23-24 ALCP B Huntsville, Ala. Local-WF GS07-11 Feb. 10 – March 10 July 28-30 ALCP I Huntsville Local-WF GS12/13 TBD July 30 – Aug. 1 ALCP I Huntsville Local-WF GS14/15 TBD Aug. 18-20 ALCP I Atlanta All-WF GS12/13 TBD Aug. 20-22 ALCP II Atlanta All-WF GS14/15 TBD Aug. 25-26 ALCP B Atlanta All-WF GS07-11 TBD Aug. 27-28 ALCP B Atlanta All-WF GS07-11 TBD
Having trouble keeping the dates straight? All of the opening and closing dates are also posted to the USAASC Events Calendar.
Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training
- FY14 DAU Course Registration: Students should continue to apply to the FY14 schedule using AITAS. Planning and applying early will afford students better opportunity in obtaining a class in the timeframe requested. Encourage your supervisor to approve your training request as soon as you apply. Supervisors must approve the training request in Army Training Requirements (ATRRS) and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) for application processing by USAASC registration office. Students should view the DAU iCatalog to ensure they meet the prerequisite(s), prior to applying to a DAU course. Workforce members and their supervisors should plan their training and ensure they have adequate time to complete prerequisite training prior to attend the follow on course. Reservations in follow on courses are cancelled if prerequisite requirements are not met.
- It is imperative the student and supervisor email address is listed correctly on the AITAS student profile. Please apply through the AITAS. For more information on DAU training to include, systematic instructions, training priority definition or FAQs, please visit USAASC’s DAU Training webpage.
- TDY Funding for DAU classes: Students should apply to the classes available in the next cost-effective location. We received reduced DAU travel funds for FY14. USAASC will only fund Priority 1 and 2 students travel to cost effective locations.
- Low fill Classes: A weekly low-fill listing, posted weekly on DAU’s website, allows students the opportunity to attend classes coming up in the next 60 days. Low-fill classes within 60 days from the start date of the class are available on a first-come, first-served basis for students priority 2 and 40 days for priority 3-5 students. Please remember that even if a class is on the low-fill list, students must choose the designated cost-effective location for their training.
- Alternate Delivery Method Courses: In a constrained fiscal environment, DAU is looking at using innovative delivery methods to provide the same level of seat capacity of 57,000, at the same time providing effective learning assets. Alternate delivery methods for student pilots include video teleconferencing (VTC), Telepresence using high definition resolution, Defense Connect Online (DCO), and flipped classroom. The pilots will continue to run until the end of FY14. DAU hopes to offer alternate delivery courses on the FY15 schedule. Upcoming pilots include Telepresence for three FE 301 offerings (Fort Belvoir, Huntsville, Ala., and California, Md.) and PMT 401 (Kettering Ohio). ACQ 370 will be conducted in April 2014 at Chester Va. using flipped classroom format.
- College of Contract Management (CCM): CCM is now a new business unit under DAU with the primary goal to support tailored training for Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) employees. DAU will deploy two new resident courses offered under CCM, CMA 211 – Joint Government Flight Representative (GFR) and CMA 221 – Joint Government Ground Representative (GGR). This is a certification course, which is intended for those who will serve as an appointed GFR, or GGRs. If you are a supervisor/commander, contracting officer, contractor employee, or of another nonaircraft-operations discipline who is interested in this subject matter, please pursue the Continuous Learning Module, CLX 110, “Fundamentals of GRF and GGR.”
- FY15 Schedule Build: The Army DACM is responsible for submitting the Army’s DAU training demand. Commands and PEOs are solicited to host DAU onsites in FY15. Army DAU onsites are classes hosted by a command or organization. The intent of the onsites is to bring localized required DAU Training to the students to save on travel cost. Onsites are ideal locations where DAU main or satellite campus is not available locally. Army onsites will be included in the Army’s consolidated seat demand to DAU. Once finalized, the FY15 schedule will be available for student registration on Thursday, 15 May 2014.
- If you have questions on any Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience (AETE) programs or DAU Training, please contact the the AETE Branch Chief Scott Greene @ email@example.com
By Susan L. Follett
Trying to determine the best way to manage civilian career development can be daunting, given the array of available tools and requirements. Staying current on the latest websites and their features is a vital part of that effort.
Scott Greene, Acquisition Education & Training Branch chief from the Office of the Army Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, recently took some time to explain how the newly released GoArmyEd can help the Army acquisition community with career development tasks.
GoArmyEd, which went live in September, is a role-based portal that centralizes and standardizes the management of education benefit policies and funds while coordinating the activities of key stakeholders. Soldiers and Army civilians may use GoArmyEd to electronically request tuition assistance, training, and leadership development programs as well as access and manage their education records.
Army G-3/5/7 administrative users, including supervisors, career program managers, training managers, and Headquarters, Department of the Army G-3/5/7, can use GoArmyEd to respond to support requests, manage funds, approve training applications and registration requests, record and track completions, and manage school and vendor invoices based on the permissions of assigned administrative role.
The system offers toll-free helpdesk support, automated email confirmations and alerts, and self-service registration for on-duty courses.
“GoArmyEd is a great tool,” said Greene, “but it’s important to note that it’s not yet integrated with legacy systems like the Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System [CAPPMIS] that are used by the Army Acquisition Workforce.
“Army civilians will continue to be required to maintain an Acquisition Individual Development Plan [IDP] in CAPPMIS,” he explained. “And until an IT solution is developed for our acquisition-unique requirements, they may be required by their career program, to also maintain an IDP in Army Career Tracker, the system of record for Army IDPs for enlisted soldiers, officers and Army civilians. Continuous learning points, IDPs, and certifications must also be kept current within CAPPMIS/ Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System (ACTEDS).”
Greene offered simple steps for which systems to use. For any DACM-sponsored tuition assistance program that requires an SF-182, the SF-182 must be created and processed within the CAPPMIS Army Acquisition Professional Development System.
“GoArmyEd is a great tool, but it’s important to note that it’s not yet integrated with legacy systems like the Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System.”
For training, education or other non-DACM training funded through ACTEDS or your command or organization, apply for those courses in GoArmyEd. Any document generation—the SF-182, for example—will be done there.
Efforts are underway to integrate the legacy systems with GoArmyEd so users will have just one source to access. Once that’s complete, Army civilians will be able to use GoArmyEd to process online training applications, SF-182 authorizations, and certification of training requests for centrally and command-funded training and professional development classes. The timetable for that integration is currently under development and not expected until at least mid-FY15.
“We highly suggest exploring GoArmyEd to familiarize yourself with what it has to offer, so users will be ready to access it when the integration happens,” Greene said. GoArmyEd features roughly 20 training videos for Army civilians on the key functions they’re likely to use, and roughly 30 administrative user training documents guide users through each of the administrative GoArmyEd functions used to support Army civilians.
By Thomas Peske
CRANE, Ind. – Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) completed a GPS pilot program that will help increase safety and efficiency for ammunition crews while working on the 100-square-mile, heavily-wooded Naval Support Activity Crane base.
During the 60-day pilot program held under the supervision of the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, 20 GPS devices were placed in vehicles and tracked by Crane Army Operations Center. The devices provide 100 percent visibility of all internal movement of munitions, crews and heavy lifting equipment.
“With CAAA being in the business of receiving, shipping and storing of Class V (conventional ammunition) it is critical we have the ability of knowing the crews locations,” Crane Army Depot Operations Coordinator Steve Cummings said. “In past years we have had some weather incidents, such as snow, ice and tornados, where the command had to account for 100 percent of the personnel. With GPS we can isolate the non-responders’ location to check on their safety. GPS will help us better utilize the crews in a given area by minimizing their relocation time and distance to respond to a given task. It gives us the ability to utilize real time dispatching of crews and equipment.”
Cummings said that due to the terrain and size of Crane, CAAA needed to perform the test to see if it was able to provide an acceptable level functionality and usability. The testing helps to identify and mitigate dead spots and ensure enough infrastructure is in place to effectively generate the hypothesized benefits.
This is not the first time that Crane Army utilized GPS in tracking its crews, but a change in logistics-tracking software caused that system to be unsupportable. Cummings said, “This GPS system is similar but has newer technology incorporated. This is also a system that can be embedded into SAVI SmartChain. SAVI is developing technology to be able to link the GPS data to a task.”
The technology will allow Crane Army planners to study results for efficiencies. According to Justin Farrell, a Joint Munitions Command employee whose role is to guide and facilitate the collaborative integration of GPS at Crane Army, the system will synergize the information about vehicles and tasks going into the operations center.
Farrell said, “GPS allows managers to have total visibility of resources and infrastructure spread across the depot landscape. Leaning forward, you can capture dwell time, down time, average utilizations, and baseline work standards, while always maintaining real time accountability of infrastructure.”
The use of technology to maximize efficiencies is seen as a key part of Crane Army’s effort to remain ready and reliant.
“As the Army begins reshaping itself for the future, we must take extraordinary measures to maintain our best practices,” Crane Army Site Manager for SmartChain Victor Wampler explained. “Using technology is one way that we can help make this happen. By leveraging GPS technology, it will be easier and more efficient for Crane Army to ensure that we are utilizing our workforce and equipment in the most efficient way possible. The use of GPS would allow for the realization of cost savings in the new fiscal climate DOD now must work in.”
Once the GPS system is worked out, it can be applied to all the government-owned, government-operated ammunition depots across the JMC enterprise. Farrell said, “JMC enterprise will benefit from enhanced force protection during weather/safety events, creating a baseline for time standards for executing logistics functions, and ensuring maximum utilization of precious resources and infrastructure.”
Safety and funding are still questions that will need to be answered before implementation could happen. If the data from the testing proves successful, a system that is fully integrated with SmartChain could come online in 9-10 months.
Established Oct. 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components. Crane Army maintains up to one third of the DOD’s conventional ammunition inventory. The Activity also provides command oversight of Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Letterkenny Munitions Center, Pa., and Milan Army Ammunition Center, Tenn.
By Amy Walker, PEO C3T
FORT BLISS, Texas (Dec. 9, 2013) — Brigade and battalion command posts, the heart of battlefield operations, are more mobile and agile than ever before, and through ongoing improvements in network capability, the Army is increasing their ability to move forward in the fight while retaining commanders’ critical situational awareness.
Current technologies such as Warfighter Information Network Tactical, known as WIN-T, Increment 2, the Army’s mobile tactical communications network backbone, and emerging solutions like the Modular Integrated Command Post, or MiCP — a vehicle that efficiently provides networking equipment and power to support a command post — are enhancing a commander’s ability to lead from anywhere on the battlefield.
“We are a maneuver unit that has to be mobile, lethal and expeditionary; if we are not able to move with our systems then we are really disadvantaged,” said Col. Thomas Dorame, commander for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the operational unit for the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, exercises. “Right now utilizing WIN-T Increment 2 and mission command on the move, I am able to extend the operational reach for the brigade, but more importantly, as units continue to move, to make contact with the enemy, we are able to provide them updated information from any location.”
As part of the Army’s modular expeditionary force, brigade Tactical Command Posts, referred to simply as TACs, replicate the critical mission command and communication systems found in units’ much larger Tactical Operations Centers, known as TOCs. Both TACs and TOCs are stationary and don’t possess full operational capability when in transit to new locations, but the TAC’s robust at-the-halt network capability can be torn down, moved and set up in a fraction of the time that it takes to reconstruct the full blown TOC.
The smaller TAC’s mission command and communications capabilities are tailorable and scalable and can be rearranged depending upon mission requirements. When the commander needs to move his main TOC forward on the battlefield, he will send the TAC ahead first to retain the unit’s operational network capability. Once the TAC is set up in its new location, the larger TOC can then move forward with minimal disruption to battlefield operations.
“WIN-T Increment 2 improves commanders’ flexibility since they can ‘jump’ their TACs and the TOCs much faster now, without loss of situational awareness,” said Lt. Col. LaMont Hall, product manager for WIN-T Increment 2. “They can simultaneously command and control from either location, or from their WIN-T Increment 2 -equipped vehicles.”
Fielded since 2004, WIN-T Increment 1 provides Soldiers with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications down to the battalion level. WIN-T Increment 2, which began fielding last year, enhances these capabilities by providing an on the move network that extends down to the company level. Both increments are deployed in Afghanistan today as part of the Army’s interoperable tactical communications network architecture.
WIN-T Increment 2- equipped TACs and TOCs leverage Tactical Communications Nodes and advanced Satellite Transportable Terminals for satellite communications, which enable them to cover greater distances. In the past commanders could only jump their TACs as far as they could get their line-of-sight radio relay set up, approximately 10 to 15 kilometers. Now with WIN-T Increment 2′s beyond line-of-sight satellite communications, a commander can move his TAC an unlimited distance, Hall said.
“The commander is able to keep full situational awareness at all times,” said Lt. Col. Ernest Tornabell, brigade communications officer for 2/1 AD. “He can go from the stationary TOC or TAC into his WIN-T Increment 2 Point-of-Presence-equipped vehicle, which has virtually everything [communication and mission command capabilities] that he had at the stationary locations; it gives him the ability to be driving on the road at 25 mph and continue to command the fight.”
To help incrementally advance network technologies such as WIN-T, the Army leverages its NIEs, semi-annual Soldier-led evaluations in the realistic operational testing environments of Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The Army also uses the events to introduce emerging industry solutions that could potentially satisfy network capability gaps.
During NIE 14.1, which wrapped up in mid November, the brigade TAC was integrated into a new mobile command post based on a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle with expandable sides that could be set up or torn down in under an hour, making it even more maneuverable, scalable and agile than the traditional TAC tent. When the brigade TAC was set up in its stationary location, its communication and mission command laptops and screens were connected to the MiCP, an NIE system under evaluation, which provided the servers, network connectivity and power to the TAC. Since the TAC servers were located on the MiCP vehicle, they were always ready to be quickly reconnected with the network equipment in the TAC directly after a jump, instead of having to be torn down and set up again.
Integrated onto a survivable MaxxPro mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle, the MiCP solution significantly reduces size, weight, and power — thermal and cost requirements. The capabilities of two legacy Command Post Platforms, currently used to provide the necessary communications equipment to operate and support a TOC or TAC, were combined into just one mobile platform. MiCP provides advanced communication through a modern suite of information systems, networking devices and tactical radios, as well as the unique ability to generate electrical power from its own transmission through its On Board Vehicle Power system. MiCP will also be evaluated at NIE 14.2 this spring.
“MiCP helps the commander be more flexible in where he can go and how quickly he can set up and establish [operations] at the halt by having to just connect a few cables instead of two sets of vehicles coming to the halt and setting up both of those,” Tornabell said.
As the Army continues to modernize its network and make it easier for Soldiers to learn and operate, the force will increase its agility and ability to conduct current, evolving and future missions. The depth and breadth of information available at Soldiers’ fingertips, both in and out of the TOC, is also increasing, facilitating collaboration down to the lowest echelons and across the entire brigade combat team.
“Operationally, we want to fight to the fullest extent with our great network and communication capabilities, and now we are able to extend out a lot further,” Dorame said. “We are able to receive back reports with a better clarity and fidelity to allow commanders at battalion and brigade level to make faster decisions with better resolution and less risk to the overall force.”