A forcing function for integration

A forcing function for integration

A look at the systems, participants and firsts from more than a dozen NIEs. by Ms. Nancy Jones-Bonbrest The Army rolled out its new network modernization strategy with a flourish. On a Monday in May 2011, no fewer than 12 stars assembled for a news conference with the Pentagon press corps. Led by Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, then the vice chief of staff of the Army, the generals made the case for a new paradigm called the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), described by Chiarelli as “a revolutionary new approach.” Because of wartime necessity and the culture of the acquisition system, the Army had been developing and delivering individual components of […]

Center of the storm

Center of the storm

‘Trail bosses’ in evolving NIE, JWA seize the chance to grow professionally as their roles expand in planning and executing the large-scale exercises. by Ms. Nancy Jones-Bonbrest The Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs) and Joint Warfighting Assessments (JWAs) were meant to be fluid and flexible, adaptable to current demands. In keeping with that design, both events are undergoing sweeping changes that will improve the integration of emerging technologies and meet the call for readiness in an ever-changing global threat environment. As the Army shakes up the process, the people who conduct the NIEs and JWAs are also adapting their roles and responsibilities—and making the most of the opportunity to burnish […]

Army prepares to test enhanced network operation tools at NIE 16.2

Army prepares to test enhanced network operation tools at NIE 16.2

TAUNTON, Mass. (Jan. 19, 2016) — To make it easier for Soldiers to manage the vast tactical communications network, the Army plans to operationally evaluate newly enhanced and simplified network operations, or NetOps, tools during Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 16.2 this spring. The NetOps tool suite enables communications officers (S6s and G6s) and staff to provide a second set of eyes on the Army’s tactical communications network, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, ensuring Soldiers and commanders remain connected, communicating and synchronized. “NetOps provides a picture of actual on-the-move network battlefield conditions at all times, so if there is any break in the communications it is known right away,” said […]

Faces of the Force: Lt. Col. Brian Watson

Faces of the Force: Lt. Col. Brian Watson

POSITION AND UNIT: Chief of Platform Integration, Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 8 YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 18 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in program management; Level I in contracting EDUCATION: MBA, Colorado State University; B.S. in geology, Washington State University AWARDS: Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal (4 Oak Leaf Clusters); Parachutist Badge; Department of the Army Staff Badge Leveraging TARDEC’s ‘50-Pound Brains’ By Susan L. Follett Lt. Col. Brian Watson admits that, early in his development as a program manager, he didn’t devote a lot of attention to systems engineering. But that changed two years ago, […]

A two-for one approach accelerates the modernization of Mission Command

A two-for one approach accelerates the modernization of Mission Command

By Kathryn Bailey ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (May 19, 2015): When two organizations merge, they can’t miss a beat in meeting the demands of their customers – especially when those customers are Soldiers. Recognizing the one year anniversary this month, the combination of the Army’s Mission Command (PM MC) and Joint-Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) product offices has proven to be the right partnership to deliver modernized command post and mounted capabilities to the force. “Instead of having two organizations developing approaches on how to do mission command in their unique environments, we are now defining one holistic approach,” said Col. Michael Thurston, project manager for Mission Command. “When you do the […]

Army realigns tactical network initialization process for increased efficiency

Army realigns tactical network initialization process for increased efficiency

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 3, 2015) — Turn on a new computer for the first time and you are met with a few questions before the computer is registered and recognized. In Army command posts, Soldiers must also complete this initialization step when their communications hardware is first turned on, so it can recognize and exchange critical information with other systems across the battlefield. Only a year ago, this process required installing a disc preloaded with unit information known as data products. If something changed and revisions were needed, a new set of data products would have to be created, with units waiting up to 15 […]

Always Connected

Always Connected

Satellite communications network enables more expeditionary Army to move beyond the FOB By Mr. Darren LeBlanc For the past 13 years, much of the Army fought from forward operating bases (FOBs). The FOBs housed command posts with well-established network infrastructure, which served as an information “home base” for troops between patrols. That approach was well-suited to the operational environment and counterinsurgency mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, but future contingencies and support operations—even the current Ebola response mission in West Africa—demand more flexibility. Command posts must be smaller and more agile to support rapid deployment. Forces must be able to connect to critical information while en route to a developing situation. Network […]

Army simulates battlefield environment in labs to prepare for cyber threats

Army simulates battlefield environment in labs to prepare for cyber threats

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, PEO C3T and Matthew C. McVey, SoSE&I ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (August 4, 2014) — As new technologies are introduced into the Army’s network, they are evaluated during semi-annual, Soldier-driven operational exercises in the mountains and desert of Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Though the Soldier-executed test is the focus of these Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs), the overall success of the effort rests heavily on lab-based planning and integration testing back at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where months of risk reduction activities and evaluations are conducted prior to the operational event. After all, if the capability doesn’t work in the lab, it’s not […]

Network Forensics makes an impact at the Army’s NIE

Network Forensics makes an impact at the Army’s NIE

A potent mix of software and methodologies borrowed from civilian industry makes a tremendous impact for the Army’s large-scale technology evaluation By Ray K. Ragan FORT BLISS, Texas – The Army’s semi-annual, large-scale Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) saw the technology of network forensics make an impact at NIE 14.2, the latest NIE, which concluded earlier this month. The U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground (USAEPG) traditionally provides expertise in instrumentation for technology-based systems and is the Army’s designated tester for C4ISR systems, as part of the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). USAEPG supported the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, under ATEC, during this latest NIE. This year, in addition to […]

Wi-Fi, 4G LTE hits battlefield

Wi-Fi, 4G LTE hits battlefield

FORT BLISS, Texas (June 13, 2014) — The Army is introducing the power of 4G to the battlefield, providing coverage that stretches across a forward operating base so Soldiers can access mission information from their smartphones, not their desks. The 4G LTE infrastructure is part of a new collection of advanced commercial technologies, including coalition and first responder capabilities and Wi-Fi for command posts, that answer Soldiers’ demands for tactical network systems delivering increased bandwidth and enhanced capabilities in smaller packages. “Soldiers and commanders in tactical operations centers need more bandwidth for data intensive tasks like sending large PowerPoint files, maps, and full motion video,” said Lt. Col. Joel Babbitt, […]