NETWORK TEST: Sgt. 1st Class Joshua D. Geren tested the Squad Area Network at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, Sept. 10, 2020. The Squad Area Network is a part of the C5ISR Center’s non-traditional waveforms effort, dedicated to improving communications capabilities in electronic warfare operating environments. (Photo by Jasmyne Douglas, C5ISR Center)
Director discusses C5ISR Center reorganization in a bid to eliminate stovepipes and enable decision dominance.
by Joseph Welch
The Army is traditionally organized by function. A Soldier is assigned a military occupational specialty that falls under a specific branch (e.g., infantry branch or engineering branch). Each branch has its own schoolhouses and its own centers of excellence. Similarly, from an acquisition perspective, we have program executive offices structured to support different environments.
However, as we look to the future and what it will take for a multidomain operations-ready force to execute the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) framework—DOD’s effort to combine sensor information from all of the military services into a single network—we must be mindful of functional silos and stovepipes. Our success in multidomain operations depends upon developing an integrated set of capabilities working together and enabling decision-making at greater speeds than we’ve ever had before to beat the adversary’s decision and action cycles. Decision dominance requires the ability to sense, detect, locate, navigate, process, share, display, automate, protect, communicate and target—it’s a lot, and it all needs to work together.
The core capabilities of the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center underpin this concept. To ensure we are postured for success, we’ve taken steps to reduce our functional stovepipes and optimize our contribution to multidomain operations and the Army’s vision for the JADC2 concept. Most notably, we implemented a reorganization that is effective Oct. 1.
As a component of Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), we provide research, development, engineering and analytical expertise, expediting the delivery of near-, mid- and far-term C5ISR capabilities that allow Soldiers to be more lethal on the battlefield, today and tomorrow.
We support all six Army modernization priorities and all eight Army cross-functional teams, so you’ve almost certainly interacted with technology and capabilities we influenced, whether we delivered it, prototyped it, integrated it or provided the subject matter expertise to support cross-functional teams and program executive offices in their modernization efforts and acquisitions.
A PROUD PAST
Those contributions came out of our six legacy directorates, which made important contributions to Soldiers and joint service partners for decades.
From developing first-generation night vision devices during the Vietnam War to pioneering aided target recognition today, our Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate enabled countless U.S. troops to “own the night” and achieve battlefield overmatch. Previously known as Night Vision Labs, the directorate was instrumental in developing the forward-looking infrared program, producing multiple generations of high-performance thermal imaging systems for targeting and situational awareness. It also provided a variety of sensor technologies to locate and neutralize improvised explosive devices and mines, and to support humanitarian demining initiatives.
Our Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate has been a national leader in cyber operations, electronic warfare, signals intelligence, radar and information systems and processing technologies. For the past 20 years, it provided rapid support to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, including with the Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) Duke Version 3, the Vigilant Pursuit multi-intelligence system and the Warlock countermeasure protection system.
Our Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate made numerous contributions to support and enable the network. Among these were the research and development leading to the first generation of military mesh network radio communications systems, all the way up to the next-generation Warrior Robust Enhanced Network (WREN) waveform, which significantly improves communications range, network scalability, spectrum supportability, secure communications and resiliency.
Our Command, Power and Integration Directorate (CPID) provided a unique set of core competencies in mission command, operational energy and positioning, navigation and timing to develop, integrate and deliver innovative technology solutions. It developed the Distributed Analysis and Visualization Infrastructure for C4I, known as DaVinci, which provided a scalable digital command and control system with battle planning and execution monitoring functions. DaVinci-based products were used in Operation Iraqi Freedom and ultimately replaced the battle planning and visualization system used by III Corps, 4th Infantry Division, XVIII Airborne Corps and United States Forces Korea. CPID also played a key role in maturing a chip-scale atomic clock to support highly accurate location and battlefield situational awareness for weapons, weapon systems and dismounted Soldiers in the temporary absence of GPS.
Finally, our Product Realization Systems Engineering and Quality Assurance Directorate (PRD) and our Software Engineering Directorate (SED) both provided key life-cycle engineering and sustainment services to the C5ISR community, including program executive offices and life cycle management commands. PRD provided technical support and leadership throughout all phases of the product life cycle and SED conceptualized, developed and supported the fielding and sustainment of software products, services and technologies.
While these directorates had many successes, they were largely function-focused within specific technology areas and lacked the cross-collaboration necessary to provide integrated support to multidomain operations and JADC2. It was evident a model focused on S&T portfolio integration—mirroring the framework seen elsewhere in DEVCOM—would better enable internal and external collaboration, broaden our system-of-systems engineering approach to problem solving, and strengthen our ability to address more complex challenges and opportunities.
C5ISR Center missions are now streamlined into two core directorates, both headed by a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). The Research and Technology Integration Directorate is led by Dr. Donald Reago and the Engineering and Systems Integration Directorate is led by Michael Monteleone.
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION
All science and technology (S&T) portfolios fall under the Research and Technology Integration Directorate (RTI). RTI’s priority is to formulate effective S&T programs that are innovative, responsive to customer needs, structured to produce outputs that we can give to Soldiers for experimentation and refinement, and designed to produce technologies that our acquisition partners can easily transition and integrate.
RTI will improve S&T accountability and enable a strong management framework, with one leader responsible for project oversight, adjustments to meet emerging requirements, technology transition and delivery, and technical and financial planning, programming and execution. It also brings together many complementary areas of applied research and advanced technology development previously spread across the Center.
For example, under RTI we’ve combined the development of advanced sensors for ground and Soldier platforms with position, navigation and timing capabilities to address emerging sensor-to-shooter requirements in the JADC2 environment. To improve our contributions to the Army’s cyber strategy, we’ve consolidated our efforts supporting offensive and defensive cyber operations. We also combined our teams working within the radio frequency spectrum to leverage their common expertise and better support both blue (friendly) force communications and red (enemy) force sense, jam and defeat capabilities. RTI now hosts our research efforts in power and energy storage, generation and distribution capabilities alongside our S&T projects that rely on these advancements, and it consolidates our modeling and simulation environments to support all elements of the Center’s mission via comprehensive, high fidelity system representations that enable rapid analysis, prototyping and experimentation. Finally, the RTI directorate hosts our world-class talent center for advanced image and signal processing technologies as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning across our entire domain space.
ENGINEERING AND SYSTEMS INTEGRATION
The Engineering and Systems Integration (ESI) Directorate is streamlining and synchronizing our lab- and field-based experimentation and life-cycle engineering. This synergy, which runs from basic research through technology maturation and post-production support, provides an improved systems engineering approach to capability development, production and sustainment. The directorate will also help to clearly define and shape the way we experiment, collect data and inform stakeholders. The combined approach allows stakeholders to make informed decisions that best support Army modernization priorities.
ESI will enhance experimentation by bringing together all lab- and field-based risk reduction, prototyping and platform integration capabilities under a single directorate. This will better inform engineering designs across the S&T and acquisition communities and demonstrate how emerging technologies will actually perform in relevant, threat-based operational environments. ESI will also help the Army to holistically understand the nuances of delivering and validating data across a network that is joint and interoperable, while exploring how to manage and securely transmit trustworthy data as it traverses the Army’s network in a JADC2 environment. ESI optimizes our life-cycle engineering and sustainment functions across all elements of C5ISR, bridging S&T and fielded systems.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
The Center’s new structure provides the integrated approach necessary to achieve decision dominance while standardizing key processes and streamlining cross-organizational efforts in support of our S&T and lifecycle engineering missions.
Our support for the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) is a good example of how this integrated concept is already working. Not only are we addressing the sensors and augmented reality components, we are also developing a conformable, longer-running battery to power them. Passing that sensor data will be important, so we’re using our lab- and field-based experimentation venues to evaluate industry radios being considered for the IVAS Soldier network. Finally, we want our Soldiers to maintain situational awareness capabilities whether mounted or dismounted, so we’re using our prototyping and integration facilities to explore how best to integrate IVAS onto aircraft and ground combat vehicles to give Soldiers a better understanding of the battlespace before they enter it.
Before, the program of record would have dealt with up to six individual organizations to accomplish these tasks. Now, there is a single point of entry to the Center that coordinates across our capabilities and expertise to provide quicker, streamlined, holistic support.
Our new structure also gives our scientists, engineers and business professionals the opportunity to expand their horizons, get involved in multiple functional areas and use their talents as broadly as possible. This will help us build a culture of greater collaboration, innovation and creativity, better supporting career development and job satisfaction for our employees while improving capabilities that will ensure our Soldiers remain the most dominant land force in the world.
We are committed to developing and maintaining a unified, integrated C5ISR culture and clear lines of communication within the organization. We also intend to simplify how our partners and stakeholders within the acquisition community, DEVCOM and industry interact with us.
There’s never been a better time to align to the future, and we are ensuring our organizational posture, structure, processes and culture are enabling us to deliver the best integrated capability possible to the warfighter. The reshaped C5ISR Center is well positioned to address the Army’s modernization priorities and deliver capabilities supporting multidomain operations through 2035 and beyond.
For more information, go to https://c5isr.ccdc.army.mil/.
JOSEPH WELCH is the director of the C5ISR Center, a component of DEVCOM. He holds a Master of Engineering degree in systems engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and a B.S. in electrical engineering and economics from Tufts University. He is DAU Level III certified in program management and engineering, and he is a member of the Army Acquisition Corps.