U.S. Army preparing to field network systems to deploying brigades

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — As the Army’s third Net­work Inte­gra­tion Eval­u­a­tion con­cludes, the ser­vice in the midst of syn­chro­nized field­ing efforts as it pre­pares to field the first inte­grat­ed group of advanced tac­ti­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies to deploy­ing Sol­diers begin­ning this Octo­ber.

Pic­tured are net­worked vehi­cles at the Net­work Inte­gra­tion Eval­u­a­tion 12.2
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Armored Vehicles, Main Battle Tanks
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This group of net­worked tech­nolo­gies, known as Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13, is com­posed of net­work com­po­nents, asso­ci­at­ed equip­ment and soft­ware that will for the first time deliv­er an inte­grat­ed voice and data capa­bil­i­ty through­out the entire Brigade Com­bat Team, or BCT, for­ma­tion, from the brigade com­man­der to the tac­ti­cal edge — the dis­mount­ed Sol­dier.

The five-week Net­work Inte­gra­tion Eval­u­a­tion, known as NIE 12.2, val­i­dat­ed the con­nec­tiv­i­ty, archi­tec­ture and com­po­nents of Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13, the tac­ti­cal net­work base­line that will extend the net­work down to the indi­vid­ual Sol­dier and sig­nif­i­cant­ly enhance Mis­sion Com­mand On The Move and Sol­dier con­nec­tiv­i­ty.

The NIE is a key enabler of the Army’s new Agile Acqui­si­tion Process aimed at rapid­ly devel­op­ing, acquir­ing and field­ing inte­grat­ed mis­sion com­mand capa­bil­i­ties. This process allows the Army to assess capa­bil­i­ty gaps, rapid­ly form require­ments, solic­it mature indus­try solu­tions and per­form lab­o­ra­to­ry and field eval­u­a­tions — short­en­ing years off the tra­di­tion­al acqui­si­tion time­line.

The Army’s Capa­bil­i­ty Set field­ing plan sup­ports a syn­chro­nized vehi­cle and net­work field­ing strat­e­gy, pri­or­i­tizes capa­bil­i­ties for our deployed forces, and improves align­ment of lim­it­ed resources.

Begin­ning in Octo­ber, the Army will begin to field Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 to up to eight BCTs with pri­or­i­ty going to deployed forces (three BCTs), units sched­uled to deploy next (three BCT train­ing sets), a for­ward sta­tioned brigade in Korea, and the 2nd Heavy Brigade Com­bat Team, 1st Armored Divi­sion.

Key to this effort is bring­ing the Army’s Pro­gram Exec­u­tive Offices, or (PEOs, and Pro­gram Man­agers, known as PMs, togeth­er dur­ing the NIE/Agile Process using the Capa­bil­i­ty Set Inte­grat­ed Mas­ter Sched­ule, or IMS, for inte­gra­tion, pro­duc­tion and deploy­ment. The IMS is the back­bone of Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 as it serves to syn­chro­nize the net­work and vehi­cle PMs’ mas­ter sched­ules as they relate to inte­grat­ing and field­ing capa­bil­i­ty sets.

On May 1, the Army com­plet­ed the mine-resis­tant, ambush-pro­tect­ed, or MRAP, final design review, which solid­i­fied how Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 assets will be inte­grat­ed into that vehi­cle plat­form. MRAPs will be uti­lized in the first Infantry Brigade Com­bat team for­ma­tions that will be equipped with Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13.

The NIE has been vital to val­i­dat­ing MRAP net­work design and archi­tec­ture. Sol­dier feed­back out of the NIE process has lead to many design and user inter­face improve­ments that are cur­rent­ly being incor­po­rat­ed into the final MRAP con­fig­u­ra­tion. Under the cur­rent con­struct, net­worked Humvee plat­forms will be used as train­ing sets by con­ti­nen­tal U.S., or CONUS, units as they pre­pare to deploy. Work­ing with Army Research and Devel­op­ment Cen­ters and indus­try, Capa­bil­i­ty Set field­ing teams have near­ly com­plet­ed the Humvee pre­lim­i­nary design review.

Today, final engi­neer­ing draw­ings for the first five “super con­fig­u­ra­tion” MRAP pro­to­type vehi­cles are being final­ized at the U.S. Army Tank Auto­mo­tive Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter, or TARDEC, locat­ed in War­ren, Mich.

“We are begin­ning to build and test the Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 pro­to­types, which is an astro­nom­i­cal feat giv­en that we start­ed the pro­duc­tion design only six months ago,” said Eliz­a­beth Miller, chief engi­neer, syn­chro­nized field­ing, Sys­tem of Sys­tems Inte­gra­tion (SoSI) Direc­torate.

The remain­ing pro­to­type vehi­cles to be equipped with Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 will be built at the Space and Naval War­fare Sys­tems Com­mand, or SPAWAR, in Charleston, S.C., and the Red Riv­er Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas. SPAWAR will build the MRAP pro­duc­tion assets to sup­port the Octo­ber field­ing of Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13, while Humvee train­ing set pro­duc­tion will be done at Red Riv­er.

These vehi­cles will be used to sup­port safe­ty release test­ing and net­work ver­i­fi­ca­tion test­ing, both per­formed at Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground, Md.

As vehi­cle and sys­tem design and inte­gra­tion plans are final­ized, equip­ping meet­ings with receiv­ing units have swung into high gear. The first units to receive Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 will be two brigades in the 10th Moun­tain Divi­sion. Recent­ly, sev­er­al key Army com­mands and staff offices includ­ing U.S. Army Forces Com­mand, Army Materiel Com­mand, G‑3/5/7 and G‑8, SoSI and sev­er­al PEOs attend­ed a three-day Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 Unit Equip­ping and Reuse Con­fer­ence with the 10th Moun­tain Divi­sion in order to devel­op, syn­chro­nize and sched­ule all Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13 new equip­ment train­ing and field­ing require­ments aligned with the receiv­ing brigade’s train­ing sched­ule.

New equip­ment train­ing will begin with 10th Moun­tain Divi­sion units in Octo­ber.

“We are very excit­ed about the great inte­grat­ed capa­bil­i­ty that we will soon field to our brigade and Sol­diers,” said Lt. Col. Dar­by McNul­ty, SoSI. “The Agile Process and three con­sec­u­tive NIEs have built a very sol­id team across dozens of Army orga­ni­za­tions. We are tak­ing lessons learned from the NIEs and direct­ly apply­ing those to field­ing CS 13 to the 10th Moun­tain and oth­er units.”

Fol­low­ing the field­ing of Capa­bil­i­ty Set 13, the Army will pro­gram to field up to six BCT sets of net­work equip­ment per year for the fis­cal year 14–18 Pro­gram Objec­tive Mem­o­ran­dum in order to bet­ter syn­chro­nize its plat­form and net­work mod­ern­iza­tion efforts.

U.S. Army