Select U.S. Army brigade combat teams headed to Afghanistan will soon receive components from the service's first integrated mobile network. The equipment package, known as Capability Set 13 (CS 13), could revolutionize combat operations and help the Army in its overarching modernization efforts.
Technology Editor George I. Seffers discusses the impact of the capabilities in his SIGNAL Magazine article, "Army Mobile Network Poised for Combat."
The Army aims to begin fielding CS 13 when the fiscal year begins on October 1, and the chosen units have already been notified of its impending arrival. Components of the network include the:
While most of the individual component have been evaluated and fielded on a smaller scale, this marks the first time the Army has combined systems into one unified release, says Maj. Bill Venable, USA, assistant program manager, System of Systems Integration Directorate.
"The advantage of the integrated network for Capability Set 13 is that-and it's really the first time we've ever done it like this-instead of fielding and training and deploying individual systems, we are endeavoring to integrate those on a targeted platform for a targeted mission for a targeted set of soldiers"
Off all the capabilities, Maj. Venable identified the WIN-T 2 communications network as the most revolutionary component for the Army. Rather than relying on face-to-face meetings to relay mission orders, the system will allow company commanders to download a document immediately and be on a conference call to review it within minutes. It also helps eliminate traditional communication barriers stemming from distance and physical obstacles.
But fielding CS 13 is just one piece of the entire modernization puzzle, which requires constant coordination and evaluation of existing processes. Ultimately, the efforts across the Army have one common goal: to get the best technology into soldiers' hands as quickly as possible.