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Battlespace Information Systems

Army Communications Facility Centralizes Key Elements

March 1, 2013
BY Robert K. Ackerman

Aberdeen Proving Ground becomes the home of high-techology development, validation and deployment.

Consolidating its communications-electronics assets in a single location has given the U.S. Army vital resources and flexibility that it needs to address its changing information technology demands during a time of transition. This transition is twofold: not only is Army communications absorbing new commercial technologies and capabilities, the Army itself also is facing substantial changes as a force that has been overseas for more than a decade is redeploying back to its U.S. bases.

Some long-established programs have evolved to, or have been transitioned into, wholly new programs. These programs lend themselves to the new centralized approach, which is improving their implementation processes. Having research elements in the same location, as well as access to networked laboratory facilities at distant locations, is generating efficiencies that continue to be discovered as advanced communications and electronics technologies are developed for incorporation into the force.

The Base Closure and Realignment, or BRAC, process consolidated several Army elements, including the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. They are grouped under the umbrella Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Center of Excellence. One of these elements, the Program Executive Office (PEO) Command Control Communications-Tactical (C3T), is tasked with providing soldiers with tactical communications and computer systems.

The Tactical Edge Sees Data Interoperability

November 1, 2012
By Capt. Mike Stephens, USAF, and Frank Klucznik

Different command and control systems are closer to enjoying Web interoperability as a result of experiments performed in coalition exercises. Protocols and processes developed by defense information technology experts can enable data to be exchanged among the services as well as in coalition operations.

Not Your 
Father's J-6

October 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The newly reconstituted Joint Staff office is not just picking up where the previous version left off.

A U.S. Navy information systems technician troubleshoots network equipment onboard the USS Carl Vinson. Future U.S. military platforms may be designed with space designated for communications equipment, which would be incorporated after the platform rolls off the assembly line.

After a two-year organizational hiatus, the Joint Staff J-6 billet is back with a new focus on interoperability and enterprisewide networking capabilities. These new authorities come as the military seeks to exploit commercial mobile communications technologies to an increasing degree with results that could change the nature of defense networking as well as its procurement.

All of the issues that have defined defense information technology utilization—interoperability, security, rapid technology insertion—are part of the thrusts being launched by the new J-6. Even the very nature of requirements may change as industry adopts the new approaches being endorsed by the Joint Staff’s new information office.

“This is not the same J-6 that existed before,” declares Maj. Gen. Mark S. Bowman, USA, director of command, control, communications and computers (C4), J-6, and chief information officer (CIO), the Joint Staff. “It is very different.”

DISA Strategic Plan Seeks to Eliminate Ambiguities

September 12, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The defense information technology realm is exploding with innovation—so much so, the organizations tasked with ensuring effective information systems run the risk of losing control of both the process and its capabilities. The Defense Information Systems Agency has issued a new strategic plan that outlines its approach to ensuring advanced technology implementation without reining in innovation.


Software Drives Future Army Communications

November 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

U.S. Army communications is more likely to be software-driven in the future as radios increasingly resemble specialized computers. Apps will be driving advances, and computer-like acquisition policies for radios will help speed cutting-edge technology to the field.

A Top-Secret Smartphone Could Become Reality

November 2011
By Capt. Steven Pugh, USAF, SIGNAL Magazine

MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES ARE ADVANCING at a blistering pace, and the old way of communicating is being relegated to the history books. The question many government customers are asking right now is, “When do we get these new mobile platforms?” The answer might be surprising.

Moving to Mobile

November 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Defense Department may become its own cellular provider. This move, which would involve centralizing control of mobile devices, would improve security and potentially save money.

At-Sea Wireless Options Continue To Grow

November 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Navy is outfitting its ships with unclassified wireless networks that will allow sailors and marines to move around a vessel with laptops and personal digital assistants.

Wireless Gateway to Connect Warfighters

November 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new radio undergoing trials with the U.S. military soon may allow joint and coalition warfighters’ legacy radios to interoperate without the need for human-directed spectrum management. The radio combines several technologies that allow it to serve as a gateway linking disparate radios and datalinks together into a digital network. The radio is able to avoid the interference and disruptions common to wireless communications in tactical battlefield environments.

Cell Phones on the Front Lines

November 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. military and industry are developing a handheld device that will provide warfighters in the battlespace the same capabilities that are the lifeblood of most teenagers in developed countries: texting, data, voice and video-on-demand in the palms of their hands. Creating this information-sharing phenomenon takes more than just handing iPhones out to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Because warfighters often operate in places with less-than-ideal infrastructure and need secure channels, delivering these Swiss Army knives of communications gadgets requires stratospheric support.


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