The Army’s Future Is a Digital Convergence

March 9, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
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All of the service’s operations will depend on network supremacy.

Some of the U.S. Army’s most urgent requirements involve network capabilities that are necessary to keep ahead of new enemy assets. These challenges extend across the entire force as potential adversaries seek to define the battlespace to suit their own strengths.

Lt. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, described some of those points to the overflow audience at AFCEA’s March 9 Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia. He stated that peer adversaries know the Army has taken risks on modernization to speed necessary capabilities to the battlefield, and they have taken advantage of it. “We needed velocity over capabilities,” he reflected.

The force will need an effective converged mission network to combat the new capabilities being wielded and developed by enemies. “If we can’t protect our network, we provide our enemy a lot more advantage than they could gain,” Gen. Lundy pointed out.

And this network must be able to serve an Army on the move. “We must be able to operate more distributed,” the general stated. “The enemies we face today are fires based, and they use their maneuver forces for fires.”

Electronic warfare (EW), cyber and space all will be competitive, the general continued, adding that EW “is absolutely necessary for future warfare.” Accordingly, the importance of understanding the battlespace environment is more important than ever. “The [electromagnetic spectrum] is like any other environment out there, but we don’t have an appreciation of that spectrum,” he declared.

Gen. Lundy called for a network the Army can share with its partners but at the same time control what it shares. The service also needs better mobile communications that are easier to set up and use on the move. The general noted that a gap exists between FM line-of-sight radio and satellite communications, and he called for a solution to fill that gap.

Industry must be the source of many of these advances, and the general called for empowering the commercial sector. “We need to give industry the opportunity to provide us with options, because there are a lot of options out there,” he stated.

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