• Brig. Gen. (P) Brian J. Mennes, USA, director of force management, HQDA, deputy chief of staff, G-3/7, describes the operational environment at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia.
     Brig. Gen. (P) Brian J. Mennes, USA, director of force management, HQDA, deputy chief of staff, G-3/7, describes the operational environment at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia.

Army Moves to Adapt-and-Buy Strategy

March 7, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
E-mail About the Author

With this new approach, the service asked industry to propose solutions to four of its top problems.


The U.S. Army is overhauling its relationship with technology providers to incorporate a new class of capabilities that will enable survivable, protected, intuitive, standards-based, interoperable, sustainable and, above all, highly mobile networks. To obtain these types of technologies, the service plans to assume a position where it is articulating its intent, a process that’s being described as “adapt and buy.”

To support this new process, AFCEA asked industry to submit solutions to some of the service’s top challenges as part of the AFCEA International Army Signal Conference. Nearly two dozen abstracts were received from companies of all sizes. Eight were presented at the conference.

The Army identified these four areas as problems the service and joint force must address today and in the near future:

  • Unlicensed Long Term Evolution (LTE). The Army is challenged to fully deploy LTE capabilities to date and would like to include operating on host nation cellular networks—when available and prudent—in its network strategy.
  • Spectrum Agility. For the Army to realize its future networking objectives, it must maximize its use of available spectrum.
  • Mobile Ad Hoc Vulnerabilities. The Army wants to better understand the cyberspace security and operations implications of a fully employed mobile ad hoc networking environment at the tactical edge.
  • Reduction of Electromagnetic Signatures. The Army envisions future command posts that emit minimal signatures, making them more difficult to detect.

The AFCEA Technology Committee reviewed all the abstracts, which are available online; the Army’s chief information officers will receive the compendium.

Among the approaches to addressing the LTE issues, Booz Allen Hamilton proposes a way to deploy technology in the 5 gigahertz (GHz) unlicensed bands to augment licensed spectrum.

Technica Corp.’s proposal tackles the spectrum agility challenge. The company has designed a communications interference monitor using sequential element space processing and deep learning that collects data about the frequency extent and modulation of potential interference.

Michael Chung, head of government solutions at Bugcrowd Inc., proposes that the Army better understand how adversaries could compromise mobile ad hoc networks and pre-empt the threat. He describes a new cyber Army comprising Intrusion Detection Support Units to monitor traffic flow and packet types to identify attacks and Vulnerability Assessment Units to focus on revealing vulnerabilities before and during deployments.

To reduce electromagnetic signatures, Kevin Helmick, president, Technical Control Consultants, suggests JERICHO, a solution that uses technology and tactical fiber to extend transmitters outside the wire and mitigate radio frequency-seeking weapon attacks.

Coverage of the AFCEA Army Signal Conference March 6-9 in Springfield, Virginia, is available on the SIGNAL Media website.

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