Army

June 8, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers test M1A2 Abrams tanks during a live-fire accuracy screening test at Fort Bliss, Texas, in October. U.S. Army researchers intend to integrate the FIRESTORM artificial intelligence system with the Abrams for Project Convergence 2021 to be held in October and November. Credit: Army Staff Sgt. Kris Bonet

Both soldiers and combat commanders likely will get hands-on experience in the coming months with one of the Army’s hottest new artificial intelligence systems known as FIRESTORM.

The artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled system, formally named FIRES Synchronization to Optimize Responses in Multi-Domain Operations, still is in the science and technology phase and is not yet a formal program of record. It ingests data from sensors and other systems, uses One World Terrain to map the battlefield and recommends the best weapon system to engage specific targets, saving commanders precious time for making decisions. Prior technologies took almost 20 minutes to relay data back to warfighters. FIRESTORM takes 32 seconds.

May 27, 2021
 

BAE Systems Information and Electronics Systems Integration, Nashua, New Hampshire, was awarded a $21,642,248 modification (P00002) to contract W58RGZ-21-D-0023 for life cycle contractor support for the Limited Interim Missile Warning System quick reaction capability. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2022. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-21-D-0023).

May 27, 2021
 

Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, was awarded a $7,787,143 firm-fixed-price contract for research focusing on sensor analytics and remote sensing, geo-materials, steel and future technologies for force protection. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Mississippi State, Mississippi, with an estimated completion date of May 26, 2023. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation, Army funds in the amount of $5,007,896 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi, is the contracting activity (W912HZ-21-C-0022).

June 2, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
At Fort Carson, Colorado, modified Bradley Fighting Vehicles, known as Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrators, and modified M113 tracked armored personnel carriers, or Robotic Combat Vehicles, were used for the Soldier Operational Experimentation (SOE) Phase 1 to further develop learning objectives for the Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) concept. Credit: Jerome Aliotta, CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center

The U.S. Army released its annual budget last Friday, requesting $173 billion for fiscal year 2022. The amount reflects $3.6 billion in cuts from the service’s enacted FY2021 budget. The need to reduce expenditures had Army officials evaluating which priorities to continue to pursue and which efforts to drop. Funding for the service’s six modernization priorities and its so-called 31+4 signature efforts were not included in the cuts.

June 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies has developed a test bed for evaluating a wide array of virtual reality, augmented reality, extended reality and artificial intelligence systems used for military purposes.  Metamorworks/Shutterstock

Researchers at the Institute for Creative Technologies built the Rapid Integration and Development Environment, a test bed for evaluating modeling and simulation technologies for internal use. But the system, which plays a role in creating the Army’s Tactical Computing Environment, is finding users across the Defense Department and in the defense industry.

May 18, 2021
 

BAE Systems Information and Electronics, Burlington, Massachusetts, was awarded a $9,652,584 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to research, design and develop a Weapons Integrated Navigation System prototype. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Burlington, Massachusetts, with an estimated completion date of July 13, 2024. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation, Army funds in the amount of $2,300,173 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W912CG-21-C-0007).

May 19, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, USA (Ret.), senior strategic advisor at Deloitte Consulting, stresses that diversity is important for the Army to pursue when recruiting younger soldiers as well as with leadership. “Soldiers want the leadership to be attuned to this,” he says. “They want the leadership to look like them, whether it's gender, ethnicity, you name it. They want a diverse workforce.” Credit: Shutterstock/travelview

The pandemic propelled an immediate shift to remote working, with the U.S. Army quickly adding to its digital infrastructure to support its personnel, with a 400 percent increase in remote network capabilities, reports Deloitte Consulting. Going forward, the service must now negotiate how to lead a workforce that in many cases wants to stay remote. The Army faces other challenges in recruiting and retaining soldiers and civilians, especially going into the era of multidomain operations, or MDO, the consultants say.

May 18, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence (CCoE) at Fort Gordon, Georgia, is creating a new pilot program to allow soldiers to access training before deploying, when they are at their units or when they find they are lacking in a skill. It will also let managers know in which areas a soldier is strong, says incoming Command Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) at the CCoE, CWO 5 Paul Sankey, USA.

The U.S. Army is creating a pilot program for a limited number of Signal Warrant Officers to build certain skills that the service is identifying as being crucial for the future digital battlefield. The program, currently being developed by the Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence (CCoE) at Fort Gordon, Georgia, will feature an online training platform for soldiers to access on-demand education when needed to support future signal, cyber and electronic warfare operations.

May 11, 2021
 

Avion Solutions Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded an $8,820,564 modification (000338) to contract W31P4Q-18-A-0047 for logistics support for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems project manager's office. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of January 31, 2022. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $8,820,564 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

May 11, 2021
 

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS, Kongsberg, Norway, was awarded a $499,170,016 modification (P00032) to contract W15QKN-18-D-0135 for the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station system. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of September 14, 2023. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Newark, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

May 3, 2021
 

Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $15,308,297 modification (P00028) to contract W31P4Q-18-C-0130 for the procurement of the Electromechanical Control Actuation System. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2023. Fiscal 2019 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $15,308,297 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

May 3, 2021
 

Systems Application & Technologies Inc., Largo, Maryland, was awarded a $44,297,235 firm-fixed-price contract for aerial target flight services. Bids were solicited via the internet with two received. Work will be performed at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of May 3, 2021. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation, Army in the amount of $7,230,457 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity.

April 27, 2021
 

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $214,708,838 modification (P00016) to contract W31P4Q-19-C-0077 for the M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas; Camden, Texas; and New Boston, Texas, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2024. Fiscal 2021 missile procurement, Army funds in the amount of $214,708,838 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

April 26, 2021
 

DCS Corp., Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $49,997,623 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for human-agent teaming research and engineering services. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of April 25, 2026. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W911QX-21-D-0004).

April 20, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Ahead of a deployment to Afghanistan, the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade concluded a training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, that included training on the new Integrated Tactical Network. Over the next two years, Army officials expect to make significant progress on the unified network concept, which will converge the tactical and enterprise networks. Credit: U.S. Army

Over the next couple of years, the U.S. Army will experience a significant shift in its approach to network modernization and will progress toward a unified network for both enterprise and tactical purposes, according to Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, the service’s deputy chief of staff, G-6.

Gen. Morrison made the comments earlier today during the TechNet Augusta Virtual Solutions Series. “That unifying architecture is something that the Army is working very, very hard on. Over the next two years, we will make a shift in the way that we’ve been approaching our modernization efforts,” Gen. Morrison stated.

April 21, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Capt. Zachary Schofield (center), USA, assistant product manager with Wideband Enterprise Satellite Systems, demonstrates an inflatable satellite antenna (ISA) to soldiers at Camp Humphreys, South Korea in 2019. The Army’s Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) has a global support program in place to ensure communications equipment readiness. Credit: Amburr Reese, CECOM Public Affairs

The U.S. Army’s Communications and Electronics Command, or CECOM, located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is engaging in a robust asset management program to make sure command, control, communications, computing, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) technologies are ready for troops around the world, said Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo, USA, CECOM commander.

April 19, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army's Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team has approved the rapid development and deployment of the Tactical Space Layer, which is expected to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and help equip the Army for multi-domain operations. Credit: U.S. Army photo

The Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team announced today the approval of the Tactical Space Layer (TSL) abbreviated capability development document.

The document validates the need and provides the source for desired capabilities to execute rapid experimentation and prototyping efforts for tactical space-based sensors with supporting ground-based equipment. The accelerated TSL will deliver solutions necessary to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and equip the Army multidomain operations (MDO)-capable force by 2028 to the MDO-ready force by 2035.

April 16, 2021
 

Penguin Computing Inc., Fremont, California, was awarded a $25,480,000 firm-fixed-price contract for commercially-available, production-grade, high-performance computer systems. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Hancock, Mississippi, with an estimated completion date of November 12, 2026. Fiscal 2021 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $25,480,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W912DY-21-F-0126).

April 15, 2021
By George I. Seffers
An F-35 Lightning II receives full from a KC-135 Stratotanker. The Army's communications exercises, which are being held in preparation of Project Convergence 21, are evaluating the ability of the different services to pass data from one to the other. The F-35, for example, may be used to pass information to ground forces as part of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ben Mota

The U.S. Army is conducting a series of major tests on the interoperability of joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) technologies prior to the Project Convergence 2021 experiment this fall.

Army officials are leading a series of communications exercises, commonly referred to as COMMEXes, in its new Joint System Integration Laboratory (JSIL). The lab uses a realistic and scalable tactical network architecture comprised of current and future tactical radios, software applications and transport systems to provide a system-of-systems integration and testing environment for emerging communications and networking technologies, according to an Army fact sheet.

April 14, 2021
 

International Business Machines Corp., Bethesda, Maryland, was awarded an $8,206,508 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for information technology services and support. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Radford, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of July 13, 2021. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $8,206,508 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Newark, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-21-C-0033).

April 13, 2021
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Army 1st Lt. Nancy Gomez fires an M777 howitzer during a direct-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, Feb. 4, 2021. U.S. Army Europe and Africa will soon receive a new Multi-Domain Task Force and a Theater Fires Command, the Army has announced. Credit: Kevin Payne, Army

U.S. Army Europe and Africa will receive two new units—a Multi-Domain Task Force and Theater Fires Command—in the coming months and retain three sites previously scheduled to be returned to the German government due to growing operational requirements in the European theater.

The units will add approximately 500 Soldiers, 35 local national positions and 750 family members to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. The Theater Fires Command is expected to activate 16 Oct. 2021 and the Multi-Domain Task Force is expected to activate on 16 Sept. 2021. The sites that will be retained are Mainz Kastel Station and Mainz Kastel Housing in Mainz-Kastel, and Dagger Complex in Darmstadt.

April 7, 2021
 

DCS Corp., Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $19,999,845 modification (P00053) to contract W56HZV-17-C-L422 for support services for modeling and simulation to conduct warrior/hardware-in-the-loop simulations. Work will be performed in Warren, Michigan, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2022. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation, Army funds in the amount of $19,999,845 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity.

April 6, 2021
 

General Dynamics Information Technology Inc., Falls Church, Virginia, was awarded a $95,000,000 hybrid (firm-fixed-price and time-and-materials) contract for regulatory consultation, regulatory oversight and contract research organization support. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 30, 2031. U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, Fort Detrick, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

April 6, 2021
 

The U.S. Army selected Reston, Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. for a $800 million cost plus fixed-fee, single-award contract to provide engineering and professional support services to the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation & Missile Center, Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate.

March 29, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Last July, pilots from the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, train on the newest version of the Apache AH-64 helicopter during training conducted by Apache Program Manager, Program Executive Office Aviation (PEO Aviation). The PEO is standing up a new office to leverage open architecture systems on its aviation platforms. Credit: PEO Aviation photo by Capt. Joshua Hughes, USA, 1-229 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion.

The U.S. Army has pursued the development of open architecture system standards for several years and now is increasingly fielding such systems across its programs, including amongst its aviation and communications capabilities. The service, which worked with tri-service partners, the Navy and Air Force, will benefit from the systems being on the battlefield, as they cut costs, improve software reuse and portability, bring greater ease of use, and increase size, weight and power, or SWAP, savings, said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

March 30, 2021
 

Bell Textron Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $292,647,481 modification (P00006) to contract W9124-P1-99-0001 for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction Phase 2. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; Owego, New York; Wichita, Kansas; Torrance, California; Jackson, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cary, North Carolina; Kirkland, Washington; Garden Grove, California; Tallassee, Alabama; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Lod, Israel; Papendrecht, Netherlands; and Ajax, Canada, with an estimated completion date of March 30, 2022. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test, and evaluation, Army funds in the amount of $19,496,334 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S.

March 30, 2021
By Maryann Lawlor
Dan Sweet, trainer, Project Manager Positioning Navigation and Timing, instructs a soldier on the mounted assured positioning, navigation and timing system generation 1. As adversaries across the spectrum field new capabilities to disrupt and degrade GPS, soldiers will need more fortifications and assurances in those systems. U.S. Army Photo by John Higgins

The U.S. Army’s Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team has given the nod to the Navigation Warfare Situational Awareness Abbreviated Capability Development Document. The document validates the operational need and enables experimentation and rapid prototyping of capabilities for the warfighter.

March 26, 2021
 

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $2,765,714,054 hybrid (cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price) contract for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead rocket pods, GMLRS Unitary Warhead rocket pods, Low-Cost Reduced Range Practice rocket pods, cybersecurity services, integrated product support and other services. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of October 31, 2024. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-21-D-0003). 

March 26, 2021
By George I. Seffers
A soldier helps set up a tactical command post to test communications in Germany, July 8, 2019. The Army is releasing a flurry of documents, including a pending posture statement, outlining its modernization plans for 2035. Credit: Army Sgt. Patrick Jubrey

U.S. Army officials expect soon to release a multidomain operations (MDO) posture statement that will complement both the new MDO vision document released by the Army Chief of Staff and the posture statement from U.S. Cyber Command.

The MDO posture statement will detail how the Army intends to achieve its MDO vision for 2035. It will be released soon, possibly as early as April, according to Army officials conducting a March 26 telephonic media roundtable.

March 15, 2021
 

Aura Technologies LLC,* Raleigh, North Carolina, was awarded a $49,997,256 hybrid (cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price) contract to design, develop, test and field artificial intelligence for tactical power, operations and advanced manufacturing technologies. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 11, 2026. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W911NF-21-D-0002). *Small Business

March 8, 2021
 

Alloy Surfaces Co. Inc., Chester, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $28,823,677 firm-fixed-price contract to produce, test, inspect, package and deliver M211 infrared countermeasure decoys and MJU-50A/B and MJU-51A/B infrared countermeasure flares. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 5, 2026. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Newark, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-21-D-0014).

March 8, 2021
 

The Perduco Group Inc., Beavercreek, Ohio, has been awarded a ceiling $500,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract for tradespace analysis support. This contract provides for filling critical analysis gaps in acquisitions and increase the rigor of Space Force and Air Force, Army, Navy, and other Department of Defense entities in resourcing decisions towards them.

March 4, 2021
 

Bryan 77, Colorado Springs, Colorado (W912GB-21-D-0017); Environmental Chemical Corpo., Burlingame, California (W912GB-21-D-0018); Eiffage Infraestructuras SA, Sevilla, Spain (W912GB-21-D-0019); Relyant Global LLC, Maryville, Tennessee (W912GB-21-D-0020); Sociedad Espanola De Montajes Industriales SA, Madrid, Spain (W912GB-21-D-0021); SKE Support Services GmbH, Goldbach, Germany (W912GB-21-D-0022); Tepe Bozdemir Adi Ortakligi, Ankara, Turkey (W912GB-21-D-0023); Tsontos Michael M SA, Chania, Greece (W912GB-21-D-0024); and Zafer Taahut Insaat Ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi, Ankara, Turkey (W912GB-21-D-0025), will compete for each order of the $250,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of new facilities and real property repair and

February 26, 2021
 

Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $13,911,950 modification (P00013) to contract W58RGZ-20-C-0024 to support the continued system operation and sustainment services, and test and training services, in support of the Saturn Arch Aerial Intelligence Systems Quick Reaction Capability program. Work will be performed in Reston, Virginia; Bridgewater, Virginia; and Huntsville, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of March 16, 2024. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $13,911,950 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

February 17, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Army soldiers support the U.S. Cyber Command. Army cyber activities are ramping up to reach across the Defense Department with improved capabilities. Credit: Steven Stover, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade

The U.S. Army is applying its cyber expertise across the defense spectrum as it blends tactical and strategic capabilities while helping the departmentwide cyber mission. This ranges from operational activities to training, and the effort spans both defensive and offensive cyber missions.

Some of these points were explained in day 2 of the first episode in the TechNet Augusta Virtual Solutions Series, airing February 16-17. Col. John Transue Jr., USA, director, Army Capability Manager (ACM) Cyber, described how the separation between tactical and strategic capabilities is blurring as the Army applies elements of one to the other.

February 17, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
With the advent of smart cities, the Chinese have become very adept at aggregating data to find U.S. special forces operating in the Far East, “as well as all the way back here at home,” warns Maj. Gen. John Brennan, USA, Commanding General, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

The U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) is looking to fill vital cyber and communications gaps, but with technologies tailored to its unique missions, said Maj. Gen. John Brennan, USA, commanding general, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The command is the largest divisional element in the Army, with soldiers that serve in special forces, psychological operations groups and battalions, civil affairs groups and information warfare groups and for the national mission force that operates mostly with the Joint Special Operations Command units.

February 16, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Army is in the process of building requirements for a broad portfolio of electronic warfare solutions, reports Col. Daniel Holland, USA, Army Capability Manager for Electronic Warfare, Cyber Center of Excellence, Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Over the last several years, the U.S. Army has worked pointedly to build up its electronic warfare capabilities. From the early days of only having small groups of electronic warfare soldiers that ventured to counter radio-controlled improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army has since retooled its efforts. The service is pursuing a broad campaign of development, is continuing to identify capability gaps and has successfully fielded more advanced tools to operate and dominate in the electromagnetic spectrum.

January 14, 2021
By Maryann Lawlor
U.S. Army soldiers and Defense Department contractors collaborated at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, during Project Convergence 20 to initiate testing exercises for new multidomain operations weapons systems. U.S. Army photo by Daniel J. Alkana, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The U.S. Army is focusing on how to change its processes to be faster and more agile. One fundamental shift is in its approach to leveraging commercial solutions as well as those the other services and other organizations such as government laboratories have developed. These nearer-to-prime-time technologies would be available faster than PowerPoint capabilities.

January 11, 2021
 

The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, or PEO IEW&S announced on January 11 that it had made other transaction authority (OTA) agreements with Palantir Technologies and Raytheon Intelligence & Space to aid its Ground System Modernization effort. Under the OTAs, the companies will support system-level design and software maturation for the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node prototype effort. Each company was awarded $8.5 million dollars for the 12-month period of performance of Phase I of the project.

January 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
U.S. Army soldiers conduct satellite communications terminal training at Fort Hood, Texas. Future satellite communications terminals may be more resilient, reliable, automated and easy to use.  U.S. Army photo by Spc. Danielle Ferrer

Technological leaps in ground station capabilities, such as interference cancellation, band diversity and phased array antennas, will allow the U.S. Army to use new Internet of Things satellite constellations to boost combat communications. New technologies offer lower latency, higher throughput and greater network resilience while being easier for soldiers to use.

Recent Army experiments, including the Network Modernization Experiment (NetModX) and Project Convergence, have included a range of technologies for enhancing and protecting satellite communications (SATCOM). The technologies will support Army modernization goals, including a more resilient network, long-range precision fires and air and missile defense.

January 1, 2021
By Jennifer Zbozny
Roderick Wilson performs a scan to ensure all computer equipment on the installation has the proper operating system and software patches installed at Anniston Army Depot. Credit: Jennifer Bacchus

The U.S. Army upped the tempo when Gen. Mark Milley, USA, fired off his first message to the force in August 2015 as the newly sworn-in Army Chief of Staff: “Readiness for ground combat is—and will remain—the U.S. Army’s No. 1 priority.” Today, Gen. Milley is the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Army has rebuilt its tactical readiness through a transformational process that it is now expanding to focus on strategic readiness.

December 22, 2020
 

The Boeing Co., Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $40,717,442 modification (P00054) to contract W58RGZ-16-C-0023 for a Longbow Crew Trainer and spares. Work will be performed in Mesa, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of February 28, 2025. Fiscal 2010 other procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $40,717,442 were obligated at the time of the award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

December 22, 2020
 

L3 Technologies Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded a $29,197,837 firm-fixed-price contract for the manned/unmanned teaming hardware, as well as technical and engineering support, for the Apache helicopter. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received.  Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, Utah, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2023. Fiscal 2021 aircraft procurement (Army) funds; and 2022 Foreign Military Sales (Morocco, Netherlands, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom) funds in the amount of $29,197,837 were obligated at the time of the award.  The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-21-F-0144).

December 21, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Members of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Technical Center watch as Kestrel Eye is able to take its first images from space in April. Kestrel Eye is a small, low-cost, visible-imagery satellite prototype designed to provide near real-time images to the tactical-level ground Soldier in the field, rapidly and inexpensively. (Photo by Jason B. Cutshaw)

Operational assets once available largely to commanders now are being delivered to individuals in the foxhole. Coupled with new technologies, the U.S. Army is tapping into the ultimate high ground for cutting-edge capabilities not only empowering warfighters but also giving commanders more information for decision making.

Despite the benefits orbital assets provide, drawbacks remain. Fiscal uncertainty lurks throughout the future planning process. Adversaries have increased their efforts to overcome the lead position U.S. forces traditionally held in space. In addition, cultural and architectural barriers inhibit Army space forces from realizing their full potential.

December 18, 2020
By George I. Seffers
A soldier guides an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during an exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, in August 2018. On December 18, 2020, Army officials released a request for proposals for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.   Credit: U.S. Army photo

Today, the U.S. Army issued the final request for proposals for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) concept design phase. The request for proposals asks for a common modular open architecture that will allow the rapid insertion of new software capabilities as they become available.

December 2, 2020
 

General Dynamics Missions Systems, Taunton, Massachusetts, was awarded a $19,150,909 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support Warfighter Information Network Tactical Increment 2 equipment. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Taunton, Massachusetts, with an estimated completion date of January 22, 2023. Fiscal year 2021 procurement (Defense-wide) funds in the amount of $8,867,882 were obligated at the time of the award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W15P7T-21-F-0021).

December 2, 2020
 

Oshkosh Defense LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded an $888,422,571 modification (P00451) to contract W56HZV-15-C-0095 to exercise options (1,001 trailers; 2,679 vehicles; and 6,725 kits) for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Family of Vehicles for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of October 31, 2022. Fiscal 2019, 2020 and 2021 other procurement (Army); 2021 procurement (Marine Corps); 2020 and 2021 procurement (Air Force); and 2021 procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $888,422,571 were obligated at the time of the award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity.

November 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team use satellite communication systems at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, in March. Next summer, the Army intends to take its premier command, control, communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance experiment to the Indo-Pacific theater. It will mark the service’s first full-sized technology development experiment in a combat theater. Credit: U.S. Army/Pfc. Rosio Najera

When the U.S. Army conducts its Multi-Domain Operations Live experiment in the Indo-Pacific region next year, it will mark the first time the service has undertaken a full-scale technology development experiment in a combat theater. The goal is to assess technologies under the same conditions they will face in times of war, rather than in a stateside setting.

October 28, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) is a map-based software application that enables coordination among thousands of users with features such as a position data, chat, mission planning and shared overlays. Army researchers say it is being integrated with unmanned vehicles, virtual reality, wearable computers and heads up displays. Credit: U.S. Army CCDC C5ISR Center

The U.S. Army’s infinitely adaptable situational awareness tool created a decade ago continues to find new uses thanks to artificial intelligence, wearable computers, virtual reality, unmanned systems and other cutting-edge technologies.

The Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) is a map-based software application that enables coordination among thousands of users with features such as a position data, chat, mission planning and shared overlays. It is compatible with Android, Apple iOS and Windows. The Air Force, FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Park Police and Special Operations Forces are among the organizations that have customized it for their own purposes.

October 27, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Staff Sgt. Keila Peters, USA, an embedded noncommissioned officer within the Army C5ISR Center, conducts testing on equipment for the command post survivability effort during Network Modernization Experiment 20 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, July 27, 2020. The Army's new deputy chief of staff for G6 has laid out three pillars for his restructured office that include cyber, signal, electronic warfare and networking priorities. Credit: U.S. Army C5ISR Center photo/Jasmyne Douglas

During an October 27 telephonic roundtable discussion with reporters, Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6, revealed four pillars for the restructured office. They include building a unified network; posturing signal, cyber and electronic warfare forces for multidomain operations; reforming and operationalizing cybersecurity processes; and driving effective and efficient network and cyber investments.