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.
Technological leaps in ground station capabilities will enable the U.S. Army to use new Internet of Things satellite constellations to boost combat communications. Innovative capabilities offer lower latency, higher throughput and greater network resilience with ease of use.
Recent Army experiments, including the Network Modernization Experiment and Project Convergence, have included a range of technologies for enhancing and protecting satellite communications (SATCOM). The capabilities will support the service’s modernization goals such a more resilient network, long-range precision fires, and air and missile defense.
The Defense Digital Service (DDS) and HackerOne announced the launch of the DDS’s latest bug bounty program with HackerOne. It is the eleventh such program for DDS and HackerOne and the third with the U.S. Department of the Army.
Hack the Army 3.0 is a security test— time-bound and hacker-powered—aimed at revealing vulnerabilities so they can be resolved before they are exploited by adversaries. The bug bounty program will run from January 6, 2021, through February 17, 2021, and is open to both military and civilian participants.
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.
Sikorksy Aircraft Corp. of Stratford, Connecticut, was awarded a $507,036,949 modification (P00163) to contract W58RGZ-17-C-0009 for UH-60M HH-60M aircraft. Work will be performed in Stratford, Connecticut, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2022. Fiscal 2021 aircraft procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $507,036,949 were obligated at the time of the award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $31,123,618 modification (P00036) to contract W58RGZ-16-C-0008 for sustainment of the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor Performance Based Logistics program. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2021. Fiscal year 2021 Army working capital funds in the amount of $31,123,618 were obligated at the time of the award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded an Other Transaction Authority agreement with a ceiling of $339,318,582 for the Mid-Range Capability. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Maryland; Akron, Ohio; Clearwater, Florida; Moorestown, New Jersey; Owego, New York; Syracuse, New York; and Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of December 31, 2023. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation, Army funds in the amount of $57,959,033 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, Alexandria, Virginia, is the contracting activity (W50RAJ-2-19-0001).
A first-of-its-kind Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) pilot seeks to leverage small business innovators to help increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzer systems. A new program, the Special Program Awards for Required Technology Needs (SPARTN), is combining government and industry best practices to introduce a whole-of-Army, collaborative approach to solution innovation.
Brig. Gen. Larry Q. Burris Jr., USA, has been assigned as director, CJ3, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq.
Although the world is still in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, technology experts agree lessons the infection teaches about cybersecurity and resilience are emerging. As people don masks to decrease the likelihood of germs entering their bodies, they also must put barriers in place to protect their networks. And, just as they prepare for how they will rebound from the illness or economic downturns, they must examine their options for life after the pandemic.
Brig. Gen. Michelle M. Letcher, USA, has been assigned as commandant, U.S. Army Ordnance School, U.S. Army Sustainment Center of Excellence, Fort Lee, Virginia.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Kamper, USA, has been assigned as commanding general, U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
The Army xTechSearch team announced that due to concerns about COVID-19, the technology pitch for the xTechSearch 4 Semifinals will now be held via a live-streamed event open to the public.
The competition seeks out innovative, dual-use technologies emerging in the U.S. technology, entrepreneur and small business ecosystems.
The interactive, live-stream prize competition will focus on 20 companies participating in the xTechSearch 4 Semifinals and will allow the contestants to showcase their technologies and make a supporting business plan proposal to a panel of judges.
Up to 10 participants with the highest-ranked pitches will receive cash prizes of $120,000 and advance to the finals.
Leaders in multiple military organizations need increased awareness of the dangers that arise from the systems used daily in training, deployment and garrison environments. The attacks these settings face are becoming more advanced and more specific as cyber attackers’ capabilities continue to improve. To mitigate the potential risk to military systems, the networks’ individual components must be identified and understood particularly at a time when component parts are manufactured outside the United States.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, USA, has been assigned as the 16th sergeant major of the Army (SMA).
Brig. Gen. Mark S. Bennett, USA, has been assigned as commanding general to U.S. Army Financial Management Command, Indianapolis.
Brig. Gen. James J. Gallivan, USA, has been assigned as chief of staff, U.S. Army Futures Command, Austin, Texas.
The current process for mission command modernization is not keeping pace with technology, which will dramatically impact the future battlefield. Despite massive technological advancements, the U.S. Army continues to struggle with the upper tactical internet. The service’s current technology fails to provide a near instantaneous, resilient, on-the-move communication capability and is at risk of being outpaced by both industry and potential adversaries.
The Warfighter Information Network–Tactical program delivered a digital transformation, enabling maneuver elements to move faster and provide commanders with vital battlefield information in near real-time. Its flexibility facilitated communications in Iraq’s urban environments and Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain. Although a powerful improvement over Mobile Subscriber Equipment, the technologies are not powerful enough to combat adversaries wielding cyber capabilities.
The U.S. Army will be ditching some programs, re-engineering others and seeking innovative technologies to fill networking requirements created by a new operational reality, say the service’s information technology experts. Having a deliberate period of acquisition now, the service is able to incorporate flexibility and innovation into its plans to meet new requirements.
Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, the principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, a division known as ASA(ALT), joked that this July was a slow month for the U.S. Army. When in fact, the service is pursuing the establishment of its fourth command. “Everybody knows how busy the Army is,” the general said. The new Austin, Texas-based Army Futures Command—the location of which was announced last week by Army leaders at the Pentagon—will be spearheading the service’s modernization efforts.
Brig. Gen. Heidi J. Hoyle, USA, has been assigned as commandant, U.S. Army Ordnance School, U.S. Army Sustainment Center of Excellence, Fort Lee, Virginia.
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.”
The U.S. Army has partnered with NATO and other coalition nations to enhance operational readiness in a series of multinational exercises this year focused on interoperability. The drills enable national militaries to assess and adjust the interoperability of their capabilities long before meeting adversaries in the battlespace.
The Army is looking to combine electronic warfare capabilities with intelligence and cyber capabilities, military leaders reported December 13 at AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare discussion, The Future Force Build and Integration of Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Fields into Cyber. AUSA hosted the event at its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, as part of its Hot Topic event series.
Col. Susan K. Arnold, USA, has been assigned as assistant judge advocate general for military law and operations, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.
Earl G. Matthews has been selected for appointment to the Senior Executive Service and for assignment as the principal deputy general counsel for the Army.
Telephonics Corp., Farmingdale, New York, has been awarded a maximum $23,294,344 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Chinook weapon system communication equipment. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) based on Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a three-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is New York, with a July 31, 2020, performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020 Army working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama (SPRRA1-17-D-0145).
Beginning later this year, the U.S. Army will be updating mission command network software and hardware across 400 Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units. The goal is to reduce more than a dozen mission command network software and hardware versions to one standard baseline. As a result, system complexity in the command-post environment will be mitigated, allowing for easier network initialization and sustainment.
Open standards are easy to love. With a common, defined computing system, anybody can port their applications to them and the software syncs beautifully, simplifying upgrades and providing flexibility in customers’ choice of supplier. One U.S. Army crack at open standards provides a good example of the expectation, which was to correct the problems created by the bolted-on approach of field equipment on vehicles. Unfortunately, like far too many of such standards, the Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability, or VICTORY, falls flat on implementation.
The U.S. Army is well on its way to meeting federal goals for reducing or consolidating data centers, an effort that already has saved the service $56 million, officials state.
The Army has cut the number of centers across the force by about 38 percent, according to a report released February 6. Part of the consolidation plan calls for closing 1,157 Army Enterprise Data Centers. The goal over the next eight years is to bring the number to 10. Six will be located outside of the continental United States. The other four will be housed at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The U.S. Army is rolling out a new cybersecurity career management program that could let qualified civilians bypass prerequisites and be commissioned directly into the service with a rank up to colonel.
The Defense Department has directed all military services to research the idea and submit findings by 2020 to determine if a pilot program should be implemented across the department. But Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost, USA, director of cyber for the Army’s G-3/5/7, explains that the Army decided to respond to the high demand for cyber experts more quickly. “We’ll see if the other services do something similar,” she states.
U.S. Army satellite ground stations are getting a much-needed total makeover—considering that several hail from the same era as the Vietnam War, the Kennedy presidency and the space race.
Their high-tech moniker—Satellite Earth Terminal Stations, or SETS—belies the actual nature of these facilities. The structures appear to more closely resemble corrugated steel warehouses for auto parts than suitable environments for cutting-edge satellite communications (SATCOM) equipment. During the 1960s, digital SATCOM was hardly a twinkle in the eye of technologists. SATCOM speed, volume and complexity would increase by many orders of magnitude over the next five decades.
A communications network management software solution deployed last year across the U.S. Army has proven to drastically reduce network downtime as soldiers operate in an increasingly complex command post environment.
Army and civilian communicators and network specialists, untrained on PacStar’s IQ-Core Software, configured and managed complex networking equipment up to 10 times faster than comparable manual methods and with nine times fewer errors, according to an independent research firm’s report released today.
The Army Cyber Center of Excellence is requesting research papers that address specific areas that answer learning demands or capability gaps that inhibit operational force effectiveness or efficiency. Among other things, the research papers will be used to evaluate emerging concepts against documented Army Signal, cyberspace and electronic warfare capability requirements.
Ideally, writers will have an interest in addressing signal, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum critical capability needs and may come from government solution providers, commercial vendors or academic institutions.
U.S. Army research on wearable technologies could lead to a future in which soldiers wear helmets with embedded thought sensors to communicate with one another and autonomous systems.
For now, scientists have developed a prototype architecture that will allow soldiers equipped with wearable technologies to communicate with each other and with robotic systems using hand gestures—even if team members are not within sight. The technologies will increase situational awareness, which ultimately improves mission effectiveness.
A new system being installed at U.S. Army posts enhances the ability of commanders in garrison to lead forces deployed potentially thousands of miles away. It provides seamless communication for remote mission command with no loss of a unit’s warfighting capability.
Army officials in July began installing the Home Station Mission Command Center (HSMCC). The first two units to receive the system are the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado, and the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. This month, the service intends to begin installing the HSMCC for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, and the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
As the U.S. Army brings even more advanced information technologies into the force, the service also strives to simplify training and use of these highly capable tools. Making increasingly complex systems simpler to operate now is a core function of the office tasked with designing, fielding and maintaining command, control and communications in the warfighting realm.
With cyberspace emerging as a critical warfare domain, U.S. military leaders have been forced to dump both old habits and doctrine in the name of network security. These arduous tasks are part of adapting to the new normal of the digital age, which can include contorting Army policies and actions to win modern wars and address global crises, says Essye Miller, the Army’s director of cybersecurity.
The primary fielding priorities for Gary P. Martin, U.S. Army PEO C3T, include the Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2, which serves as the backbone network for the Army’s mobile network capability. It is being fielded first to active components, while Increment 1 still dominates Guard and Reserve forces. Only about 20 percent of active-duty forces have Increment 2, and its full fielding probably will take another 10 years, Martin says.
The U.S. Army aims to move sophisticated offensive and defensive cyber operations out of a headquarters environment to the front lines as it prepares its mission force to adapt to and prevail in the critical cyber warfighting domain.
Brig. Gen. Charles N. Pede, USA, has been assigned as assistant judge advocate general for military law and operations, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Army and Marine Corps units soon may begin informally evaluating a product designed to provide lightweight, inexpensive and reliable voice interoperability at the lowest level. The cross-banding device could improve communications between newer and older radios among the U.S. military services, between the military and other government agencies and among U.S. and international forces, according to military and industry sources.
Adversaries increasingly are advancing sophisticated systems that render ineffective U.S. military radars, the one-time premier technology critical to many operations. In response, U.S. military researchers are stepping up their game and have found a new way to preserve radar performance in contested and congested environments.
It is called Advanced Pulse Compression Noise, or APCN, a secure waveform that can conceal its identity as noise, with the added bonus of allowing real-time programming to optimize battlefield performance.
While today’s U.S. Army tactical network provides commanders with voice and data capabilities to connect soldiers at the lowest echelon, it is pieced together with myriad mismatched systems that were not designed to work well together. The solution, born of necessity, increases the number and size of communication platforms for soldiers and introduces a great deal of complexity to how they interact with networks.
New technologies as well as user complaints are the basis for upgrades to the U.S. Army’s ground intelligence system. Already deployed across the force, the system is seeing improvements in the second release of its baseline, and the next increment will take upgrades to a new level to meet growing demands for diverse intelligence on the battlefield and at headquarters.
Brig. Gen. Flem B. Walker Jr., USA, has been assigned as director for logistics operations and readiness, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.
Brig. Gen. Steven A. Shapiro, USA, has been assigned as assistant deputy chief of staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.