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.