Next Army NIE to focus on common operating environment, operational energy

The Army is seeking mature technologies for testing at its fall 2013 Network Integration Evaluation that it can use to refine and improve key aspects of its current and evolving network systems such as the common operating environment and operational energy, Army officials said Jan 7.

The service's System of Systems Directorate, which steers the proposed solutions through the testing and evaluation process, wants narrowly focused approaches that target specific gaps identified in current and evolving networked equipment.

In a sources-sought notice issued Jan. 4 through the Federal Business Opportunities website, the Army identified these seven gaps: 

  • Brigade and battalion command post mobility and scalability.
  • Network visualization on the common operational picture.
  • Aerial layer network extension/provide assured access for terrestrial network.
  • Integrated network assurance-network access control.
  • Operational energy-sources with extended duration and power.
  • Operational energy-monitor and manage system power, supply and demand.
  • Operational energy-reduce reliance on petroleum-based energy.

The purpose of the sources-sought notice is to identify emerging capabilties to be evaluated against a set of entrance criteria that would give industry and government providers of the technology solutions an opportunity to participate in NIE 14.1. The event will take place over a six-week period in October and November at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The Army's NIE event fields a full brigade strength of a Brigade Combat Team that tests and evaluates new network technology capabilities, non-network capabilities and emerging in-theater capabilities and concepts.

“A highlight of NIE 14.1 will be the implementation of the common operating environment, while also looking beyond the network allowing the Army to assess non-networked Operational Energy systems,” said COL Rob Carpenter, Director of SoSI. “Solutions being sought in NIE 14.1 will help inform Capability Sets and the NIE construct as it matures to a Joint environment in NIE 14.2.”

In December, the Army issued the first request for proposal to support the NIE events. As the service continues to use sources-sought notifications to target industry solutions for broad capability gaps, using the RFP method allows the service to pursue solutions for targeted capability gaps. Both the RFP and the sources sought are intended to supplement NIE 14.1 assessments.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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