Army improves battlefield command and control technologies

The Army is developing and improving a number of command and control technologies that are helping to make its warfighters more effective in the field, an Army leader in technology said Jan. 24

Speaking at the Network Enabled Operations Conference in Alexandria, Va., Army Brig. Gen. Lee Price, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., described several major programs for which her command is responsible.

Price noted that the command oversees a variety of programs such as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) that provides Army forces with access to the Global Information Grid down to the battalion level.

Increment 1 of the WIN-T program, known as the Joint Network Node, is already deployed with Army forces. Upcoming evaluations at the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) at Fort Bliss, Texas, and nearby White Sands Missile Range, N.M., will evaluate Increment 2 of the program, which is designed to provide Army units with high bandwidth communications on the move.

Price’s command also is overseeing upgrades to the Army’s Blue Force Tracking system, known as the Force Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2), that allows unit commanders to know the location of friendly forces. The Army is working on upgrades to FBCB2’s satellite communications uplinks to reduce latency. The improvements allow force tracking data to be updated up to ten times faster than the old version, Price said.

At the company and squad level, Price said PEO C3T is working on testing the Joint Battle Command Platform, which replaces the small computer used in the Nett Warrior program. The new replacement device, based on a commercial smart phone, is due to be deployed and evaluated in theater, she said.

PEO C3T also is responsible for the Army’s Mission Command Collapse effort that is consolidating and virtualizing a variety of command and control systems. These capabilities and software applications are being loaded into the Command Post of the Future (CPOF) system now being used in theater, Price said.

The Army also is beta testing the Command Web capability in Afghanistan. Command Web allows units that don’t normally have access to CPOF to access some of its capabilities and to share information with CPOF systems. Feedback from forces testing Command Web will allow the Army to make changes and improvements before it begins a full deployment of the system, Price said.

The command also is testing a variety of systems designed to support communications equipment in the field and to reduce the Army’s power and fuel requirements. One such system is the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Source (AMMPS) tactical generator. The AMMPS generators are lighter and more fuel efficient than previous generations of military generators, Price said. Currently being evaluated at Fort Bliss, the new generators are designed to greatly reduce man hours of maintenance and cut fuel costs by being able to detect and compensate for spikes in usage, she said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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