ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 2, 2016) - Representatives from the U.S. Army Materiel Command discussed ongoing efforts to streamline and advance Army Command Posts beyond 2025 at a military technology conference in Crystal City, Va., May 26.
Division chiefs Lisa Heidelberg and Kimberly Ploskonka of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, served as panel members at the 15th Annual C4ISR & Networks Conference. Attendees included industry, Science and Technology – or S&T – communities from across the Department of Defense, and military representatives from the Joint Services. This year’s theme was “Equipping the force with the tools of success.”
“If the Army is going to be an expeditionary force, it's going to have to rethink the Command Post so the commander will be able to command from wherever and to do so seamlessly,” said Heidelberg, Mission Command Capabilities Division chief for CERDEC’s Command, Power and Integration Directorate.
Heidelberg noted that current Command Posts do not support the agile expeditionary construct as they are large, lack mobility and integrated design, and require significant time to set up and break down. Based on Soldier feedback, CERDEC is developing mobile, scalable and tailorable Command Post equipment packages that explore new concepts using minimalistic solutions for initial, early and forcible entry operations.
“We took three designs to [Network Integration Evaluation] NIE 16.1 so we could use the operational environment to determine what needs to be sustained or improved. These demonstrators are informing TRADOC on what’s possible for an expeditionary force's Command Post in terms of force structure and infrastructure capabilities,” Heidelberg said.
CERDEC is also leveraging its S&T funds to inform Army requirements for the tactical network, which plays a critical role in enabling early entry, expeditionary and command post operations.
“We are specifically focused on delivering capabilities that improve the network during maneuver and expeditionary operations,” said Ploskonka, Tactical Communications Division chief for CERDEC’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate. “The network must adapt to support the mission, not the other way around.”
CERDEC is developing new routing techniques that will enable the network to operate in complex environments while helping the commander to develop situational understanding. It is also seeking to enable commanders to sustain operations and maintain freedom of movement by increasing network robustness and agility, providing seamless/unified user experience and, most important, simplifying network operations.
“We know that war is complex enough, that’s why we want to ensure the network isn’t,” Ploskonka said.
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