Defense

July 23, 2012

Verification, innovation key to success for NIE 13.2 candidate capabilities

by Lt. Col. Deanna Bague
Army News

A soldier from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, works with the future iteration of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below/Blue Force Tracking, known as Joint Capabilities Release, during a previous Network Integration Evaluation at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

During an industry day at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., July 19, which was meant to keep the industrial base informed about requirements to support the upcoming Network Integration Evaluation 13.2, Army officials said the performance of systems in a controlled and repeatable environment will identify issues with equipment prior to placing it in an operational environment.

“We love to get new ideas and new innovation into the lab, to check it out, get through that process, get it out to the field, get Soldiers to evaluate it and move forward,” said Brig. Gen. Dan Hughes, director of Systems and Systems Integration Directorate.

Hughes told the more than 220 industry partners who attended the industry day event that it is important for them to ensure the capabilities their system offers to support the network are accurate.

Hughes said that if the Army agrees a capability offered by industry is something that can be used, but subsequent lab testing shows the equipment doesn’t do what was advertised, then that can create setbacks for the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, process.

Industry attendees toured the labs at Aberdeen that support industry candidate assessments, integration and validation prior to the candidates being sent to the NIE area of operations. The industry day focused on Network Integration Evaluation 13.2, which is scheduled to take place in May 2013.

Brig. Gen. Randall Dragon, commanding general of Brigade Modernization Command, said it is important for industry to understand what types of things they need to do to make sure that the Soldiers can in fact operate effectively with their capability.

During the event, Army personnel informed industry of the requirements needed to support NIE 13.2 and provided updates on capability requirements and gaps.

Dragon discussed lessons learned from previous field exercises held at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., which included NIE 12.1 and NIE 12.2.

The Army expects industry to apply these lessons in the upcoming NIE 13.1, which is scheduled for October and to chart a path ahead to NIE 13.2.

“If [industry] understands better what we need, what the Soldiers need upfront, we think we’ll get a better output and get better performance,” Dragon said.

As part of the NIE process, the Brigade Modernization Command, in conjunction with the Army Systems and Systems Integration Directorate and the Army Test Evaluation Command, puts potential Army network equipment into the hands of soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. After an exercise scenario is developed, Soldiers are sent to the field to evaluate how those systems work in a field environment.




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