Defense

July 24, 2012

Army hosts Network Industry Day

Tags:
by Claire Heininger Schwerin
Army News

A Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Tactical Communications Node is pictured at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., during NIE 12.2 in May 2012. The July 19, 2012, industry day focused on opportunities to participate in NIE 13.2 next year.

As it looks ahead to more Network Integration Evaluations, the Army hosted an industry day at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., July 19, to discuss opportunities to collaborate on the future tactical communications network.

The goal of the event was to keep the industrial base informed of upcoming requirements to support Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 13.2 to be held in May 2013, and to provide updates on Capability Set Management and the Army’s Agile Process for acquisition, which the NIE supports.

Attended by more approximately 200 industry partners, the event outlined NIE participation opportunities with a focus on NIE 13.2, the fifth iteration in a series of semi-annual field exercises designed to further integrate and rapidly advance the Army’s tactical network. Private companies play a critical role in the Agile Process by bringing forward emerging technologies for evaluation at the NIE to determine whether they meet the Army’s defined capability gaps.

A soldier from 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division uses the Joint Tactical Radio Systems Rifleman Radio to communicate during the Network Integration Evaluation 12.2 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in May 2012. The July 19, 2012, industry day focused on opportunities to participate in NIE 13.2 next year.

Army leaders described various mechanisms for purchasing systems that show merit at future NIEs, including issuing a Request for Proposals solicitation that will result in an NIE support contract award with an option for production quantities after the NIE is completed. This will allow the Army to execute an option to procure production material and field it to soldiers more quickly than current acquisition methods allow.

“We are trying to speed the process up,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel Hughes, director of Army System of Systems Integration, noting that traditional procurement cycles can take up to 10 years to develop a product and field it to the force.

“If we did that with cell phone technology, we’d be fielding the Motorola flip phone right now,” Hughes said.

The industry day coincided with the release of the Army’s Sources Sought notice to identify emerging capabilities to be evaluated against a set of entrance criteria for an opportunity to participate in NIE 13.2. The Sources Sought seeks solutions with a narrow focus on specific identified gaps in the current and evolving networked equipment solution set, intended to meet operational needs.

“The gaps that are put out are very important,” said Jennifer Zbozny, chief engineer for the Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical. “This isn’t a science experiment – we’re evaluating them to potentially field.”

The identified gaps are: commander’s applications for mobile and handheld platform, enhanced command post collaboration and visualization, company information architecture, network operations visualized in the command post, aerial layer network – air ground integration, integrated employment of LandWarNet installation and training resources, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical interoperable satellite communications and ground to ground capability on heavy brigade combat team maneuver platforms.

Interest from industry in NIE participation continues to grow. While 43 companies were interested in participating in NIE 12.1 in fall 2011, 105 companies sought to participate in NIE 12.2 in spring 2012, and 146 companies are seeking to participate in NIE 13.1 this fall.

To help facilitate industry success, Army leaders also shared lessons-learned from previous NIE cycles, such as bringing precise requirements for training and understanding how a certain technology will fit into the integrated brigade combat team formation that conducts the events at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

“We have to have a good idea of how many soldiers at what echelons should evaluate (a solution),” said Brig. Gen. Randal Dragon, commander of the Brigade Modernization Command. “How is this going to work, how will it meet the gap we’ve got, and how will it work in the operational scenario?”

Industry members also toured Aberdeen Proving Ground laboratories that support industry candidate assessments, integration and validation prior to the NIE. While synchronized fielding efforts are underway for Capability Set 13, the first integrated set of advanced tactical communications equipment that will be delivered to brigade combat teams starting this fall, the Army is already laying the groundwork in the laboratories for Capability Set 14. Upgrades with Capability Set 14 include integrating the network on heavy vehicle platforms and greater convergence of operations and intelligence applications.

The ongoing risk reduction in Aberdeen Proving Ground laboratories is critical to the successful execution of the NIEs, which leverage 3,800 soldiers conducting realistic operations in order to measure network performance. By replicating the NIE network in the lab environment, engineers can resolve integration issues before systems get to the field – reducing test costs and allowing soldiers to focus on the fight instead of the technology behind it.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 
 

TSgt promotion release delayed to allow system validation

Technical sergeant promotion selection results, originally scheduled for release May 28, will be delayed to enable the Air Force to continue to validate extensive system changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System, officials announced. The 15E6 technical sergeant promotion cycle is the first to incorporate recent changes in the enlisted evaluation and promotion system. Recent...
 

 

Freedom completes rough water trials

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials in late March the Navy reported May 21. The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 
 

HYT extension possible for SrA-MSgt in 35 career fields

Eligible senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 35 Air Force specialties will be able to apply for a high year of tenure extension and, if approved, will be able to extend between 12 and 24 months past their current HYT. The Air Force is introducing several personnel and manpower initiatives to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>