A single, secure and simplified network is a fundamental enabler for the Army Operating Concept, “Win in a Complex World.” Network modernization remains an Army priority in order to deliver information dominance for an agile, expeditionary Force 2025.
After greatly enhancing tactical communications through Capability Set fieldings, the Army’s focus is to continue to support force readiness through robust fielding of incremental network upgrades, while also making targeted investments for short, mid, and long-term technology enhancement. These improvements, grounded in Soldier feedback, are aimed at providing troops with the simplicity and capacity similar to commercial networks, while enabling the Army to securely dominate the battlefield across the full spectrum of military operations.
PEO C3T is directly supporting implementation of network modernization efforts through continual fielding of modernized capability to active components, Army Reserve and National Guard units. This advances the Command Post Computing Environment and Mounted CE, converging Network Operations tools, streamlining Unit Task Reorganization execution, adding network enclaves for improved collaboration with mission partners, streamlining command posts through wireless connections and consolidated server infrastructure, and enabling distributed mission command.
PEO C3T is working closely with the Network Cross Functional Team (N-CFT) to modernize the network across four lines of effort: Unified Network Transport; Common Operating Environment; Joint Force and Coalition Interoperability; and Command Post Mobility and Survivability. Key Army network modernization efforts include fielding standard mission command hardware and software across all component formations, accelerated fielding of the Joint Battle Command Platform mounted situational awareness and communications system, fielding advanced tactical data radios and modernizing the satellite communications systems.
PEO C3T, with the N-CFT, is incorporating new commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and transport capabilities to enable network communications in disconnected, intermittent and limited bandwidth (DIL) network transport environments. This effort, termed the Integrated Tactical Network (ITN), provides a simplified, independent, mobile network solution that is available down to the small-unit dismounted leader to facilitate mission command, situational awareness and air-to-ground integration. ITN will provide commanders with resilient communications that are part of their Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency (PACE) communications plan.
Commercial cellular networks are other options under consideration as part of a PACE plan. Commercial standards such as 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi, while not currently hardened against the kind of full spectrum Electronic Warfare (EW) environment envisioned, are being adapted to supplement and thicken the network and decrease the time it takes to get command posts up and running. Emerging commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) constellations, promising high bandwidth anywhere across the globe, are another key element of the modernization vision.
In addition to EW threats, defense against cyber-attack and intrusion remains a critical underpinning of the strategy. Recently, the Army established new program efforts including cyber situational understanding (Cyber SU) to aid operational units’ understanding of the tactical network threat environment.
Moving forward, experiments and evaluations will focus on driving network design changes across Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs), Infantry, Stryker and Armor Brigade Combat Teams, and tailoring the network and command post configurations to the unique needs of each formation. The output of these efforts will continue to generate informed network capability requirements, while enabling the Army and its industry partners to evolve the network at the pace of warfighter demands and commercial innovation and to meet emerging threats.