Capability Set Development


To achieve all-domain dominance, keep pace with industry advancements, and deliver a modernized tactical network, the Army is fielding capability sets (CS) in two-year increments. Each CS builds off of the previous and is infused with commercial solutions informed by Soldier-led experimentation. CS development will integrate lessons learned from soldier touchpoints, Project Convergence and other experimentation events, and will support sensor-to-shooter, Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), and Multi-Domain Task Force network needs. The CS construct leverages Army and DoD science and technology initiatives, research and development advancements from industry and academia, and modern commercial off-the-shelf solutions. Building to standard with advanced waveforms, mission command applications, cyber security, data management, satellite communications and artificial intelligence is core to the success of this phased approach.

To deliver the network of 2028, the Army outlined four capability sets in Fiscal Years 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027 to insert technologies that provide warfighters improved capabilities and dominance in a contested and congested environment against any peer or near-peer adversary. Technology insertions will continue beyond 2027 following this same iterative approach.

Established in 2020, the PEO C3T’s Product Manager Capability Set Development (PdL CSD) formally assigns staff and resources to manage the design, development, experimentation, and technical integration for the network capability sets that will deliver iterative improvements to modernize the Army’s tactical network. The team works across the PEO’s project management offices in collaboration with the Army Network Cross-Functional Team (N-CFT) to promote synergy in planning, execution, and risk management, and serves as a touch-point for systems engineering, design, and testing. This new product office works across the PEO’s project management offices to promote synergy in planning, execution and risk management, and serve as a touch-point for systems engineering, design and testing. The team also manages emerging science and technology efforts and recurring solicitations for industry innovations that can be rapidly inserted into the tactical network.


Capability Set 21: Expeditionary and Intuitive

Capability Set 21 (CS21), fielding to four Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) in FY21 and an additional five priority Infantry and Stryker units in FY22, improves expeditionary capability and makes the network simple and more intuitive. Communications systems are smaller, lighter and faster. Soldiers find that applications and network devices are easier to learn and use, and commanders of infantry formations are provided more connectivity options to ensure they can communicate in any environment.

CS21 delivers:

  • Integrated Tactical Network (ITN) fielded to select BCTs
  • Initial fielding of the common operating environment through command post computing environment and across handheld and mounted environments
  • Enhanced satellite communication (SATCOM) capability for Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced units
  • Software update for resilient SATCOM over existing terminals
  • Initial onsite cloud (edge) agile computing environment that provides distributed mission command
  • Foundation for command posted mobility and survivability improvements
  • Improved tactical network transport to prepare for integration of IVAS

Capability Set 23: Capacity & Resiliency

Capability Set 23 (CS23) builds upon advances in expeditionary capabilities and intuitiveness to increase capacity, resiliency and convergence of the network. CS23 will increase bandwidth to support sensor data, graphics and video, and will establish additional communication routes through satellites to provide multiple transport paths, improving resiliency. Fielding of the ITN to mounted formations will extend the distance and range of units, thereby increasing mobility for maneuver. Units at the edge will have more agile computing environments because of access to a tactical cloud. Mesh networking and hardening of radios and other systems decreases vulnerabilities and susceptibility to jamming. Converged mission command applications, integrated intelligence data, and an enhanced common operating picture ensure usable information supports warfighter decision-making, underpinned by timely and accurate data.

CS23 helps to provide a more robust transport layer to support the requirements of the Army’s other modernization priorities.

In FY20, the Army began prototyping and experimenting with technologies and capabilities that will be considered in the CS23 network design. These prototyping efforts will inform preliminary designs and, where viable, will be inserted into events and exercises for larger-scale experimentation for further assessment.

CS23 delivers:

  • Initial commercial SATCOM at-the-halt, providing high capability communications
  • Continued ITN fielding to Infantry and Stryker BCTs; field tailored ITN for mounted BCTs that optimizes capabilities to meet operational distance and pace, improved aerial tier, and expanded network operations between tactical and enterprise
  • Introduction of C4ISR/Electronic Warfare Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS), a modular open systems architecture (MOSA) that will converge select Army warfighting capabilities
  • Introduction of hardened radio capabilities, including mesh network, into all formations and improvements in anti-jamming for waveforms (including Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System)
  • Convergence of mission command applications to set conditions for Joint-All Domain Operations
  • Thickening the transport layer to provide additional artificial intelligence and beyond line of sight for manned/unmanned vehicles, fires, missiles and small aircraft

Capability Set 25: Automated & Protected

Through experimentation and DevSecOps, the Army will continue to leverage and insert commercial solutions into its network with a focus on automation and protection. Through Capability Set 25 (CS25), deployed units will have more robust cloud capability and network management; decision-making tools will become more automated, and network security will be exponentially amplified due to new waveforms. Advanced cellular technology such as 5G, commonplace in the commercial sector, will become accessible to formations, resulting in faster connectivity. Data networking capability between ground forces and aviation will provide advanced air-to-ground communications.

CS25 delivers:

  • Continued ITN fielding
  • Armor formation network modernization
  • Introduction of radio and SATCOM waveforms to increase electronic warfare resiliency, rand, scale and bandwidth
  • Potential integration of 5G (or equivalent) commercial network capacity
  • Initial commercial Low Earth Orbit/Medium Earth Orbit on-the-move providing high-capacity communications Integration/interoperability of air-ground communications capability
  • High-tempo, data-driven decision tools to increase cyber threat visibility
  • Hardened command post improvements and reduction of footprint
  • Initial integration of network with future mid-size transport assets

Capability Set 27: Multi-Domain Dominance

The Army’s insertion of commercial technologies in two-year phases will be fully institutionalized with Capability Set 27 (CS27). Wireless connectivity will be more secure, and the Army’s network will have significant cyber improvements and protection. Automation capabilities inserted in earlier capability sets will now be enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Command post and unit footprint will be less visible. Full and seamless integration of all applications and systems across different units will result in improved interoperability and information-sharing and accelerated decision-making.

CS27 delivers:

  • Non-traditional waveforms that are spectrum efficient with higher bandwidth, anti-jamming capabilities, and low probability of detection
  • Field-integrated AI and ML capabilities and tools to enhance decision-making
  • Hardened 5G or equivalent
  • Dispersed mission command computing in command posts in disadvantaged environments
  • Convergence of all warfighting function applications into a Common Operating Environment