Battle labs plan simulation exercise

Unit of Action Maneuver Battle Lab

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Army's Training and Doctrine Command has established a Unit of Action Maneuver Battle Lab (UAMBL) to lead the product research and integration aspects of the service's transformation centerpiece, Future Combat Systems (FCS).

FCS will equip Army vehicles with information and communications systems to give soldiers capabilities for command and control, surveillance and reconnaissance, direct and nonline-of-sight weapons firing, and personnel transport.

The Army awarded a $154 million lead systems integrator contract to the team of Boeing Co. and Science Applications International Corp. in March 2002. UAMBL has been working with that team as well as the numerous other Army battle labs, program managers and organizations involved with FCS, said Brig. Gen. Robert Mixon Jr., deputy commanding general of Fort Knox, Ky., and UAMBL director.

The lab, along with the contractor team, will conduct a battle command demonstration late this month, Mixon said during his Feb. 27 remarks at the Association of the U.S. Army's winter symposium.

Col. George Lockwood — commander of the 16th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Knox and of the 3,499 digital troops in the Objective Force's first unit of action—will participate in the demonstration and an even more ambitious one a couple of months later, Mixon said.

In May, UAMBL will lead a virtual experiment with four other battle labs to simulate multiple models, including the one that may be FCS' foundation, said Maj. Gen. Alan Thrasher, deputy chief of staff for developments at Tradoc.

Presently, that kind of simulation work requires all the participants to physically meet in the same place for an extended period, which is costly and time-consuming, Thrasher said.

In addition to UAMBL, the virtual experiment will include battle labs at Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Rucker, Ala.; Fort Benning, Ga.; and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., said Col. Judith Lemire, director of the Battle Laboratory Integration and Technology Directorate at Tradoc.

The estimated cost to establish the collaborative modeling and simulation environment is about $6 million annually, but Tradoc received only about $4 million in fiscal 2003 funding, Lemire said.

The goal is to include not only all the other Tradoc schools and labs, but also to "tie into the joint community," including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Joint Forces Command, national research labs, Army labs, and all DOD's research, development and engineering centers, Thrasher said. Once that happens, the $6 million annual sustainment costs should come from numerous sources and be jointly funded, Mixon said.

Last month, UAMBL officials briefed the Defense Acquisition Board on the virtual modeling collaboration work, and it garnered "a lot of excitement and support from the other services," Mixon said.

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