Spawar PEO becomes JTRS PEO

The Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (Spawar) has ended up with a key oversight role for the Defense Department's troubled and delayed $25 billion Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program, Federal Computer Week has learned.

Dennis Bauman, program executive officer (PEO) for command, control, communications and intelligence (C4I) and space has been tapped to head a new program executive office with oversight of JTRS, Pentagon sources told FCW. Bauman, the sources said, will be PEO JTRS and PEO C4I and space for Spawar.

Spawar officials view the tactical radios as essential to the development of one of the command's most important projects, the $6 billion Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), which consists of high-power satellites designed to serve remote ground, air and naval units. Military policy requires the satellite system to use JTRS software-defined radios and waveforms, but delays in the tactical radio program could delay fielding of MUOS, sources said.

Bauman's appointment marks a sea change in the management of the tactical radio program, with the JTRS Joint Program Office headed by Air Force Col. Steven MacLaird and development of the first set of JTRS radios managed by the Army Communications-Electronics Command.

JTRS was designed to develop a family of software-defined radios that would replace hundreds of hardware-based ones. The new radios use software to easily change frequency and modulation and support both narrowband voice and broadband data requirements, but the program has yet to field usable radios to active-duty forces.

Earlier this year, DOD chief information officer Linton Wells zeroed out the Army’s 2006 budget request for JTRS and said he planned to set up a new PEO. Wells also ordered initial testing of JTRS radios developed under a Boeing contract to begin this month. The Army said it would use April for test development at the Army Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., with actual tests running from May 10 through May 28.

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