House committee asks Army to consider integrating JNN, WIN-T

The House Armed Services Committee has called for the Army to examine the possibility of integrating the Joint Network Node (JNN) project into the service’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) program in its version of the 2007 Defense Authorization bill passed last week.

The committee asked the Army to prepare a report that analyzes how JNN and WIN-T could fit together and whether the service could incorporate technologies and equipment from JNN into WIN-T, with General Dynamics serving as the lead contractor on both programs.

The Army developed JNN to connect existing and outdated tactical communication systems. The network uses commercial gear, such as Cisco Systems routers linked to DataPath satellite systems, to provide high-speed IP-based data services and voice-over-IP phones to infantry battalion commanders.

WIN-T, which the Army has been developing since 1999, will also provide IP-based services to all echelons of command -- from corps or division headquarters down to the battalion level. The service has budgeted about $10 billion for WIN-T and awarded a system development and demonstration contract last year to an industry team led by General Dynamics.

However, the Army expects WIN-T to provide broadband data services to units on the move while commanders have to stop and erect a satellite dish before they can communicate using JNN.

The Pentagon asked for $853.7 million in funding for JNN in the 2006 emergency supplemental bill now making its way through the Senate -- topping the requests for all other command, control, communications and computer systems.

The Army requested $340 million for JNN in 2007, but the committee bill would cut that funding by 30 percent until the service delivers a report on the potential of integrating JNN and WIN-T.

The committee also wants the Army to determine which components of the two systems could be used as elements of a single tactical network.

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