Army labs speed tech testing

The Army has launched a new hub of laboratories designed to make it easier to test and integrate the latest technologies before they get to the field. The improved process will help with agile acquisition and provide critical feedback to vendors, according to an Army announcement.

The C4ISR Systems Integration Laboratory (CSIL) is an environment where system bugs can be worked out, allowing for smoother connection and integration into existing Army networks and technologies. The testing takes place before the new capabilities go into the more rigorous Network Integration Evaluation, which takes place twice a year and helps get better high-tech tools into the hands of soldiers faster.

“We were seeing problems with integration and what was going on at NIE and knew we could help by building a lab where we can integrate and debug all of the products and determine the configuration settings for NIE prior to going out to White Sands Missile Range,” said Scott Newman, program director of Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) systems engineering and integration, in the Army release.

Before, significant time and money would be spent to work out those kinks onsite at the NIE. By taking care of the problems ahead of time, the new testing process helps improve agile acquisition by ensuring the best and most-interoperable technologies make it to NIE and, in turn, into the field.

“CSIL is going to allow us to do all the configurations, all of the working out of the bugs, all those things that take money and hours of people being out in the field,” said Joe Kobsar, chief engineer for CERDEC’s systems engineering, analysis, modeling and simulation division.

CSIL is a central site for a total of seven labs that work together to test capabilities both as singular tools and as part of the larger Army network. Each lab involved has its own testing infrastructure, equipment and processes for evaluations.

The lab assessments help reduce risk and are used to help the Army determine which systems will take part in the NIE. Vendors are provided with detailed “score cards” on their technologies’ performance, and on what could be improved in the future, the release stated.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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