Defense

Army rethinks network design

sensor network (agsandrew/Shutterstock.com) 

The Army's cross-functional network team is working on a battlefield replacement for the heavily criticized Warfighter Information Network Tactical (WIN-T) system, Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army's program executive officer for Command Control Communications-Tactical told reporters during a briefing Oct. 9.

The Army is looking to design what it calls an integrated tactical network where mobile capabilities are rolled out over time, starting with the brigades -- infantry, Stryker, armored -- and    use experimentation to inform the final form. 

"We're using experimentation to help drive what that network design will be," Bassett said. "We also have a major investment going on in the expeditionary signals battalion ... where we're demonstrating alternative [satellite communications] basecamp equipment that's going to equip that signals battalion in a way that'll be completely different than what we've done with the WIN-T Increment 1 that they have today."

Bassett said these "IT experiments" demonstrate "incremental modernization," such as when two battalions test different approaches to decide what version will be fielded.

Network Cross-Functional Team Director Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher said that over the next two years, the team will be looking at "a very focused experimentation and demonstration in feedback assessment and capabilities and making network design choices." In the next year, the team will also define what the integrated tactical network and capability should look like in the formations.

The goal is to start fielding at scale in 2020, Gallagher said. "We will adjust based on the configuration of the unit and learn as we go."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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