Army calls for better communications

Army officials will soon announce a major information technology procurement that will help soldiers communicate more efficiently on the battlefield.

The multimillion-dollar IT initiative includes the purchase of secure and nonsecure voice and data systems and bulk commercial satellite communications, according to Army officials. The five-year effort also involves adding a new communications headquarters to existing Army command centers, so service leaders can more easily share information with military and coalition commanders and systems.

The planned IT acquisition would fill the gap for battlefield communications through the decade, when the service rolls out the $10 billion Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) system.

The new program comes almost a year after major combat operations ended in Iraq, where Army officials pieced together a mobile communications network for U.S. and coalition forces, and six months after the service studied its ability to share data internally, among the other military services and agencies, and with allies as they moved out of sight on the battlefield.

"This procurement is of high importance," said Lt. Gen. Joe Yakovac, military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. "We're joint and interoperable now. We need to be able to share and leverage knowledge."

The service's top acquisition officer spoke this month at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual winter conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The warfighting IT acquisition shows that the Army learned a lesson in Iraq, said Dan Goure, a senior defense analyst at the Lexington Institute. "The Army took its lesson to heart by putting together a mobile communications system until it fields WIN-T," said Goure, who specializes in Army and land warfare matters for the defense think tank, located in Arlington, Va.

WIN-T represents a multiyear, multibillion-dollar effort to develop, test and field a mobile communications network using ground, air and space systems. General Dynamics Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. are developing prototype WIN-T systems, and service officials will choose the best one in 2005.

Commercial satellite communications providers welcomed the proposed IT procurement. "We're delighted the Army embraced the industry's recommendation of a comprehensive communications strategy that will get the service where it needs to be," said Leslie Blaker, director of business development at Americom Government Services Inc.'s federal office in McLean, Va.

Blaker said representatives from the commercial satellite communications industry met last fall with Army officials to discuss buying bulk transponder time. She said they met again March 4 to discuss the issue with Peter Teets, undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office; Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency; and Army Gen. Larry Ellis, commanding general of Army Forces Command.

Meanwhile, Army leaders continue to review recommendations the Task Force Network made last November for the new warfighting IT acquisition. They must approve the group's plan before issuing a request for proposals to buy mobile communications hardware, software and services.

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, formed the task force last September to review the service's ability to share information with U.S. and coalition systems. The 45-person, militarywide group found that most Army networks were not built with joint operations in mind, said Brig. Gen. Jan Hicks, commanding general of the Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon, Ga. She led the task force and briefed its findings to Schoomaker.

The procurement would upgrade network capabilities with a mix of old and new hardware and software and rely on both commercial and military satellite services.

***

A time for change

Realizing that current battlefield communications systems do not meet their needs, Army officials plan to buy an array of new hardware and software. Their communications priorities during the next five years include:

2004-2005: Equip forces going to Iraq and buy bulk commercial satellite communications.

2006-2008: Deploy the Joint Network Node, Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) and military satellites, and update installations.

2009-beyond: Field the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical system, the Future Combat Systems, and more JTRS devices and military satellites.

Source: Army Brig. Gen. Jan Hicks, commanding general of the Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon, Ga.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.