Next-Generation Wireless Communications for Logistics Applications
What is it?
Next-Generation Wireless Communications (NGWC) is a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology integration effort focused on developing and integrating technologies to significantly enhance the visibility of Army and Department of Defense (DoD) assets in both time and space. NGWC encompasses a suite of mesh network–enabled, information assurance–compliant sensor devices that will collect vital logistics visibility data and route those data to the radio frequency in-transit visibility server via interfaces with existing backhaul communications capabilities throughout the distribution pipeline. The NGWC effort is characterized as follows:
- Requirements-based developmental effort
- Open-architecture, standards-based methodology
- Ad hoc mobile, mesh network technology as the framework communications architecture
- COTS sensor–enabled operation (based on customer requirements)
- Compliance with DoD information assurance requirements
- Mesh functionality designed to support logistics business processes
- Visibility of assets in transit, in storage, and in process
- Logistics operational resource visibility
What has the Army done?
The Army fielded the fixed, active radio frequency identification infrastructure in use today in response to demands for in-the-box visibility. NGWC is the follow-on effort that is exploring the integration of cutting-edge wireless technologies with sensors so as to provide significantly enhanced asset visibility while reducing or eliminating fixed infrastructure and reducing the overall cost associated with asset visibility.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Under NGWC, the Army will demonstrate the initial functioning spiral of mesh network technology in late summer of 2008. Additional spirals of mesh network technology will focus on mesh design to support specific logistics business processes. The Army is collaborating with the U.S. Transportation Command and the U.S. Joint Forces Command to ensure that service and Joint requirements are addressed in the overall NGWC asset visibility solution.
Why is this important to the Army?
The Army is on a deliberate path to achieve an integrated, networked logistics capability that possesses the right capacity, scalability, agility, control, and time assurance qualities to effectively support the Joint Force Commander’s ability to project the appropriate level of combat power. This requires visibility over sustainment requirements, capabilities, and priorities, with the ability to track, access, and fuse data into a net-centric operational capability that is actionable across the full range of military operations. The capabilities represented in NGWC represent critical components of a larger strategy that will enable logisticians and customers to see operational requirements in real time, and to plan and execute logistics support that is synchronized with the Joint Force Commander’s campaign.
Mr. W. Jarrett (717) 770-6919