By Sgt. Vincent ByrdMay 1, 2014
EL PASO, Texas - Soldiers believe that having the most advanced networked technology will help both in and out of combat. More than 3,000 Soldiers assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division and Marines from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines Regiment, and 2nd Marines Division will play an integral role in validating systems at this year's Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 14.2.
The 2nd BCT began training several months before the evaluation started by sending Soldiers to a series of network classes. As a final step before rollout to their field site, the unit conducted pre-combat inspections and vehicle preparation checks. One of the highlights during the preparation phase was the Validation Exercise (VALEX), in which the Soldiers validated the functionality of the equipment.
NIE is a semiannual Soldier-led evaluation. NIE 14.2 is the first truly joint and multi-national evaluation with a Marine Infantry battalion and Marine Expeditionary Brigade headquarters participating. The 1st Armored Division Headquarters will serve as a joint task force. A United Kingdom mechanized brigade headquarters will also participate in the evaluation to help assess coalition interoperability gaps. This partnership will help evaluate the Army's future capability. More than 5,000 Soldiers, Marines and civilians will be participating in the exercise over the next four weeks.
"All evaluations are significant, working with a joint and multi-national force will better prepare us for more realistic operations," said Army Capt. Matthew Michealson, a health care specialist with 2nd BCT, 1st AD.
This NIE will provide Soldiers, Marines, evaluators and leaders the opportunity to train together to evaluate the network capabilities among different units and also other armed forces services.
"It's been a great experience integrating with the Soldiers of 2nd Brigade," said Navy Lt. Richard Bristol Chaplain, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines Regiment, 2nd Marines Division.
Network Integration Evaluation provides increased awareness and dialogue across government and industry by integrated lessons learned from previous NIEs. This will streamline and improve processes as well as operational mission execution.
"The brigade will help confirm and check the network while performing advanced operations," said Army Capt. Capricia Renee Anderson, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) officer with the 2nd BCT, 1st AD.
The purpose of NIE is to ensure all systems work and communicate all the way down to the team leader providing a tactical edge that enhances war-fighter capabilities.