ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 19, 2014) -- The Army is restructuring the third increment of its tactical communications network backbone, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), to focus on the enhancement and simplification of Network Operations (NetOps), setting the stage for the Army's network of 2025.
WIN-T Increment (Inc) 3's NetOps efforts will simplify and reduce the number of network management tools communication officers, known as G6s and S6s, use to manage the tactical communications network. The effort will also increase visibility across the network to make communications systems easier to install, operate, maintain and defend -- key to supporting a leaner and more agile future force.
"Converging NetOps into a single, simple, integrated solution will reduce sustainment costs, allow us to support high priority future network improvements, and most importantly, make it easier for Soldiers to manage the network to achieve mission success," said Col. Edward Swanson, project manager (PM) for WIN-T.
Following approval by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to restructure the WIN-T Inc. 3 program due to fiscal constraints, the Army is adjusting funding and fielding schedules for WIN-T in accordance with this path forward. The network "aerial tier" planned for WIN-T Inc. 3 has been de-scoped from the program baseline, deferring the requirement to a future program.
PM WIN-T will continue to deliver tactical network improvements under the WIN-T Inc. 1 and Inc. 2 programs, fielding units that were previously scheduled to receive configuration items under the WIN-T Inc. 3 program. WIN-T Inc. 2, which began fielding in October 2012, adds network mobility and range extension at the company level and above.
In addition to the more concentrated NetOps focus, the WIN-T Inc. 3 program will also continue with software upgrades to both the high-speed, beyond-line-of-sight Network Centric Waveform (NCW) and the line-of-sight Highband Networking Waveform (HNW 3.0). The Army decided to continue with the NCW and HNW development based on prior investment in these efforts, the opportunity for capability reuse and the relatively low cost to complete development and testing.
"The program changes focus development on NetOps software enhancements so we can work to simplify the network," said Lt. Col. Ward Roberts, product manager for WIN-T Increment 3.
The WIN-T Inc. 3 NetOps efforts are just one component of the Army's overall drive to simplify the network so it more resembles technology that Soldiers operate in their daily lives, making it more intuitive and efficient to use, train and sustain. Today, WIN-T NetOps tool suites are supporting S6s in theater as they facilitate the planning, initialization, monitoring, management and response of the network.
The biggest benefit in achieving a common NetOps solution going forward will be realized by Signal Soldiers. The goal is to give them one method to do their jobs, train them one time and with one set of tools, making their jobs significantly easier. The second benefit would be realized by the greater Army. Buying fewer tools or buying the same tools more strategically and cost effectively will save taxpayer dollars, Roberts said.
Both the NetOps and NCW enhancements will be inserted into units fielded with the at-the-halt WIN-T Inc. 1 and mobile WIN-T Inc. 2. NCW will provide increased throughput over existing hardware and optimize bandwidth and satellite utilization. Because both WIN-T Inc. 1 and 2 use the NCW modem, interoperability becomes more seamless.
Following the completion of its development and an over-the-air demonstration, the new HNW waveform will be placed into the Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC) managed Department of Defense (DoD) Waveform Information Repository for potential use by other Army and DoD programs.
The WIN-T Inc. 3 program restructure also defers the acquisition of hardware necessary to support the functionality of a network air tier and the Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JC4ISR) radio. The air tier would offload network traffic from overburdened and expensive satellites. With the addition of the air tier, the Army would have a three-tiered WIN-T communication network -- terrestrial, aerial and celestial. Requirements for these deferred capabilities are still valid and assigned to the WIN-T program, but due to fiscal constraints these capabilities will not be developed and procured at this time.
Although some of the WIN-T Inc. 3 capabilities have been deferred, the completion of the HNW development will help support revitalization of these technologies in the future when the Army decides to move forward with their procurement, said Robert Reichelmann, deputy PdM for WIN-T Inc. 3.
"The WIN-T Inc. 3 program will still solve some of the key challenges we see in today's network, such as complexity and ability to tailor to the mission, as well as support the enhancement, simplification and convergence of the Army's NetOps portfolio," Reichelmann said.