BALTIMORE, Maryland (Oct. 8, 2014) -- As the Army continues its expeditionary transition with an emphasis on evolving to a more robust joint network, the Military Communications Conference (MILCOM) was the ideal setting for Army leadership to discuss key initiatives with industry partners.

Aberdeen Proving Ground Senior Commander and Commanding General of U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Maj. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford led a five-person plenary panel at the Baltimore Convention Center with the topic of 'Fielding the Army Tactical Network.'

"In addition to discussing the topic of 'Fielding the Army Tactical Network,' we also stressed the importance of sustaining our competitive advantage and identifying those critical areas where Army and industry can team up to make a difference now, as we begin the dialogue on how we will deliver network capabilities for the Force of 2025," Crawford said.

Crawford was joined by Col. Mark Elliot, Director of the Army's LandWarNet Mission Command; Col. Paul Fredenburg, representing Army CIO/G6; Dr. Paul Zablocky (Senior Executive Service), Director of Space and Terrestrial for U.S Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; and Ms. Jennifer Zbozny, Director, Technical Management Division Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical.

One of the key points Crawford touched on was sustainment in terms of enabling the transition to an Expeditionary Army.

"In terms of sustainment, we have to reduce pre-deployment complexities that allow our formations to get out the door," he said. "Optimizing and continuing to leverage and transform our industrial base is critical to success."

Once those formations are out the door and in the fight, the Army is looking for state-of-the-art tactical network solutions to improve battle command within a common operating environment.

"We want to provide a capability that allows our joint force commander to unit task reorganize on the fly with the least amount of friction," said Elliot, who briefed on ways to deliver the network to the 'tactical edge.' "We need industry to help us with that."

Modernization, science and technology, software/hardware integration, and progress on the Joint Information Environment were other topics of discussion by the panelists.
At the end of the briefing, several audience members posed poignant questions to the panel members and Crawford summed up the importance of the discussion.

"In the end, we've got to continue to share what we're doing and why with our stakeholders. The capacity that industry brings is part of the Army's 'competitive advantage.' To get after all the Army sustainment and network modernization goals, it's these kinds of discussions; here at MILCOM and beyond, that we must continue to have with industry and academia."

In its 33rd year, MILCOM is a premier international conference for military communications. The three-day conference attracts decision-makers from government, military, academia and industry. In depth discussions are held and hundreds of technology and solutions are on display for all attendees.