By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, PEO C3T staff writer, and Edric Thompson, CERDEC public affairs specialistJuly 30, 2015
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (July 29, 2015) -- Working together to assess leap-ahead technologies while also analyzing the integration of maturing capabilities, the Army's science and technology community and materiel community, in partnership with industry, is taking part in the E15 event at Fort Dix, N.J.
The annual event, led by the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), serves as an upfront assessment of technology insertion challenges and successes, as the Army advances its tactical network and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance or C4ISR technology.
The field-based risk reduction effort is an opportunity to evaluate the readiness of a variety of capabilities in an integrated environment beyond the traditional lab setting.
"What you see here at CERDEC Ground Activity, is a resource for early discovery, technology refinement, and system of systems engineering at a level in development that can pre-empt costly integration conflicts found later in the process," said John Willison, director for CERDEC Space & Terrestrial Communications Directorate. "The convergence of mature C4ISR development projects and early programs of record onto the current network architecture in an environment built to find and address problems provides a unique Army/DoD asset that will return dividends in cost avoidance and in delivering more-reliable Soldier solutions on time."
This year, engineers and analysts from CERDEC and acquisition programs of record, are evaluating various capabilities including mission command, mission planning, target hand-off, autonomous system tasking, tactical power solutions for the small unit, tactical 4G LTE, dynamic discovery of sensors, and intelligence analysis.
For the first time in a field-lab environment, four of the six Computing Environments (CE) that form the Army's Common Operating Environment (COE), came together at E15 in mission threats as the Army examines how the CEs interact, how the COE is maturing and what next steps might be necessary. The COE, an approved set of computing technologies and open standards, is an Army effort to converge multiple systems onto a common architecture for increased flexibility and agility in developing capabilities.
E15 is a crucial step as the development and acquisition communities work with the requirements community to inform them of the materiel needs for specific capabilities.
E15 is also an important step in maturing the tactical network as the Army becomes a more expeditionary force. Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), network efforts at E15 are focusing on advancing capabilities in the Commander's vehicle and simplifying battalion command posts. Both are designed to provide advanced capabilities to the Commander on-the-move, while also simplifying and increasing the mobility of the command post.
"The Army is focusing on getting to a more expeditionary force so simplifying the smaller command post really dovetails with that," said Col. Michael Thurston, project manager Mission Command, part of PEO C3T. "We're still in the proof of concept stage, so this is a great forum to get together and not only tryout our technologies with each other, but also build relationships as a team."
The Army is looking at additional efforts during the event, included extending a Position Location Information (PLI)-based tracking device, how the Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radios (MNVR) provides mid-tier support, and common server stacks that enable better application processing. Tactical Public Key Infrastructure or Tactical PKI, was also assessed during E15. Tactical PKI will transition away from user names and passwords to increase the level of assurance that the network is being used by the right people, with the right access.
By assessing capabilities early, with input from Soldiers, E15 assists in solidifying what the software builds and architectural needs are.
"Our value to the Army is in working at the intersection of diverse competencies to help inform integrated solutions to complex problems" Willison said. "Our mission across these areas is to improve current capabilities while helping to shape the future."