Army Procures Unified Voice Solution for its Tactical Network
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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 30, 2015) -- To fill a need for unified application that links two-way radios, smart phones, telephones, and PCs together for seamless communication, the U.S. Army announced the procurement of WAVE software technology.

Finalized on June 30, this procurement brings WAVE to the Army's tactical network, providing a software solution that acts as the "glue," patching together devices that normally wouldn't have the ability to communicate.

As an example, this capability can deliver interoperability in disaster relief efforts where disparate radio systems must work together quickly, and throughout the Army's tactical network to allow communication with coalition networks and between tactical and commercial devices.

With WAVE, two-way radio communication is converted into a Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, "app" that allows anyone with authorization and a voice-enabled IP device to participate in voice communications, regardless of the network or device.

WAVE will be employed to fulfill requirements of programs of record under the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications - Tactical, or PEO C3T, based at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

An industry provided solution, WAVE was assessed as part of the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, construct, which was established to further integrate and rapidly progress the Army's tactical network through Soldier-led evaluations.

"The NIE provided a venue for us to pursue a solution for a longstanding gap in our portfolio and seek Soldier feedback on its operational utility," said Jennifer Zbozny, chief engineer for PEO C3T. "With WAVE, key leaders were able to invite participants to talk with each other over the network regardless of whether they were on a desktop computing platform, VoIP phone or radio net. WAVE efficiently distributed critical voice anywhere on the tactical network and proved to be a viable solution for voice collaboration."

Under PEO C3T's project manager mission command, WAVE will serve as the voice solution for command posts, enabling Army leaders to more effectively collaborate for mission command planning and operations.

"WAVE will eventually replace our current command post voice over IP capability and significantly expand the functionality for commanders and staff," said Lt. Col. Shane Taylor, product manager for Tactical Mission Command. "Its associated flexibility and scalability will be a tremendous value for the Army both from a capability and a cost perspective."

WAVE will also be deployed by PEO C3T's Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 1, as part of its Disaster Incident Response Emergency Communications Terminal, or DIRECT, package that enables enhanced collaboration and communication services to link local responders and emergency managers with state and federal authorities. This flexibility allows each organization to use their own technology of choice instead of supplying common radios to all the users.

PEO C3T first coordinated with stakeholders to develop the technical specifications needed, released a Request For Proposal, or RFP, and assessed candidate solutions as part of the NIE process.

Demonstrated in previous NIEs, WAVE formally entered NIE 14.2, held in May 2014 at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, as a system under evaluation. During the event, Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD), used WAVE to participate in the Commander's Update Brief via desktop clients with a dial-in from VoIP phones and radio nets.

After the successful NIE, the Army modified the initial contract to allow for universal use across its portfolio, providing significant savings. Prior to this contract award, individual Army units procured their own solutions via Operational Needs Statements. WAVE was procured from Motorola Solutions Inc.

"This procurement establishes a standard solution across all Army units and the ability to link with other Department of Defense agencies including U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Marine Corps," said Col. Michael Thurston, project manager mission command.

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