By Ms. Devon Bistarkey (PEO C3T)March 22, 2016
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 22, 2016) -- Trekking through rough terrain in combat situations, Army engineers provide survivability, mobility and counter mobility data in support of military operations around the globe. Soon, these engineers will be able to input, share and view data with a new suite of engineering applications.
With one less obstacle to tackle, sharing the location of road hazards, floods or minefields will be as simple as dropping an icon on the map of a web-based mission command widget technology known as Command Web. Commanders rely on this data to locate mobility corridors, identify man-made and enemy obstacles, and track the status of critical supply routes during offensive and defensive operations.
Engineering Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade recently got an early look at Command Web when they used it for the first time in a tactical environment during New Equipment Training (NET) at Hohenfels, Germany. The NET training and tactical scenario occurred prior to the system undergoing its operational test in late February, which also took place in Germany. Soldiers from the 15th Engineer Battalion, as well as the 173rd Airborne Brigade, were both trained on the system and served as the primary operational participants during the test.
"The Command Web environment encompasses tactical edge applications and services to improve functional integration, collaboration and display of relevant information in order to establish a Common Operating Picture (COP)," said Maj. Jerry L. Jones Jr., assistant product manager for Tactical Mission Command. "For a commander, this means having the additional engineering overlay and data to plan military movements, set up a defensive obstacle belt, know exactly where published hazards and obstacles are, and to rapidly access that information from any laptop connected within the tactical operations center. The commander will also be privy to seeing and manipulating overlay information on a digital 3D map with similar functionality and feel to Google Earth. "
As the engineering capability gap solution to the Command Post of the Future or CPOF, the Army's current system for providing the COP and sharing mission command information, Command Web brings graphics and data from Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS) onto one common map. Engineer staff can use maneuver widgets to subscribe to the COP, create and disseminate graphics, and publish as well as subscribe to data feeds from other ABCS staff functions. Command Web users will be able to share and collaborate on a variety of data sources visualized on a Common Map widget.
The Maneuver, Obstacles and Hazards Services (OHS), and Engineering Mobility Services (EMS) widgets also publish graphics and data to the Common Map widget which means engineering Soldiers on battalion and brigade staff are no longer constrained to using standalone ABCS systems with a keyhole view of the COP.
"This tool gives disadvantaged users - or those without a digital battle system - a viewer and applications or widgets so they can interact with other battlefield operating systems such as fires, logistics, intelligence, and maneuver," Jones said.
A part of the Army's shift toward delivering a Common Operating Environment (COE), Command Web is part of the Command Post Computing Environment (CP CE), which is delivering warfighting capabilities as software applications.
"In essence, the Army is using a web browser for Command Web widgets just as Internet Explorer is one of many civilian web browsers for an application like Facebook or Google," Jones said. "The only real difference is that the Command Web information is accessed and stored in a secure server at the brigade or the battalion where Facebook or Google would likely have a larger server infrastructure spread across the nation for sharing and storing information."
Command Web will take part in the Operational Assessment of the Command Post Computing Environment (CP CE) at Fort Bliss, Texas during Network Integration Evaluation 16.2 (NIE) this spring. The assessment will look at the utility and ease of use of the CP CE widgets and 3D map functionality and performance.
Command Web will provide provisioned Soldiers with a new range of tools that are user friendly and can be utilized on any approved thin client workstation, improving their access to information while reducing their training and logistics burden. Pending test results and a fielding decision, Command Web is expected to begin fielding in late Fiscal Year 2017.
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