FORT BLISS, Texas -- The Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) kicked off Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 16.2, May 2, 2016, and ends, May 14, 2016.

NIE 16.2 is the eleventh in a series of Soldier-led evaluations in realistic operational environments held at Fort Bliss, Texas and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. More than 2,700 Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division will participate in this year's exercise.

The two main systems under test are the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 3 and the Spider Increment 1A. The WIN-T is an information network comprised of multiple radio waveforms and platforms that extend the Army's network allowing voice and data to travel in a upper tier satellite network. The Spider Increment 1A, a command activated anti-personnel mine munitions system designed to provide early warning of enemy activity and protect the force.

"NIE is primarily focused on what we call, 'programs of record','' said Brig. Gen. Terry McKendrick, Commanding General of BMC. "These are systems that have a funding and developmental timeline. Part of that timeline is a formal test and evaluation."

"We take systems and capabilities and put them in the field, this very demanding force-on-force exercise to replicate battlefield conditions," McKenrick added. "We then integrate these systems and capabilities with all the other battlefield operating systems to see how they work together, to see where the friction points are that we need to solve."

In addition to the Spider and WIN-T, five systems will be under evaluation to include the latest version of the Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE), which continues to inform the Army's network enhancement efforts. CPCE Version 2 will offer users access to a common operation map and picture, initial versions of mission command applications and simplify command post server infrastructure.

Since 2011, brigade combat teams and division headquarters elements from the 10th Mountain, 101st Airborne (Air Assault), 82nd Airborne, 1st Armored, 1st Infantry, 1st Cavalry, and 25th Infantry Divisions, have participated in NIEs to help enhance the Army's expeditionary mission command network baseline.

With over 7,300 square miles of training area, comprised of Fort Bliss, Texas, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, conducting NIEs within these locations provides a unique training environment.

Several state of the art urban operations training facilities, multiple drop zones, forward base camp locations and complex terrain with extensive maneuver areas truly facilitates tough and rigorous evaluation of new systems.

NIE 16.2 will allow Soldiers to provide feedback based on the execution of missions including combined arms maneuvers, wide area security and stability operations.

It will also directly lead to the implementation of fielding integrated network capability sets, giving Soldiers, the Army and it's allies a decisive edge throughout future operations.