ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 10, 2018) -- To improve units' expeditionary command-post capabilities, the Army is launching a modernization effort to provide mobile, scalable and survivable platforms.
An Army directed requirement has recently enabled the material development community to begin seeking command-post integration and capability solutions. The Army authorized the implementation of the Command Post Integrated Infrastructure, or CPI2, effort in December 2017 to address mobility issues and to ensure communications hardware and mission-command application integration across platforms. Currently near-peer threats can detect and target mission-command nodes, and large command posts are vulnerable because of their physical, electromagnetic and power signatures.
The Army is executing CPI2 in three phases, with the first two phases resulting from an approved directed requirement that addresses initial CPI2 capability. The third phase will establish CPI2 as a program of record.
Phase 1 will equip selected units with mobile platforms, secure wireless and intelligent power solutions. Units will conduct their own integration of systems onto platforms in order to inform future command-post designs. Phase 2 involves the Army's Project Manager Mission Command leading and executing the prototype activities of five brigade sets of command-post solutions. Units will then provide assessments of the solutions to inform the program of record going forward.
PM Mission Command will lead the effort with Product Director Strategic Mission Command at the helm. Involvement from other PEOs; the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; Army Test and Evaluation Command and industry will be required to achieve success. The Army will invite industry to compete and participate in certain aspects of the integration effort via a process known as other transaction authority. An OTA is a rapid, cost-effective and collaborative acquisition process for prototyping activities.
VISION FOR FUTURE COMMAND POSTS
The requirements for successful future command posts are broad. Reducing the cognitive load on Soldiers and implementing network capacity for expeditionary mission command are among the goals, said Col. Troy Crosby, Project Manager for Mission Command. These objectives are based on lessons learned from Network Integration Evaluations, unit rotations at the National Training Center and Joint Readiness Training Center, and Army Warfighting Assessments.
Seamlessly incorporating current and emerging capabilities will enable next-generation command posts to achieve better survivability, agility and scalability while reducing the physical footprint.
"In the past, this burden has often been placed on units," Crosby said. "We're taking on this integration effort to get the baseline design right. Then it's a matter of modifying that design to fit the specific needs of a unit."
The Army has set forth several technological goals to meet Soldiers' needs, which include:
• Leveraging secure wireless technology for rapid connectivity
• Improving mobility by reducing the number of tents, trailers and generators
• Employing intelligent power systems and microgrids to decrease sustainment demands and reduce noise signature
• Enabling scalability to integrate into a larger command post infrastructure
• Reducing physical and electronic footprint to improve survivability by maintaining cover and concealment
• Ensuring low probability of detection and targeting resulting from light and electromagnetic emissions and power signatures
PATH FORWARD FOR INTEGRATION
In order to meet an aggressive timeline for contracting, prototyping, testing and fielding, CPI2 will leverage commercially and government-developed components.
PM Mission Command, with its role as the program's central integrator, is working to meet the necessary acquisition milestone to execute both the directed requirement and the formal CPI2 PoR at such time that the Army Requirements Oversight Council approves the CPI2 capability development document. A CDD captures the information necessary to develop proposed programs, normally using an evolutionary acquisition strategy.
CPI2's strategy is to bring together existing programs through a system of systems approach to achieve the Army's vision. To keep pace with the rapid pace of technology advancements, the program will also work closely with the Army's organic research community.
"We'll be synchronizing with our S&T and PEO partners to determine when solutions reach a mature technology readiness level," said Kim Reid, product director for SMC, which reports to PM Mission Command.
"We'll continue to identify future S&T efforts, and then based on the schedule, see where those transition points can be inserted into production. We'll leverage the expertise of the Army's scientists and engineers in these technical disciplines."
PM Mission Command is requesting the Army's S&T community to review technologies that can enhance camouflage, reduce electronic signatures and provide antenna remoting. CERDEC is tasked with developing command-post support vehicle prototypes for the M1079 Medium Tactical Vehicle and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. Industry will compete for work on the M1087 mission-command platform.
Another essential aspect of CPI2 development will be working directly with the end-users -- Soldiers -- for continual feedback and as the Army progresses toward a fielded solution in the next few years. Soldiers must be able to operate future command posts with a minimal amount of training, Crosby said.
"We want to ensure Soldiers don't have to come up with band-aid methods of making all the components work together," Crosby said. "We're going out to collect designs that units have developed to see what we can incorporate. Their designs have been field-developed and field-tested. If we can collect the best ideas, that helps accelerate our design. Soldiers will have a voice in the final solution set."
PARTNERSHIP WITH INDUSTRY
The Army's CPI2 stakeholders are anticipating holding an industry day at APG to share an overview and current status, projected acquisition timeline, established requirements and then request industry's feedback. Representatives from the Army's CPI2 community will participate in panel discussions and sidebar meetings.
The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical develops, acquires, fields and supports the Army's mission command network to ensure force readiness. This critical Army modernization priority delivers tactical communications so commanders and Soldiers can stay connected and informed at all times, even in the most austere and hostile environments. PEO C3T is delivering the network to regions around the globe, enabling high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications to a user base that includes the Army's joint, coalition and other mission partners.