ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (October 1, 2019) -- An extensive effort to modernize the tactical network capability of more than 425 tactical Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units wrapped up this week, completing fielding of the service's latest software and hardware baseline.
Throughout the 25-month process, a team from the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical and Project Manager (PM) Mission Command removed 86 versions of aging software and hardware from the field, from battalion through corps echelons. Consolidating the Army to a single, common software baseline facilitates interoperability between formations, eases the ability to provide cyber protection patches, reduces sustainment costs, and, perhaps most importantly, sets the conditions for future fielding of the Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE).
"The Army is changing how it fields and sustains these systems, necessitating a move to a single baseline while the Army moves into fielding CPCE as part of the service's Common Operating Environment line of effort," said Col. Troy Crosby, Project Manager for Mission Command.
To accomplish the effort in the short timeframe the Army demanded, PM Mission Command replaced the command post server hardware in roughly one-third of the active Army units while upgrading software, and conducting system administer and operator training across all units. In many units, the team reduced the physical number of servers supporting mission command applications from five down to two. This reduction not only reduces the time it takes to bring network applications online and set up/tear down command posts, it also sets the stage for CPCE fielding, which will roll out to units with Tactical Server Infrastructure hardware.
"If we had not executed this baseline reduction, units being fielded CPCE would not have seamless interoperability with adjacent units operating on older versions of software," said T.C. St. Clair, Deputy Product Director for Strategic Mission Command.
CPCE, which is currently being fielded to elements of the 82nd Airborne Division and will begin fielding to the 1st Cavalry Division later this month, provides an easy-to-use common operational picture through a single mission command suite and server hardware operated and maintained by Soldiers.
The baseline reduction was a far-reaching effort involving an all-hands-on-deck approach.
"This undertaking was expertly carried out by a team of logisticians, engineers, contracting specialists, and the fielding and training execution team," said St. Clair. "It's a testament to the team's and the organization's commitment to delivering advanced mission command to all Army service components."