GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Soldiers from the U.S. Army, allies and partner nations participating in Dynamic Front 21, attended the Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities University, a training event designed to prepare participants to utilize ASCA software in the exercise on Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, May 10, 2021.
“ASCA University is an important event executed within Dynamic Front,” said Lt. Col. Elliott Harris, senior fire support trainer, Joint Multinational Readiness Center. “This is a program developed across (the) nine nations who are all members of the ASCA community and have the ability to share digital fire-missions from sensor to shooter and be able to pass messages and share data related to fire-mission processing.”
According to Harris, events like Dynamic Front 21 serve as a venue to inform interested nations about what ASCA does, the advantages of joining the program, and the process for becoming a member.
“ASCA is an encrypted software that allows every country within the ASCA program to share assets and ensure that any target can be reached with deadly precision,” said Staff Sgt. Adam Moreno, an observer coach/trainer, JMRC. “ASCA University allows multiple nations to come together and test their systems on an international scale, ensuring that when the time comes to use the ASCA program, it can flow seamlessly.”
ASCA allows countries to share artillery, allowing for a more efficient and effective method of fire in large-scale combat operations because every country enrolled in the ASCA program is able to communicate with each other, computing fire-mission data so that rounds can be sent to the necessary coordinates, from the closest artillery asset, said Moreno.
“ASCA has the ability to coordinate and synchronize fires across multiple nations’ platforms so that we can engage targets in mass,” said Harris. “Fire-mission processing from the observer on the hill through our fire-direction centers and to the launchers in the area, make ASCA the future of modern Artillery.”
ASCA University is broken into two stages, said Moreno. In the first stage, U.S. Soldiers who may not be familiar with utilizing ASCA’s interface within the Field Artillery Tactical Data System, are instructed.
“Once they understand how to use their FA-TADS and build a database that allows them to communicate digitally with our multinational partners, we move on to stage two,” said Harris.
The second stage of ASCA University incorporates every nation that is a member of the ASCA community, said Moreno. Every nation tests their systems together to ensure that when it’s time to execute large-scale combat operations, everything will run smoothly.
According to Moreno, every nation must ensure that their fire-support command and control systems can communicate with each other, making the process seamless when real-world operations are necessary.
ASCA University enhances interoperability on all three fronts; human, technical, and procedural, said Moreno. It allows participants to work side-by-side with other members of the ASCA community, gain an understanding of how their systems operate, and begin to understand the process other nations have to go through when conducting missions.
“ASCA has been a great experience,” said Moreno. “These last two and a half years have been really eye-opening. I’ve had the opportunity to understand and learn how other systems in other countries operate in terms of fire-support, and I’ve gotten to build more personal relationships with soldiers from other nations. I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience, and it is definitely something I’ll never forget.”