ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland (November 30, 2021) -- Thanks to feedback from more than 100 4th Infantry Division users, the Army is one step closer to finalizing a modernized division-level mobile command post design. Insights from this month’s Command Post Integrated Infrastructure (CPI2) Operational Assessment (OA) at Fort Carson, Colorado are continuing momentum for the program’s development following a brigade-level OA in July with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
“As a division staff, we wanted to fully embrace this equipment to understand CPI2’s capabilities and put it through its paces,” said Maj. Jordan Funderburk, Plans Officer for 4ID.
During the OA, the unit leveraged eight expandable Mobile Command Platforms (MCPs) and one non-expandable Command Post Support Vehicle (CPSV) to carry out various missions, demonstrating several CP configurations – both mounted and dismounted across a variety of terrain and environments – while effectively collaborating using existing and emerging wireless solutions, and a new tactical voice architecture. These platforms not only allowed the unit to emplace and displace command posts more rapidly, but the robust networking solutions also enabled more effective communications throughout each mission.
“The old [command post] systems of tents with cabling running everywhere may not be survivable enough in a large scale combat operation,” said Funderburk. “CPI2 is faster to displace, capable of dispersion for survivability, and simpler to setup. Some key technologies, such as [Unified Voice Management System], provide that collaborative ability a division command and staff require.”
4ID manned all eight MCPs with capabilities across every warfighting function from the combat operations intelligence center, Joint air ground integration center, Army logistics operations center, intelligence collection, and planning and briefing capabilities.
According to Lt. Col. Jeremy Rogers, Product Manager for CPI2, 4ID was the first unit to deploy a Mobile Command Group (MCG) configuration for command team communications across the battlefield. Along with the MCG, the Command Post Display System (CPDS) allowed the unit to broadcast Commanders Update Briefs throughout dispersed staff elements.
“This is a critical advancement for dispersed command post operations and is a capability that has not existed prior to CPI2,” said Rogers.
4ID provided continuous feedback throughout the process, much of which was addressed and incorporated during the OA with PdM CPI2 personnel capturing and addressing issues quickly, including the addition of the work station, radios and small form factor (SFF) to the CPSV battery back-up system to enable the unit to bring the system back to full operational capability prior to connection to the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Source (AMMPS) Microgrid. Additional rapid modifications during the OA include addition of an uninterrupted power supply to the MCPs to prevent hard shut down of servers, and modification of UVMS code to support broadcast over radios.
A key difference between this assessment and the brigade OA was the unit’s reliance on Secure Wireless Mesh Remote Endpoint, or SWMRE, capability. Because the 4ID CPs more-heavily utilized wireless technology than was seen in prior OAs, key takeaways have emerged including the ability to disperse more than previously thought while maintaining connectivity.
“The unit’s continuous experimentation with the systems – looking for new ways to leverage the technology – demonstrated their quick grasp of the capability and desire to expand and maximize its use,” said Maj. Monty Blamires, Assistant Product Manager for CPI2, adding that this experimentation was critical to fully exercising CPI2 capability.
The command post program office, along with associated vendors and Army R&D centers, is taking feedback from the 4ID operational assessment and previous completed events with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and 2nd Infantry Division to finalize Technical Data Packages for production, which is set to begin later this year.
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.