ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (May 2, 2022) – The Army is evaluating technologies that enhance automation and protection during its annual field experimentation event this summer.
Engineers of the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center – part of Army Future Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command – are headed out to an operationally-relevant, field-based environment to prove out capabilities that are currently in development.
“The Network Modernization Experiment is a great opportunity for science and technology projects to mature as engineers exercise their capabilities outside of the lab in a safe-to-fail environment,” said Noah Weston, the C5ISR Center’s Chief of Future Capabilities.
The Network Modernization Experiment, or NetModX, is a part of the C5ISR Center’s commitment to foster a culture of continuous experimentation and learning to help shape and achieve Army modernization objectives. The experiment, which will take place over a span of nine weeks, enables the maturation of science and technology (S&T) development, partnership with industry on new capabilities, and informs project managers on technical gaps and challenges.
According to Joe Saldiveri, NetModX project lead and C5ISR Center engineer, every iteration of the event has its own unique set of new and returning, forward-looking participant technologies as the Army’s modernization priorities adapt to align to “projected needs of real-world situations.”
“There are many lessons learned within returning participants that we will experiment upon to verify that maturity has occurred so that decision makers can make informed choices about programmatic direction,” he said.
Lessons learned from NetModX 22 will directly inform concepts, prototyping and integration phases for future capability sets – a collection of capability enhancements informed by experimentation, demonstration and direct Soldier feedback.
According to Don Coulter, science and technology advisor for the Network Cross-Functional Team (N-CFT), the N-CFT is looking to assess the technologies as they relate to "furthering the objective state of the network.”
“The Army modernization community gains significant value from NetModX where we can push the limits of a data-centric network without the constraints usually associated with other non-network-focused events,” he said.
This year, some participating technologies will run their experimentation using a Live Virtual and Constructive (LVC) pilot experiment which will explore how experimentation can look like in a distributed environment.
Using the Combined Joint Systems Integration Laboratory and the C5ISR Center Ground Activity, C5ISR Center engineers will weave together live, constructive and virtual modalities to explore a more integrated approach to experimentation.
“The ability to tie in virtual applications and constructive units to the overall architecture during field experiments without having to put boots, systems and supporting infrastructure on the ground, will create a seamless environment, bridging modeling and simulation and lab- and field-based risk reduction,” Weston said. “This integrated experimentation method will enable the C5ISR Center and the greater Department of Defense S&T community to explore concepts earlier in the process, allowing engineers to identify challenges and work with stakeholders to turn recommendations into focused S&T efforts.”
The C5ISR Center is the Army’s applied research and advanced technology development center for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army’s primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.
The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM). Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.