FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — The U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence organized Vanguard 22, an inaugural pilot exercise July 18-22, at the Lieutenant John R. Fox Multi-Domain Operations Non-Kinetic Range complex, designed to explore and evaluate software driven threat representation capabilities and inform Army leadership on multi-domain operations testing, training and range requirements of the future.
“For the Army to develop and build modern warfighting capabilities, we need to adequately test those new capabilities against potential adversaries,” said Jeffrey Jennings, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca commanding general’s civilian deputy. “Much like a crash dummy test, to see if the seatbelt will hold, strap a dummy into a car and run it into a wall at varying speeds to see if it works.”
Modern warfighting capabilities are tested against peer threat informed capabilities to ensure their functionality, Jennings said.
“When those new capabilities are delivered to the force, we know they operate as designed and the threat informed representations, or targets are used by the Army to train and prepare for a conflict we hope never comes,” he said.
Vanguard 22 participants included elements of the U.S. Army Testing and Evaluation Command, Electronic Proving Ground and Army Futures Command.
During Vanguard 22, multiple Department of Defense elements, commercial vendors, and academic partners demonstrated their respective system’s fidelity, usability and interoperability to underpin capabilities development, testing and training, as well as replicate a future battlefield congested with multiple emissions from both civilian and military sources.
“Our efforts are important because the challenge we face is our ability to defeat multiple layers of stand-off across all domains in order to converge our warfighting capabilities, while maintaining coherence in our operations,” said Pete Don, U.S. Intelligence Center of Excellence technical advisor. “Our ability to integrate new, affordable software-defined technologies to enhance our existing ranges and to increase the realism of threat doctrine, operations, and capabilities will allow both the Army and joint services to address and train against this challenge.”
Training is the cornerstone of Army readiness and the training value and application of modernizing our ranges will support combat development and ensure our Soldiers can trust their warfighting systems, functions and concepts, that they need to prevail anytime and anywhere, Don said.
Within designated areas on the range, trained observers monitored, measured and assessed the performance of live systems to accurately replicate and emulate a threat’s activity and attributes within the electromagnetic spectrum.
“Threat replication is simply our ability to accurately display and portray a system, activity, or emission to be detected, identified, and classified as a specific threat by our Soldiers, crews, units and sensors,” Don said. “So, it looks like an enemy tank, emits like an enemy radar and flies like an enemy drone.”
Vendors were also given the opportunity to demonstrate and exhibit other capabilities of their systems and answer questions during a free-play portion of the Vanguard pilot.
Vanguard 22 is the first in a series of future planned annual experiments to occur each Spring at Fort Huachuca with Vanguard 23 scheduled for April 10-14, 2023.
The timing of the Vanguard series of exercises is spaced halfway between the Army Futures Command’s Project Convergence experiments that are high profile capability demonstrations that combine developmental and operational testing.
Future exercises will incorporate lessons learned from previous events and contribute to the preparations for upcoming test events and inform future modernization experiments. Vanguard 23 will also expand its participants to include the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Forces Command, AFC and other Army and joint mission partners.