As determined as the U.S. Army is to win in any future conflict, it knows it cannot dominate tomorrow’s battlefields alone.
With this truth in mind, the Army has been working diligently with the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Space Force to evaluate and implement new warfighting systems, with an aim of achieving optimal future readiness for the U.S. military as a whole.
The Army’s Project Convergence has been an influential vehicle for furthering essential cross-service, multidomain integration activities, which it supports through immersive experimentation, robust industry engagement and non-traditional acquisition pathways.
This year, the future-focused campaign expanded its experimentation scope to include another key warfighting element: U.S. Armed Forces interoperability with major allies.
Thousands of U.S., U.K. and Australian service members participated in Project Convergence 22, a capstone Project Convergence event that took place at military installations across the Western United States from October to November.
The large-scale experiment allowed service members with in-depth area and subject matter expertise to conduct rigorous evaluations of real and simulated systems, providing feedback on which work well and which could be improved.
The more than 250 technologies assessed as part of PC22 included a number of futuristic devices, from exoskeleton boots that help Soldiers navigate inclines more easily to wearable unmanned aerial system (UAS) accessories that enable a Soldier on the ground to track where a UAS is on the horizon while also viewing what the UAS sees beneath it.
Use of new materiel extended across air, land, sea, space and cyber domains, offering the all-service, multinational force a constructive look at what areas may be ahead of or behind the curve in terms of interoperability and durability in theater.
The experiment also incorporated novel ways of approaching sustainment, such as through the use of unmanned aircraft to deliver critical blood supplies to the battlefield and highlighted the importance of ensuring uninterrupted communications connectivity across services and partners.
“What we experience here is learning how our network works, between the nation-specific devices and ours,” said Maj. Andrew Artis, a U.S. Army Special Operations Command Soldier who participated in PC22 activities at Fort Irwin, California.
All of the new systems and technologies included in PC22 were designed to place the U.S. military and its partners at the forefront of next-generation warfighting, while the event itself served to strengthen understanding and cohesion among allied forces.
“It’s been an eye-opening experience to see the direction the Army is headed through the different echelons and branches that have been working together,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Paul, a Master Gunner and Noncommissioned Officer in Charge with the 5th Battalion, 3rd Artillery, 17th Field Artillery Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Paul and his fellow Soldiers worked with simulated fires and shooters during PC22, coordinating with Australian service members to better understand their similar efforts.
“At the end of the day, you’re always trying to be number one,” Paul said of ongoing transformation efforts, adding that “without innovation, you get left in the dirt.”