The XVIII Airborne Corps is at the center of Department of Defense Innovation and technological advances. On March 9, 2023, the 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced (ESB-E) assisted in the pursuit of constant innovation when they presented their proof-of-concept called the Warfighter Light Dispersible Communications Team (WLDCT), to the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff G-6, Lt. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr.
U.S. Army Spc. Kiara Mercado, assigned to the 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion- Enhanced, 35th Corps Signal Brigade was one of the technicians who helped design the proof-of-concept. She helped demonstrate the effectiveness of the model to Lt. Gen. Morrison Jr.
“It’s supposed to provide wireless SIPR essentially,” explained Spc. Mercado. “Once the command is on the move, he will always have instant communication access with the other vehicles and assets on the team.”
The WLDCT will enable more dispersible, high-bandwidth, on-the-move command posts and improve our fight on-the-move capability. By using overhead imagery, sophisticated technology, and the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, the WLDCT enhances the U.S. Army’s ability to detect enemy command posts and deter adversary aggression.
To survive against a near-peer adversary, the U.S. Army must find a way to mask the visual and EM signature of our combat forces and command posts while improving our fight on-the-move capability. Using just a four-Soldier team, the WLDCT can rapidly integrate with any large vehicle movement to support mobile connectivity with every other vehicle in the formation. By leveraging secure Wi-Fi, the WLDCT can work independently, allowing for quick halts without implementing kilometers of cable.
By communicating effectively with each other, the WLDCT allows commands to communicate seamlessly with surrounding command groups This unique employment of the SNN significantly decreases the visual and EM signature, while reducing displacement time to move command posts across the battlefield. As multiple WLDCTs and mobile command groups maneuver, they can seamlessly integrate with each other by leveraging mobile ad-hoc networking radio systems. A commander moving across the battlefield can automatically connect to neighboring command posts that are at the quick halt and leverage more robust edge capabilities without reconfiguring or physically connecting to the network.
“Project WLDCT is all encompassing,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Vera, one of the facilitators overseeing the project. “It allows the actual communicators to expand their realm of influence and push further the boundaries of what we’re able to do and what we think we’re able to do.”.
The four-Soldier WLDCT team provides the technical expertise to ensure all systems operate together enabling seamless command and control. To remain ahead and innovative in the certain climate of warfare, the WLDCT allows XVIII Airborne Corps and the U.S. Army as a whole to take that critical next step. By combining several existing capabilities, the Army can achieve this revolution in how we fight to ensure we are ready to fight tomorrow’s war today.