TEM11: Army underscores need to deliver the right network and C2 capabilities at the right echelon

By Army News ServiceDecember 22, 2023

TEM11: Army underscores need to deliver the right network and C2 capabilities at the right echelon

Lt. Gen. John Morrison, Deputy Chief of Staff, G6, delivers a keynote speech during the Army’s Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM 11) between government and industry partners on December 12, 2023, held at the Savannah Convention Center, in Savannah, Georgia, where he discussed how the Army is tailoring the network to support command and control at each echelon.
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo)

The Army expects future large scale combat operations to be fast-paced and complex, with forces combating a variety of harsh terrains and environments, under constant enemy observation and attack.

Underpinning the ability of commanders to overcome the demands of such conflicts are the Army’s network and the command and control (C2) systems. Together they will provide commanders and their maneuver formations with the assured voice communications, common operational picture and access to offensive and defensive fires digital fires needed to combat rapidly changing operational environments.

“The network exists…for two primary functions; so that commanders can command their formations, and so that their staffs can control their formations, the staffs that can impose the commander's will on the enemy,” said Gen. James Rainey, Commanding General Army Futures Command, during last week’s Army Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM) 11 with government and industry partners, in Savannah, Georgia.

As the Army implements continuous iterative network improvements, it is striving to reduce complexity at lower echelons and unburden maneuver units so they can focus on the fight, while higher headquarters take on the complexity of network planning and management.

Currently, the service is developing, integrating and assessing specific operational concepts and core capabilities that are needed at each echelon and tailoring the network and C2 systems to support those warfighting functions, said Lt. Gen. John Morrison, Deputy Chief of Staff, G6.

“We don't want the brigade S6 to be worried about running [his or her] own stove-piped network,” Morrison said. “We want the brigade S6’s to have a network that's delivered to them and lets them focus on the close fight and maneuver.”

During TEM 11, Army leaders said they must align technology, people, and processes to achieve integrated persistent and episodic network and data connectivity to combat near-peer adversaries. Within these imperatives, the Army is driving the transformation of network and C2 systems to be easier to use and more intuitive, while reducing footprint and lowering electromagnetic signature.

“We need it to be just like that phone where it's about 80 to 90 percent intuitive [so] the operator can use it…[and] access the information they need,” said Col. Bryan Babich, Director, Mission Command Center of Excellence. “That's going to be critical on the edge when you're not going to have those [more traditional] opportunities to come together.”

Army senior leaders discussed these and other key network transformation efforts during TEM 11, which was the eleventh meeting in a series of semi-annual events created to provide continuous transparency on Army network priorities and strategy, to help industry shape its research and development efforts to meet Army needs.

TEM11: Army underscores need to deliver the right network and C2 capabilities at the right echelon
Army leaders from across the spectrum of design, development, doctrine, and requirements discuss how the Army can ensure continuity of Command and Control On-the-Move (C2 OTM) for the Army’s commanders, including plans for future experiments and pilots, during the Army’s Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM11) in Savannah, Georgia, on December 13, 2023. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL


The Army is designing the network architecture to address the need for forces to be constantly moving on the battlefield, with units articulating a preference for on-the-move versus at-the-halt capabilities. To advance C2 on the move, the Army is reducing static command posts and infrastructure to improve survivability and to better support commanders’ ability to make decisions and exercise C2 while dispersed and mobile. The Army is soliciting industry over the next year for potential options to reduce the footprint of command posts for larger units and echelons.

During a recent Joint Multinational Readiness Center training exercise in Germany, Col. Rob McChrystal, commander of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, said that his unit was able to disperse 70 percent of a brigade command post over the horizon 60 miles away.

“[To be] survivable, we need to be transport agnostic,” McChrystal said during TEM11. “I'm talking about redundancy and maximum options; whether it's transport from the terrestrial layer to multiple types of Low Earth Orbit to Medium Earth Orbit to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit. We need to have those options, and ultimately we want to get to the point where that's automated, and we're able to auto transition when they fail.”

McCrystal also noted that implementing a new C2 paradigm means that even though he commands a highly mobile Stryker unit, he will need something that is a smaller form factor and transport agnostic to allow his troops to disperse.

TEM11: Army underscores need to deliver the right network and C2 capabilities at the right echelon
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 2d Cavalry Regiment return to a mission start point during Dragoon Ready 23 (DR 23) at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Jan. 28, 2023.

Dragoon Ready 23 is designed to ensure readiness and train the regiment in its mission essential tasks in support of unified land operations to enhance proficiency and improve interoperability with NATO Allies. Exercise participants include approximately 2,500 U.S. Soldiers from the 2d Cavalry Regiment, 150 U.S. Soldiers from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, and 150 service members from Italy and the United Kingdom. (Photo Credit: Spc. Micah Wilson)

Preparing for LSCO spurred the Army to make institutional changes and determine which core capabilities are appropriate at echelon, while enhancing key objectives such as C2 on the move, securely sharing information across the Mission Partner Environment and creatively operating under successful electromagnetic signature management to ensure Soldiers conducting maneuvers are imperceptible to adversaries.

“We are an Army in transition, and it's an exciting time with a lot of opportunity for everybody in this room, but I would encourage all to have a real sense of urgency,” Morrison said. “We’ve got to get this right and continue to mature the network that we have so that we don't fight with the network, we actually provide a C2 system that allows the commander to command.”