By Edric Thompson, CERDEC Public AffairsMarch 1, 2010
FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- U.S. Army product manager released its final report on Feb. 25, containing key results and lessons learned from the integration of Army networks and systems during the execution of its annual C4ISR system-of-systems integrated capabilities event last summer.
Conducted from June 1 - Sept. 10 at Fort Dix, N.J., by Product Manager Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance On-the-Move, or C4ISR OTM, Event 09 represented the largest C4ISR and networking technology demonstration to date.
The C4ISR OTM E09 report provides senior leaders with a comprehensive look at how the Army's networks and systems will enable the future force, enhance the current force and contribute to the acceleration of Army transformation and Brigade Combat Team modernization.
Although participant organizations received immediate feedback during the actual execution of C4ISR OTM E09, the final report is a formal deliverable of key results and lessons learned to a wider Army and Department of Defense audience.
C4ISR OTM E09 incorporated hundreds of live communications, sensor and battle command systems, which were complemented by a brigade-sized element represented in virtual and constructive simulation.
More than 100 government, industry and academic organizations participated in E09, and 11 Army Technology Objectives and 10 technology-based programs leveraged the venue. Partners such as the Army Test and Evaluation Command collaborated with the PM to explore next generation, future force instrumentation data collection and reduction tools and methodologies.
Technology providers also leveraged the venue for capabilities excursions to get proof of concept or a quick look at emerging capabilities that the Army is examining, said Product Manager Lt. Col. William T. Utroska, PM C4ISR OTM.
"During E09, we provided immediate and continuous feedback to participants so they could make real-time or near real-time modifications to their technology in a test/assess-analyze-fix environment. The report captures what we learned last year during our experimentation in a system-of-systems construct. It's presented in a way that allows us to disseminate our findings to a controlled, broader audience," Utroska said.
Some of the key assessments featured in the final report include the work done in support of the 2013 Modular Brigade Combat Team Architecture, the Unified Battle Command study, WIN-T risk mitigation for follow-on field tests, EPLRS and SINCGARS explorations and an initial look at Network Capability Sets.
The PM, an asset of the Research Development and Engineering Command, is part of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center headquartered here.
As an Army capital investment, the PM is a research and development program of record that supports Army, DoD and industry technology development efforts by providing a relevant environment to assess emerging technologies in a C4ISR system-of-systems.
"My product to the R&D and acquisition communities is technology transition to programs of record, mitigating and reducing risk for Army Technology Objectives, looking at capabilities that we can accelerate into the current force and providing a body of integrated C4ISR knowledge to support program of record milestone decisions," Utroska said.
E09 addressed deeper technical challenges and satisfied program of record and science and technology needs by using campaign goals with a stronger tie-in to current, transformational and future force architectures.
While seeking to mitigate risk for and enable C4ISR technology development, the PM explored engineering challenges associated with C4ISR systems integration and studied the cognitive impacts of integrated C4ISR systems. Moreover, the PM sought to define and mature metrics that quantify the technical performance of C4ISR systems and systems-of-systems. E09 also utilized and assessed varying solutions in support of Future Force C4ISR instrumentation, data collection and reduction.
Unlike their previous integrated capabilities events, the PM decomposed architectures from key stakeholders and synthesized them into an "experimentation architecture" in order to inform relevant studies being conducted across the Army. The results of these studies will affect acquisition decisions and programs of record, said Monica Farah-Stapleton, deputy PM C4ISR OTM.
"We're very proud of our methodologies and data-collection tools and techniques; we were able to scale the size and number of activities this summer. For example, the complexity and the number of assets employed in the 2013 MBCT activity alone was as large and complex as all of E08. We executed that study simultaneously with four other major activities," Farah-Stapleton said.
The number of people, activities and assets, plus the amount of data that was collected, provided a great return on investment for the Army and DoD, Farah-Stapleton said. PM C4ISTR OTM's contribution to the Army is not only technical, but also a series of business process that can be leveraged for a broader application, she said.
"We've demonstrated that systems-of-systems engineering is a socio-technical activity. We've lowered the barrier for participation between very different and seemingly disparate organizations that in some cases are in competition with each other. Yet when they come into this environment, their focus is not on their individual agendas; it's all about how they can get their systems to work with other systems. That's of tremendous value to the Army because we're breaking down barriers and facilitating information dissemination across a network of networks, a system of systems, and a team of teams," Farah-Stapleton said.
The PM will build on the experiences, lessons learned, and data collected to begin preparing for C4ISR OTM E10.
"We'll take the studies being done across the Army and put them into the live experimentation venue, stimulated by simulation, and analyze the results. We want to know what the practical issues are for integrating a system of systems and exploring information dissemination across a network of networks. The raw data, integrated data sets, systems engineering and integration experiences are far from being fully exploited for productive information, and should be viewed as a resource to the Army community." Farah-Stapleton said.
"We also want to expand our relationship with other Army and joint colleagues and see how we can link to their venues that are doing complementary explorations," she said.
The E10 mid-planning conference was held Feb. 2-4, and a final planning conference is scheduled for the end of March. PM C4ISR OTM plans to execute E10 from June 1 - Sept. 2.
The final report is provided to all senior leaders across the Department of the Army and the DoD, and is available electronically by request. Those interested in a copy of the report may contact PM C4ISR OTM.