WASHINGTON D.C. - The Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System was named the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement 2008 Outstanding U.S. Government Program at its Network Centric Warfare Awards ceremony here at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Jan. 23.

"I am proud to say that our team has leaned forward and has taken on the challenges of network-centric warfare to include engaging with Future Combat System and Net-Enabled Command Capability to pre-position our program as an integral part of the Army\'s Future Force," Product Director Ted Hom said. "We are leveraging advancements in technology and continue to provide state-of-the-art equipment to our warfighters."

The Network Centric Warfare Awards are awarded annually to honor, recognize, and promote initiatives in the U.S. Department of Defense, coalition governments, and defense industry that exemplify the principles of network-centric warfare and support information age transformation, according to IDGA.

The AFATDS product director reports to the U.S. Army Project Manager for Battle Command, an office within the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical.

Deployed throughout the Army and Marine Corps, AFATDS is an automated fire support system using 21st Century command, control and communications technology to increase the accuracy of fires and reduce the timeline from the sensing of targets to the delivery of fires.

As the primary fire support system supporting Army battle command, AFATDS provides expert operators and commanders with situational awareness, battle management, target analysis, and target engagement tools. It provides fully automated support for planning, coordinating, and controlling mortars, field artillery cannons, rockets, guided missiles, close air support, attack helicopter and naval gunfire for close support, counter-fire, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and deep operations.

Integrated within the fires components of joint command centers for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, as well as the Army, AFATDS is known as a "multi-service" system.

"The extraordinary information requirements required to perform fire support command and control and the sharing of this critical fires information throughout the tactical and operational network directly drive the need for a flexible, robust and networked solution," said Hom. "That's what AFATDS provides."

Over the past two years the AFATDS system architecture and suite of software applications has evolved to support the Department of Defense's migration strategy to the NECC while simultaneously complementing the U.S. Army's move to consolidate battle command (BC) servers and services among its array of the systems.

This makes AFATDS a cornerstone program to enable the tenets of "net-centric" warfare, according to Hom.

"The tenets of net-centric warfare are critical to the AFATDS mission due to the complexity of executing scalable precision munitions on the right target at the right time while reducing collateral damage," said Hom.

The new capabilities implemented within the AFATDS program stress service-oriented architecture, seamless networking and information dominance. This addresses capabilities in the physical, information and cognitive domains with a common set of capabilities for both NECC and BC system-of-systems.

The Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System has been in use during combat operations since the beginning of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as the primary system to manage and execute joint fires (naval, air, cannon, missile, mortar and attack aviation) in support of the land forces commander. Jess Smith is a contractor for the Army's Project Manager for Battle Command.