By Amy Walker, PEO C3T April 1, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 1, 2013) -- Inside the Army's new Company Command Post, Soldiers will find 17 different communication and mission command systems. Together they will be used as a single, integrated weapon system, multiplying the effectiveness of their capabilities to greatly increase communications at the company level.
As part of its capability set, or CS, fielding, the Army has fielded Company Command Post, or CoCP, training sets that mirror the integrated CS 13 systems that will be provided in theater, enabling companies preparing for deployment to train on the same systems and capabilities they will fall in on when they arrive.
"We took a holistic approach to the equipment going into the new Company Command Post design, and as far as training the companies on these integrated systems in a Command Post environment, we provided a simple, turnkey solution," said Lt. Col Carl Hollister, product manager for Command Post Systems and Integration, or PdM CPS&I. "Everything that is needed to set up and establish a Company Command Post for their training iterations is provided in one package."
In coordination with the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical's, known as PEO C3T, readiness management division and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, or ASA(ALT), System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate, PdM CPS&I completed the design and integration of 42 CoCP pre-deployment training sets as part of CS 13. The CoCP training sets are now being used by deploying brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, to train company commanders and designated personnel on command post operations.
Each BCT will receive 14 CoCP training sets to train with through the completion of the unit's Mission Rehearsal Exercise, or MRE, which is conducted at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., in preparation for a unit's deployment. Upon completion of the MRE, the CoCP training sets will be harvested from the unit, refurbished and used to train follow-on units.
"Normally, during individual new equipment training Soldiers learn how to use these systems separately," said Matthew Spielman, deputy for PdM CPS&I, which is assigned to Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T. "But until you bring them together collectively and pull them all together in a Command Post environment, Soldiers don't necessarily understand how what they do on their own box impacts what happens on somebody else's box. This training helps them to understand the integration and to see how the command post works as a single integrated system."
As far as the actual training, PdM CPS&I leveraged the work they had done with the Brigade Modernization Command during past Network Integration Evaluations as companies were being trained for initial CoCP design and integration evaluations at Fort Bliss, Texas. In mid February 2013, the Army executed the first CoCP fielding and integration new equipment training for the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), at Fort Drum, N.Y., and the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), at Fort Polk, La. These units are training in preparation for deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom, known as OEF, with the full CS 13 capabilities later this year.
Lt. Col. Alan Boyer, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, 10th Mountain Division, said the CS 13 company command post capabilities will be a "game changer" for mission command at lower echelons.
"It gives us voice and data capabilities so we can pass CONOPS [concept of operations] back and forth; we can conduct collaborative battle update briefs at the company to battalion level," Boyer said. "The way I grew up in the Army, that was always done over FM. Now, we can do that real time, virtual, with data and voice. And that is a significant change in the way we fight."
CS 13 is the Army's first fully-integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices and other network components that provide connectivity from the stationary command post to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted Soldier. WIN-T Increment 2 is the tactical communications network backbone that binds the capability set together.
The systems that make up the CoCPs are intended to deliver a new level of advanced voice and data communications to the company level. Legacy Secure Internet Protocol Router/Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point satellite terminals are being utilized for satellite connectivity and the RF-7800W High Capacity Line-Of-Sight radios for line-of-sight data connectivity. Soldiers can also utilize Tactical Ground Reporting, a multimedia, patrol-level reporting system; and Joint Capabilities Release, the second generation of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below, which tracks friendly and enemy forces on a geospatial imagery map. Many other mission command systems as well as e-mail, chat and Voice over Internet Protocol functions area also found in the new CoCPs.
As the Army draws down in OEF and continually prepares for future military operations in unknown theaters, large stationary command posts will be supplemented with smaller, more mobile systems such as CoCPs.
"Over the last 12 years in Afghanistan and Iraq the Army realized the importance of small units in the fight, the platoon and squad resident in the company," said Donald Grimm, supporting program analyst for PdM CPS&I. "The Army also realized there was a gap for digitized Command Posts at the company level. The design and integration of the CS13 Company Command Post and its training sets fill that gap and will support future contingency operations."