Army Concludes First Network Integration Evaluation

Monday July 18, 2011

What is it?

The Army, on July 15, 2001, concluded the first Network Integration Evaluation (NIE). The NIE is the first in a series of semi-annual evaluations designed to integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network and is a key element of the Army’s emerging Network Strategy. The evaluation was a six-week effort conducted at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR,) N.M., involving all 3,800 Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. Its primary purpose was to conduct formal tests of six Army programs of record with a secondary purpose is to less formally evaluate 29 developmental and emerging network and non-networked capabilities.

What has the Army done?

The Army has successfully brought the test, acquisition and doctrine communities together to synchronize and streamline the evaluation and feedback approach--allowing for more usable test data and direct user feedback to the acquisition community. The Army has combined and synchronized formal testing using one Brigade Combat Team--a unit dedicated to performing operationally relevant tests and evaluations. Consolidating the network evaluation at Fort Bliss/WSMR enabled testing and evaluating the Army network as a whole vice individual programs, this is an effective and essential way of doing business.

What is planned for the future?

The next NIE will be a six-week event conducted in October and November 2011. Its purpose is to continue required evaluations in support of Program of Record milestones and advancing integration and understanding of the objective and bridge Army network architectures.

It will also establish the Objective Integrated Network Baseline and introduce industry participation in the NIE evaluation cycle. This second NIE will build off lessons learned from the first evaluation in order to support the Army’s holistic focus to integrate network components simultaneously in one operational venue.

Why is this important to the Army?

The NIE is a new way of doing business – a fundamental change in how we deliver capabilities to our Soldiers. Establishing the NIE helped the Army employ a new Agile acquisition process, the Army is now able to keep pace with industry and technological advances and accelerate the pace of network modernization to a rate unachievable by traditional acquisition strategies. The NIE also has enabled an Army ability to integrate network hardware and software up front prior to deployment—this will lessen the integration challenges faced by deployed units.

Resources:

The Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization website

Related: STAND-TO! May 23, 2011: The Network Integration Evaluations

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"The reality is these NIEs are as much about learning as they are about testing. After all, the only way to fix problems is to accurately identify them. Likewise, the most effective means for developing new, relevant doctrine and tactics is to conduct integrated network-enabled training exercises."

- Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, speaking about the Network Integration Evaluation.

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- Cpl. Austin Saunders, a 21-year-old Infantryman who successfully earned his Ranger tab soon after his battle with lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes.

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