Army Team Takes Steps to Revamp Tactical Network
Defense DepartmentOne of the Army’s new cross-functional teams is examining the service’s science-and-technology portfolio in support of an initiative to revamp the tactical communications network, according to a senior official.
“We’ve been given guidance as a cross-functional team to kind of look at big leap-ahead technology, as we went out over the last several months and started a review of the science-and-technology portfolio, and looking at who else is doing what in the network space, “ team leader Maj. Gen. Pete Gallagher told reporters March 19 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia. The team examined information from multiple organizations such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency, he said.
Gallagher’s group is one of the first established to help the service further its modernization efforts. Designed to inform the capabilities development process, the teams consist of a variety of professionals in multiple fields such as acquisition and science and technology.
Gallagher noted some of his team’s tasks include examining a “unified network transport” that will come after the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T.
The service wants advanced line-of-sight capabilities, low probability of interception, and dynamic spectrum allocation across the network, he said. The systems must be able to operate in a contested environment, he noted.
“In some cases, that’s where a lot of our science-and-technology efforts have been refocused on,” he said. “We’re partnering with industry, and we’re looking to leverage their research-and-development efforts to help us attack that problem. That’s probably the main effort ... we actually have to finish.”
Last year, the Army announced plans to halt procurement of WIN-T and shake up its tactical networking system strategy. Studies have highlighted WIN-T’s long setup time and
vulnerability. The service’s new strategy, which was submitted to Congress earlier this year, outlines the Army's intention to halt programs that do not meet requirements, fix programs needed “to fight tonight,” and pivot to improve its systems, Gallagher noted.
Gallagher's team is trying to “organize ourselves for innovation,” work with the acquisition and test community and examine the service’s legacy tactical network requirements, he noted.
“In many cases, we have [held] ourselves hostage by the way we've crafted those requirements,” he said.
Gallagher said the service expects to soon receive responses to a request for white papers. The Army in February put out a notice calling for industry to submit potential solutions for a number of modernization network priorities, such as line-of-sight radio capabilities and electronic protection for communications systems.