Top U.S. Officer: Army Hasn’t Seen End of Wars’ ‘Undetermined Toll’
By Spencer Ackerman October 27, 2010 | 2:20 pm | Categories: Army and Marines
The annual Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington D.C. is usually a pretty happy affair for the country’s ground forces. But in his address to the confab, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of continued stress on the Army. A second decade of “persistent conflict” that the Army endures, Mullen said, would take an “undetermined toll” on soldiers and their families — far off the battlefield.
One seemingly positive aspect of the ongoing U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is increased time at home that soldiers can expect — a priority for General George Casey, the Army’s chief of staff. Mullen saw a darker side: soldiers and veterans coming home would continue to struggle with a host of personal problems, like “anxiety, depression, family challenges, post-traumatic stress,” on top of health-care costs for the wounded. He called soldier suicides a problem “we have not yet come close to solving.”
Nor was Mullen particularly upbeat about the recent strong retention rates that the military recently touted. “I’m interested in the quality of those numbers,” Mullen said, meaning how well the military’s doing at keeping “the right” junior and non-commissioned officers within the ranks. Although the Army is “one of our most resilient institutions,” Mullen said, the service would be “foolish” not to wonder how it’s developing the “majors, captains, sergeants majors and first sergeants we deeply need in the next decade.”
Then there’s the “operational opportunity cost” that two simultaneous ground wars have inflicted, measured in tasks and missions that the military is “not so able to do anymore.” Marines who haven’t served on Navy ships. Artillery officers who haven’t fired their big guns in years. Air Force fighter pilots who haven’t honed their air-to-air combat skills. The Army and Marine Corps taught themselves to become “the best counterinsurgency force in the world,” Mullen said, but those martial specialties may have gotten lost along the way.
Mullen’s answers to these challenges echoed Casey’s, who’s remarked over the past several days that the Army is just getting a chance to “breathe again” as the Iraq war winds down. Commanders at home garrisons will have to “build resilience among our soldiers from day one,” he said — getting them prepared to endure the psychological burdens of war as well as the physical ones. Mullen said that would often require “very intrusive leadership,” especially as non-commissioned officers haven’t had enough time away from the wars to exercise “persistent leadership positions on the home front.”
But despite acknowledging that he wasn’t painting “a sunny picture,” Mullen wasn’t all gloom and doom. The country’s faced harder times, he said. Returning veterans are “not a burden, but a tremendous opportunity for the future.” The current generation of troops are, “in a way I’ve never seen before, wired to contribute and wired to serve.”
Photo: U.S. Navy
Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010...#ixzz13bOa2zcr
Army Expanding Its Special Operations Force
(Source: US Army; issued Oct. 27, 2010)
WASHINGTON --- The U.S. Army Special Operations Command will double in size by 2017, said its commander, compared to what it was before the war on terror.
The demand for special operations forces, however, has almost quadrupled, said USASOC commander, Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr., Tuesday during the first-ever panel on special operations at the Association of the U.S. Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition.
"The operations tempo for the force has skyrocketed," Mulholland said, later adding that not even the drawdown in Iraq has reduced the number of special operations Soldiers there. He said the deployment ratio for SOF is the highest in the Army, with Soldiers deployed more than they are at home station.
"We will never build enough capacity within the force to meet the demand for the skills and disciplines we bring," Mulholland said.
USASOC is adding a battalion to each of its five active-duty Special Forces groups, along with its two in the National Guard. The Ranger Regiment stood up a Special Troops Battalion a couple of years ago and additional companies are being planned for each of the Ranger battalions.
What was only a single active-duty civil affairs battalion a few years ago has grown to four battalions, now comprising a full brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C. And the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade plans to add a fifth battalion next year. In addition, plans call for adding a second active-duty CA brigade in the future.
Psychological operations underwent a change this month from PSYOPS to military information support operations, or MISO. The 4th PSYOPS Group became the 4th MISG and the 9th PSYOPS Battalion became the 9th MISB. In addition, the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review calls for more PSYOPS companies, but a USASOC spokesman said that growth depends on future funding.
Overall, the budget for U.S. Special Operations Command -- the joint organization of which USASOC is a part -- should triple by 2017, compared to what it was before Sept. 11, 2001, Mulholland projected. He also said USASOC actually comprises about half of SOCOM.
USASOC now has about 5,000 Soldiers and civilians deployed around the world in more than 50 countries. Small teams still train foreign militaries around the globe, but nowhere are SOF missions more in demand than in Afghanistan, Mulholland said.
Missions in Afghanistan range from high-end, direct-action against insurgents to working with tribal elders in villages, Mulholland said. SOF helped train the Afghan light infantry and they're now training the Afghan Special Forces. Every type of mission in the SOF quiver is being conducted nightly in Afghanistan, he said.
High in demand for night operations are the modified helicopters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Not enough MH-46s are available for the missions, and conventional aircraft must sometimes be used, officials said.
Over the next two years, USASOC plans to stand up an additional MH-47 company, said Brig. Gen. Kevin Mangum who recently transitioned from being deputy commanding general of the 1st Armored Division and U.S. Division-Center in Iraq to standing up a new Special Operations Aviation Command. Mangum said he arrived at Fort Bragg less than two weeks ago to stand up the new command.
"Our command will bring more capacity," he said, explaining that it will have responsibility for training, research and development, resourcing, and manning. What it will not do initially, though, is bring more helicopters to the fight, Mangum said. But he added that his command will free up the 160th SOAR to conduct its missions.
SOF is rubbing off on the conventional force, when it comes to capability and standards, said Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, Army G-3/5/7. He said special operations forces set the standard and challenge the rest of the force to meet it.
SOF also provides innovation and inspiration to the entire force, said Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., now the J-5 for the Joint Staff and recently the corps commander in Iraq.
“They shared their stuff, they shared their people, they shared their experiences,” he said about SOF interacting with the general-purpose force. He added that SOF should no longer ever be considered a “niche” capability, explaining that they are now “fundamental.”
Maj. Gen. James L. Huggins Jr., commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, said his Soldiers sometimes “bird dog” for SOF and often work together with special operations forces as a team. Some of his Soldiers eventually decide to cross over to special operations, he said, but added that SOF gives back to the regular force ten-fold.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger of Army Materiel Command was also on the panel. He was a Ranger in the 1970s, and said young Soldiers back then looked at SOF differently. Now there is more trust and teamwork, he said, and young Soldiers look to Special Operations Forces for an example -- "for what right looks like," he said.
One proof that Special Operations has become more integrated into the regular Army is the existence of the SOF panel itself at the AUSA annual meeting, several of the panel members said.
"A lot of things that began in Special Operations are now ingrained into the Army," Mellinger added.
Army Leaders Emphasize Efficiency In Modernization
(Source: U.S Army; issued October 28, 2010)
WASHINGTON --- The Army is working vigorously to institutionalize methods of finding efficiencies in order to meet Soldiers' needs, service leaders said Tuesday at a modernization panel.
Modernization must be accomplished while maintaining a more efficient, effective and cost-conscious way of conducting business, leaders said during the Association of the U.S. Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center.
"This is the future of our Army. Not only must we ensure our Soldiers have the necessary equipment and force-protection capabilities required to operate in a full-spectrum environment -- I believe we must also ensure that we are finding all available efficiencies and spending taxpayer's money wisely and most effectively," said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli.
Chiarelli referred to Defense Secretary Robert Gates' "efficiencies initiatives" announcement in August which called upon the Department of Defense and its services to find more efficient business practices.
"Secretary Gates clearly stated we must be mindful of the difficult economic and fiscal situation facing our nation," Chiarelli said. "We continue to look for ways to achieve savings across all functional areas - manning, organizing, installations and equipment -- to ensure focused investments into weapons systems that will most significantly enhance our global warfighting capability."
Chiarelli said the Army has expanded the scope of the Capability Portfolio Reviews, or CPRs, to include all Army programs -- not merely those in the acquisition community.
The CPRs focus upon groups of systems from a portfolio perspective, he said, with a mind to how they impact one another and serve the Army overall.
"The intent is to eliminate redundancies while ensuring funds are properly programmed, budgeted and executed to yield the most value to the Army," Chiarelli said.
As part of this effort, Chiarelli emphasized that continued technological modernization was essential to the Army's future, citing the battlefield network as a top priority. Warfighter Information Network- Tactical, or WIN-T; Joint Tactical Radio Systems, JTRS; and technologies which comprise the Early Infantry Brigade Combat Teams are all critical to this effort at the tactical level, he said.
"We need to be creative and aggressive in finding ways to get these systems into the hands of our Soldiers as quickly as possible," Chiarelli said.
Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), said the acquisition community is immersed in the CPR process.
"After nine years of war it is important the Army take a holistic look at its requirements, what it has built over time and what is value-added to the Army," Phillips said. "We have to continue to look at our processes in acquisition and where it makes sense to input more efficient and effective processes."
The Army acquisition community is also focused on staying connected to the needs of Soldiers in order to best anticipate current and future threats, Phillips said.
"It is important that acquisition remain connected to warfighters," said Phillips. "We must understand and know what the threat is. It is not just the threat that we face today in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is also the threats of the future," Phillips said.
Much of the modernization panel discussion focused on analyzing requirements to ensure that they are properly synched with acquisition practices.
"We want to deliver capabilities that are resource-informed, integration-focused and outcome-based to provide joint force commanders with a versatile mix, a tailorable network of trained and ready Army forces" said Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, director of the Army's Capability Integration Center, Fort Monroe, Va.
Vane also said modernization efforts will be closely aligned with the United States Army Operating Concept, 2016-2028 -- a document which outlines the expected conditions for conflict in coming years, calling for continuous adaptability in the face of a fast-changing, unpredictable combat environment.
"Achieving the necessary level of operational adaptability in the Army requires that we design our forces, train our units and educate our leaders to adapt to uncertain and dynamic conditions. It requires cohesive teams and resilient Soldiers and leaders able to overcome the enduring psychological challenges of combat," Vane said.
The core tenets of the Army Operating Concept, he said, call for a combination of combined arms maneuver and wide-area security.
A Defense Technology Blog
U.S. Army Weapons Handbook Detailed
Posted by Michael Bruno at 11/5/2010 9:17 AM CDT
Kudos to Secrecy News, the Federation of American Scientists newsletter by Steven Aftergood, for getting its hands on the U.S. Army's 2011 Weapon Systems handbook, a catalog of current programs in various phases of acquisition.
(Interesting reading in there about some of the more unheard of or little heard of programmes)
As Aftergood notes, many of the programs are mature and familiar; others are less so. Each description strives to entail the program's purpose and status, the contractors involved in production, and allies that have acquired the weapon system through foreign military sales programs, if any.
As Aviation Week's top-notch group of land and sea experts covering the recent AUSA conference in Washington reported, the Army is somewhat surprisingly in a major revamp of numerous acquisition efforts for various reasons. Many of them come down to budget pressures, the Obama administration's goals and Defense Secretary Robert Gates' dramatic modernization of the defense bureaucracy, but the historic U.S. land service also is finding itself made-over by the prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will be interesting to see what the 2012 slate of weapons systems looks like.
U.S. TRADOC launches Profession of Arms study
08:19 GMT, November 5, 2010 WASHINGTON
Leaders from across the Army discussed the Profession of Arms in an Institute of Land Warfare forum at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting. This forum followed Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey’s announcement of a year-long campaign to study the Profession of Arms.
“I have asked Gen. Martin Dempsey and TRADOC to conduct a comprehensive review over the next year to examine the state of our profession after a decade of war to make recommendations, for changes to Army policies and programs that will strengthen us as an institution,” Casey said.
Retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, AUSA president, opened the panel with remarks affirming the timeliness and value of the campaign.
“This is the beginning of a very important dialogue,” he said.
The Profession of Arms Campaign and its three Lines of Operation (Assess, Dialog, Review/Revise) will probe and involve all major cohorts comprising the Army: officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, Soldiers and civilians.
Various efforts will take place within each Line of Operation to include activities such as detailed assessments, forums and symposiums, policy reviews, social media conversations, development of training apps, professional curriculum reviews, and reviews of existing field manuals, to name a few. This approach will require collective reflection, dialog and codification of the Army's professional foundations and ethic.
The timing of the study is critical for the Army. Reflecting upon nine years of combat, the Army is exploring the strengths that have sustained Soldiers and the challenges that they are facing as a profession. The Army will also use the time to discuss its commitment to education, efforts to sustain the bond of trust between the Army and the American public, and the impact of decentralized operations.
Don Snider, senior fellow at the Center for Army Profession and Ethic at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and adjunct research professor at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., spoke about what it means to be a profession and the unique challenges that the Army faces.
“You’re not a profession because you say you are,” he said.
“[A] Profession is society’s way of organizing expert work, the kind of work it takes years to learn. Professionals act and practice their knowledge, which is expert knowledge.”
“The professionals’ work is absolutely critical to the survival of the society,” he said, referencing the gravity of a Soldier’s expert knowledge. “And true professionals are servants. They lead a life of servitude for the satisfaction of a job well done.”
Snider went on to discuss the tension in the Army between an occupation-based culture and a profession-based culture. The campaign is seeking to leverage the successes of the Army to maintain it as a profession and avoid becoming an occupation-based culture.
Retired Gen. Frederick Franks, former TRADOC commander, shared his thoughts on the dialogue on the Profession of Arms and the progress he has seen in decades of service.
“I have never seen the Army so tough, so focused and, so resilient as I see now,” he said. “What is it about the profession that has helped achieve results [in Iraq and increasingly in Afghanistan]?”
For the dialogue, Franks charged the audience with three considerations. He recommended that Soldiers recommit themselves to the culture of service. He reminded the audience that how they approach the topic of Profession of Arms would influence how they would feel about the discussion. Finally, he reminded the audience to keep the past, present and future in mind and be certain to rediscover the Profession of Arms and how it interacts with other professions.
“In the Army profession, these are necessary to the accomplishment of the mission,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, chief of staff of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, mentioned how the responsibilities of Soldiers had changed over the years and what that means for the Army profession and ethic.
“[Soldiers] are solving complex problems with creative and agile solutions,” he said. “A [specialist] is now doing the kind of work a sergeant first class may have done, and a lieutenant is doing what a captain used to do.”
Col. Walter Piatt, a former brigade commander and Army Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, talked about the importance of personal values in shaping an individual Soldier’s moral standards and conduct.
“We approach our targets with our moral compass everyday and we saw so many positive examples of junior enlisted Soldiers,” said Piatt. “We have to think about how we can capitalize from our moral and value base. Everytime I come back from a deployment, I feel like we’re starting over. We need to build from this base and I think that’s what we need to learn. We need to take all of these adaptations and evolve and be more decisive.”
Piatt shared about how a grenade was thrown in the direction of a Soldier and when the Soldier had found the source, decided not to fire because there were too many children around.
“[The grenade] was thrown by a young boy, about 11 years old,” said Piatt. “We found the child’s parents, their tribe and their village are forever grateful because this Soldier knew right from wrong, and it’s hard to train Soldiers to do that.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, command sergeant major for I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash., discussed the role of the profession in the garrison setting and Soldier readiness.
Along with maintaining training standards, Grippe reminded the Army to close the gap between operations in the field and operations and life at home to include discipline concerns among Soldiers.
“We are one of the most razor-sharp armies that has ever been produced, and the challenge is to keep it that way,” said Grippe. “We have to make sure that we do not dull and there are challenges that we need to address or we risk losing that sharpness; higher suicide rates, higher sexual assault [incidents], higher drug and alcohol abuse. All of these issues can be traced back to the high operational tempo of the last nine years and we have to overcome these issues with research, education and resources.”
Grippe cited that leadership and mentoring is key.
“We have to keep in mind that we have a combat-seasoned force, but as a profession, we have to coach and mentor and affect at the lowest levels,” he said. “That has to be translated down to sergeant and staff sergeant: the most junior leaders.”
To learn more about the Profession of Arms, visit http://acpme.army.mil/
Carroll Kim (TRADOC Public Affairs)
Very recently introduced into service...............
EQ-36 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radar (Lockheed Martin)
EQ-36 radars will detect, classify, track and determine the location of enemy indirect fire such as mortars, artillery and rockets in either 360 or 90-degree modes. The EQ-36 includes a number of improvements, including 360 degree coverage capability instead of the TPQ-36’s current 90 degrees, and dramatic reductions in false alarm rates. The EQ-36 radar detects close-in mortar attacks and long-range cannon and rocket fire. Thee EQ-36 radar provides combat divisions and fires brigades the capability to conduct predictive analysis and plan counterstrike operations. The EQ-36 radar enables commanders to rapidly and accurately locate and attack the origin of enemy indirect fires. This radar solution also supports the combined arms team and helps the Army gain the information and operational superiority it needs to finish decisively.
An EQ-36 system is actually made up of 2 vehicles. One FMTV truck is the Mission Essential Group, containing the radar antenna and the power generator. The second FMTV truck carries the Sustainment Group, with a climate controlled operations controlled shelter and backup power generator. The operations center allows the radar to link back to Army command systems like AFATDS and FAADC2. The EQ-36 is also IFPC (Indirect Fire Protection Capability) compatible in countering rocket, artillery, and mortar attacks.
Mounted on its 5-ton prime mover, the EQ-36 radar can be rapidly deployed and integrated into the tactical battlefield with heavy, medium and light forces. The EQ-36 Radar System is mobile, maneuverable, fully supportable and easily maintained. The Mission Essential Group contains the radar antenna and the power generator; while the Sustainment Group configuration incorporates an operations control shelter and backup power generator. Adapting to mission requirements, soldiers can operate the EQ-36 remotely using a laptop computer, or from the fully equipped climate-controlled shelter. The radar’s on-board software enables it to interface directly with the Army Battle Command Systems. The EQ-36 is also IFPC (Indirect Fire Protection Capability) compatible in countering rocket, artillery, and mortar attacks. Compared to currently deployed systems, the new, range-proven, battle-ready EQ-36 offers enhanced performance capabilities, including greater mobility, increased reliability and supportability, a lower life-cycle cost, reduced crew size, and the ability to track targets in a full-spectrum environment, a vital capability on today’s battlefield. The EQ-36 is the right system at the right time for immediate irregular warfare and future major combat operations. EQ-36 will provide full spectrum protection for our warfighters in the field.
Operating configuration with generator
Sustainment Group with spare generator
PEO GCS Talks Weapon Systems Modernization
(Source: U.S Army; issued November 12, 2010)
WARREN, Mich. --- Scott Davis, Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems, and his management team led the PEO GCS panel discussion for industry leaders Tuesday at the 2010 NDIA Combat Vehicle Conference.
Davis recognized the valuable contributions of the industrial base and invited leaders to accept the challenge of developing effective, efficient, and affordable systems with integrated and interoperable capabilities for the future.
"In an era of persistent conflict and uncertainty, it is essential that we leverage business processes to drive a commonality among the platforms," Davis said.
Davis also addressed the concerns associated with modernizing systems.
"We are faced with the challenge of balancing resources and requirements within the Defense Acquisition System," Davis said. "Headquarters is aware of these challenges and is committed to working them out."
The Heavy Brigade Combat Team modernization efforts, to include the Abrams main battle tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, and the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), were addressed by Col. William Sheehy, project manager HBCT, who reinforced the message that platforms must be robust for future capabilities.
"We recognize the value of the industrial base in providing for our nation's jobs, and we rely on you (industry leaders) to support future efforts, as with the Ground Combat Vehicle," Sheehy said.
The production of the Abrams and Bradley IFV are currently scheduled to cease by 2014.
Concentrated efforts remain essential for the Abrams to regain the space, weight, power and cooling (SWaP-C) and enable future ammunition and the emerging digitized network.
"The Bradley IFV will be replaced by the Ground Combat Vehicle," Sheehy said. "It is currently our sole modernization effort."
As for the PIM program, Sheehy confirmed the need for a self-propelled howitzer to satisfy the Army's need for full-spectrum capabilities.
"The Army is fully committed to the PIM," Sheehy said. "The program is on schedule with 80% of our time dedicated to its success." Sheehy clarified that PIM is a life-extension program, not a modernization effort.
Lt. Col. Jim Schirmer, product manager for fleet management of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team reviewed Stryker modernization efforts which include a larger suspension, bigger tires for traffic ability, mine-blast seats, double V-hull, a 450 horsepower engine, a larger electrical generator, and Ethernet digitization.
"Although the Stryker has proven to be a lethal, survivable and supportable system in Iraq and Afghanistan, SWaP-C is a challenge across the board and we are looking for innovative solutions," Schirmer said.
Preparing industry leaders for possible competitive initiatives, Keith Gooding, project manager for Joint Lightweight Howitzer revealed that the M777 and M119 have the potential to be digitally modernized within the next two years, whereas the IPADS and Legacy will have minimal opportunities.
Lt. Col. Dave Thompson, project manager for Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, described the vast potential for industry engagement with unmanned ground systems for the Army and Marine Corps.
"We have seven thousand robots, with three thousand in Iraq and Afghanistan," Thompson said. "We are reaching out to industry and academia to help us further develop modularity and commonality among the systems."
The panel discussion included questions from the audience, with one query addressing the imminent release for the Ground Combat Vehicle Request for Proposal.
"GCV is paving the way for a faster turn-around for future RFPs," Davis said. "We want to make sure we have the right foundation from the start."
Davis concluded by thanking industry leaders for their time, dedication, hard work and good ideas.
"It is essential to maintain a skilled industrial base to take us into the future as we move forward with our modernization efforts," Davis said. "We are trying to get key implications on the road so you can help us develop effective, efficient and affordable systems."
Army to Upgrade Force-Tracking System
(Source: U.S Army; issued November15, 2010)
ARLINGTON, Va. --- The Army is in the midst of several high-tech upgrades to its force tracking system - Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below, known as FBCB2 - to include new, next-generation software and a new, faster satellite network, service officials said.
As part of this overall effort, the Army is preparing to deploy the high-tech, high-speed Blue Force Tracking 2, a force-tracking satellite-communications network. Although difficult to compare, it is roughly 10 times faster than the existing BFT system, said Lt. Col. Bryan Stephens, BFT product manager.
The current BFT uses half-duplex capability, a term which means that it has only one-way transmission and cannot receive and transmit at the same time. BFT 2 data rates are exponentially faster than the current BFT.
"BFT 2 is full duplex, which means you can transmit and receive at the same time. It is an entirely different architecture," said Stephens.
In addition, BFT 2 shortens the distance information has to travel; transceivers send information up to a satellite and then immediately down to a ground station, which then quickly sends the information back to deployed units. Current BFT architecture requires that information reach a Network Operations Center located in the United States, Stephens said.
"Today, if you transmit your position-location information in theater operations, it goes to a satellite and then to ground station. Then it is transmitted to a Network Operations Center in the (United States). The NOC sorts it all out and re-broadcasts. When you deal with satellites, you are dealing with latency, as information travels up and down a couple of different times," said Stephens.
"With the BFT 2 system, we changed that architecture. Instead of going all the way to the NOC, information is going up and down to a ground station. That is much different than going through multiple satellite hops to get processed at the NOCs."
With BFT 2, situational information can be beamed across the network in seconds, sending images to a ground station, then back up through commercial satellites to forward-deployed units on the move.
The new system vastly improves refresh time as well. Based on a few factors, current BFT can take minutes to load new data and update position-location information, whereas with BFT 2, refresh time is reduced to a matter of seconds, Stephens said.
The new BFT 2 tracking system, which is slated to begin fielding by the end of 2011, is engineered to synch with new BFT software called Joint Battle Command-Platform, or JBC-P, designed to run on existing JV-5 computers or hardware, said Maj. Shane M. Robb, JBC-P assistant product manager.
"With JBC-P, what we are doing is we are leveraging the successes of FBCB2 and the investment in that system," Robb said.
The Army has about 95,000 BFT systems, the bulk of which are on JV-5 computers already in service, he added.
"The JV-5 computer is in most of the vehicles that are in theater, such as MRAPs and HMMWVs. Rotary-wing assets have different hardware variants. We don't want to replace all that hardware at once. We are going to use the same hardware with our new software and our new capabilities.
The hardware now is running prototype JBC-P software. As we refresh the hardware, which we need to do after a few years anyway, then we will upgrade it with more capable tablet-style computers that more fully meet our requirements for JBC-P," Robb said.
JBC-P also comes with improved requirements for accuracy: an icon representing a vehicle on a JBC-P screen has to be within 200 meters of its actual location.
"If you are driving down the road and you see a vehicle or a person, you can look at your screen and associate an icon with what you see on the ground. It helps to mitigate fratricide," Robb said.
The original FBCB2 screen, which was designed in the 90s, has an old drop-down graphics interface, Robb said.
"JBC-P has a completely redesigned interface, designed to be more intuitive, faster, and more collaborative. It has 'free draw' graphics -- whereas in the past you had to go through a whole graphics menu. This is powerful for a platoon leader on the ground. In the past to do a change of mission on the fly, you had to go through a cumbersome graphics drawing process and send it, or you had to talk someone through everything on the radio," said Robb.
"Now, you can draw an arrow or a circle and say 'I want you to go along this route. I want a support by fire here.' You can send things easily and it is easier to collaborate on the move with chat and messaging," Robb explained.
The JBC-P interface, which will begin fielding in 2013 and 2014, is engineered to integrate Tactical Ground Reporting, or TIGR, of Area, Structures, Capabilities, Organizations, People, and Events, known as ASCOPE data.
"TIGR is designed for the lower echelon units - patrol leaders. In the past, a patrol leader would take notes or logs regarding their area in (his or her) green book or binder, but the data gathered was not very easy to search and reuse. With TIGR, which is currently in the company-level TOCs [Tactical Operations Centers] after a patrol, the patrol leaders can type out their reports into the TIGR system. They upload any photos or reports of interviews, or other events. The data is all geo-referenced and time stamped and it feeds into a larger database" said Robb.
As a result, the next time Soldiers prepare to go out on a patrol, they can highlight their route and any events that have occurred along that route will show up as icons, Robb explained.
"They are then able to view the reports, photos and other data associated with each icon and modify their patrol plan as needed. While TIGR currently exists in the TOC, with JBC-P, TIGR will be integrated and on the vehicles," Robb said.
Boeing begins delivering Brigade Combat Team Modernization capabilities to US Army
December 06, 2010
Boeing today announced that it began delivering Brigade Combat Team Modernization (BCTM) Increment 1 hardware to the US Army on Nov. 17, and made a second delivery on Nov. 22. The hardware included Network Integration Kit-equipped Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and Humvees, along with Unattended Ground Sensors and Unmanned Ground Vehicles.
These deliveries, which will continue through second quarter of 2011, are part of the low-rate initial production contract that Boeing received in February for the first brigade set of BCTM Increment 1 capabilities. The Army now will conduct additional verification testing prior to the capabilities' Initial Operational Test & Evaluation in 2011 and their subsequent deployment to Afghanistan in 2012.
"These deliveries are the culmination of many years of design and field testing to improve this system's reliability and usability for the nation's warfighters," said George Smith, Boeing BCTM Increment 1 Operations project manager. "We knew the schedule was going to be difficult, but this team excels at making the difficult happen."
BCTM Increment 1 capabilities will provide soldiers with enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as increased survivability and lethality. The capabilities will include:
- Network Integration Kit: an integrated computer system that hosts the latest communications and radio systems and battle command software, providing the initial network connectivity needed to transfer sensor and communication data.
- Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle: a robotic system capable of reconnaissance missions in dangerous or difficult situations such as entering buildings, caves and tunnels.
- Class I Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV): a small, soldier-operated UAV that can hover for reconnaissance and surveillance while providing target acquisition.
- Unattended Ground Sensors: multi-mode surveillance sensors for target detection, location and classification, with an imaging capability for identification.
US Army, Oshkosh Defense rollout first HET A1, PLS A1 vehicle configurations
December 06, 2010
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, and the US Army commemorated the rollout of the first Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) and Palletized Load System (PLS) A1 vehicle configurations with a ceremony today at Oshkosh's headquarters. The new configurations of these trucks feature upgrades for improved survivability and performance.
"At Oshkosh we consider it our responsibility to provide US soldiers with the most advanced vehicles and protection systems," said Mike Ivy, vice president and general manager of Army Programs for Oshkosh Defense. "Everyone at Oshkosh, from our engineers to our Field Service Representatives in action across the globe, works to understand soldiers' needs and, together with the military, continuously develops innovative designs that meet these needs. The HET A1 and PLS A1 are the most recent results of this collaborative approach."
The Oshkosh HET A1 configuration includes increased horsepower, higher-capacity front suspension, a larger vehicle cab, electrical upgrades and air conditioning. The PLS A1 features a Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS)-compliant cab that is common with the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) A4 for improved fleet commonality. Other PLS A1 upgrades include a 600-horsepower engine, electrical upgrades and incorporation of an Oshkosh TAK-4 independent front suspension for improved off-road mobility.
Both the HET and PLS vehicles have a long history of success within the US Army. The HET is designed to rapidly transport battle tanks, fighting and recovery vehicles, construction equipment and crews to arrive in mission-ready condition. Since receiving its first contract for the vehicle in 1976, Oshkosh has produced more than 3,000 HETs for the Army.
The PLS is the backbone of the Army's distribution and resupply system. Built to transport ammunition and other critical supplies needed in battle, the PLS has been used in front-line resupply missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Oshkosh received its first PLS contract in 1990, and has produced more than 6,000 PLS trucks and more than 14,000 trailers at its facilities to date.
The pic is of a HEMTT A4 which has the same cab as the PLS minus one set of axles (8x8 versus 10x10) otherwise the same.
Last edited by buglerbilly; 07-12-10 at 05:22 AM.