WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army’s tactical network modernization team is taking a serious look at how it can reduce the electronic signatures of its command posts in the field, making it more difficult for adversaries to locate them.
“We really want to look at how we can reduce the signature of our command posts,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, the new leader of Army Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, speaking on a webinar hosted by the Potomac Officers Club Aug. 11. “Certainly, any time that you adopt a lot of commercial technologies you start to look at how your signature is on the battle space, so I really look to industry and how they can bring some of their best ideas and technologies for how we can potentially do spectrum obscuration, as well as decoys so we can minimize our footprint on the battlefield.”
The push is part of the Army’s broader effort to increase command post survivability and mobility under Capability Set ’23, a new set of network tools being developed by the Army to increase the resiliency and capacity of the service’s tactical network. The Army tactical network requested white papers on command post signature and concealment capabilities in preparation for Capability Set ’23, seeking details on how industry could contribute to the following areas: Post decoy and spectrum obfuscation, visual profile and concealment, infrared concealment and electromagnetic spectrum camouflage.
The Army has an upcoming virtual technical exchange meeting with industry about Capability Set ’23 in early September, and preliminary design review is slated for next April.
The tactical network modernization team will also look across the Army to other teams for solutions for command post survivability. The Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command’s C5ISR (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) Center is maturing technology for spectrum obfuscation and survivable command post capabilities. Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the Army Network Cross-Functional Team, also highlighted an ongoing spectrum awareness project that would allow soldiers to see their spectrum signature while in the field “and take actions to mitigate against that signature.” That effort has shown maturity, he noted.
“Those are all emerging, and we’re going to see if they are ready for prime time as we go through our prototyping efforts,” Gallagher said.
Collins also highlighted upgrades to the service’s Command Post Computing environment being pursued by the Program Executive Office for Command Control Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) that would ensure all soldiers in the field have access to a common operating picture with a single mission command suite. Within Capability Set ‘23, PEO C3T will focus on reducing redundancy by developing a common operational tool, data platform, applications like mapping and chat and common hardware.
“There’s lots of efficiencies to gain as this eliminates some of our duplicative and redundant implementations. This really speeds up some of our future delivery cycles ... and really enhances our interoperability,” Collins said.
Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.