The Army wants to make substantial investments in its friendly forces tracking system, according to the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2019.

Specifically, the Army wants to spend more on its Joint Battle Command-Platform, which provides what’s known as blue force tracking, encrypted data and faster satellite network connectivity, according to Army budget documents.

The program would be accelerated to baseline across all Army formations and help solve problems related to mounted mission command, Davis Welch, deputy director for the Army budget, said during a briefing at the Pentagon Feb. 12.

According to the accompanying budget documents, the Army requested a total of $431 million for the program in fiscal 2019. That’s up from a total of $283 million during the fiscal 2018 budget. Moreover, the Army plans to procure 26,355 systems as opposed to 16,552 from the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Other science and technology investments Welch said the Army plans to make – which makes up 26 percent of the Army’s total $10.2 billion development budget – include advancing cyber and electromagnetic activities that will go toward emphasizing concept development in cyber operations.

The Army has been undertaking a program called cyber and electromagnetic activities support to corps and below, which seeks to assess through experiments at the National Training Center – as well as internal policy assessments – what types and at what echelons cyber and electronic warfare capabilities should reside at the tactical edge. In other words, what kinds of cyber capabilities do soldiers need on the battlefield.

Welch also noted that the development of systems for precision positioning, navigation and timing in a global positioning system denied battle space are also included in the service’s science and technology budget request.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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