IT and Networks

Army expands enroute communications

The Army is rolling out capabilities that will maintain soldiers' connectivity from home station, enroute and into the theater, according to MG Daniel Hughes, Army program executive officer for command, control, communications-tactical.

"It's critical that we make that effort to make sure our soldiers can operate at home like they do in field," and vice versa, Hughes said April 7 at the C4ISR & Networks Conference in Arlington, Virginia. "The en-route mission command is something that's coming to fruition right now."

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Those capabilities are being deployed on an ongoing basis, starting with 75 units that will receive an array of technologies to keep them connected, including elements of the command post computing environment, the mounted computing environment and the Joint Battle Command-Platform. That includes interfaces for displaying digital information and functions, such as logistics, intelligence and airspace management and maneuvers – that can be through radios, mapping applications, chat rooms and other capabilities.

"This will allow us to operate in the air as we move forward to the fight, keeping the same connectivity so you have information where you need it [and] when you need it as the commander makes decisions," Hughes said. "We have to have that ability to operate as the unit hits the ground so you don't have to build up," and so adversaries have less of a window for penetration during that buildup.

The command post computing environment, or CPCE, is one particular area of focus for Hughes' office, he said, and fits in with the broader plan for connectivity across the Army and the Defense Department – and that includes nesting with unified capabilities and the Joint Information Environment.

"CPCE will allow us to have one map engine, one email, one chat, one messaging capability, graphics that look the same, the same desktop and unified data that underpins all of it," he said. "The data is key."

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