The days of one-off solutions for providing situational awareness and command-and-control information in the Army could be numbered.
“We are on the verge of putting tactical common operating environment capability into the Army organization in the very near term,” Col. Troy Crosby, project manager for mission command at Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, said June 6 at the C4ISRNET Conference in Arlington, Virginia.
The Army is getting ready to field the first set of capabilities under a new modernized network architecture in 2021, which will include the first iteration of the Command Post Computing Environment (CP CE).
The Army wants flexibility to insert new technologies into its network as it continues to modernize.
CP CE is a web-enabled system that will consolidate current mission systems and programs into a single user interface.
Crosby said CP CE is on the verge of receiving a critical decision from the Army this month as to whether or not it has passed all of its tests and can be used by soldiers in combat.
The Army has been trying to incorporate a DevOps process for CP CE using a variety of units to experiment with the capability that can provide direct feedback on the system to the program office.
Command Post Computing Environment allows for better coordination making forces able to react faster in the face of near peer adversaries.
However, one of the key lessons they learned, according to Crosby, was they used too many test units: six in total.
“With that many partners trying to do all the exercises that those different level echelon commands and organizations wanted to do, that piece became untenable,” he said. “I think at least for our portfolio, somewhere around three is a much better level.”
Similarly, Crosby noted that the difficulty with mission command is each commander has their own way of performing it. As the Army was trying to come up with a common solution for all units with CP CE, they had to make sure they tailored the capability for the Army rather than an individual commander they received feedback from during the developmental process.
Army brass is now granted access to data in real time. This includes troop movements down to the minute, and while that sounds useful, soldiers find it isn’t always being used effectively.