The US Army is looking to enhance operational flexibility of its S6 officers by integrating and converging different network operations (NetOps), tools used for management of the tactical communications network into an integrated system.
Led by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), the move represents one component of the army's overall initiative to simplify the network so as to increase its likeliness to technology operated by warfighters during tactical missions.
The overall aim is to achieve network visibility from the enterprise level to the tactical level, simultaneously lowering the number of tools required.
The product manager for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (PM WIN-T, Increment 3) source lieutenant colonel, Ward Roberts, said the S6 has to manage a range of network transport devices, applications and hardware, and also receives NetOps from different programme offices that do not work together.
"But the goal of NetOps convergence is to provide one tool, or an easy to use integration of tools, into one seamless delivery so that the S6 has one tool set to manage his whole network," Roberts said.
PM WIN-T technical management division chief, Rich Greel, said the army is pushing network systems lower in the echelons as part of its network modernisation efforts.
"With the increased size of the network, additional number of nodes, and the army pushing it down lower in the echelons, we have to ensure that NetOps tools make it easy for the S6 to manage that network," Greel said.
An objective of the convergence is to integrate currently fielded lower tactical internet and TI tools together and make them operate seamlessly with WIN-T's upper TI tools.
An enhanced WIN-T NetOps tool suite ,developed under the WIN-T Increment 3 programme, is expected to serve as the baseline for tactical NetOps, as the Integrated Tactical NetOps team works to converge other products, including those used for TI management.
The advanced WIN-T NetOps capabilities are scheduled to be evaluated at the army's semi-annual NIE 14.2 exercise, to be held this spring, prior to their delivery to units equipped with WIN-T Increment 2.
Image: a WIN-T Increment 2-equipped vehicle during training at the Joint Readiness Training Centre at Fort Polk, Louisiana, US. Photo: courtesy of JRTC Operations Group Public Affairs.