The US Army is planning to assess the performance of its tactical network baseline to set conditions for future network development and refine focus areas for industry innovation, during the network integration evaluation (NIE) 15.1, scheduled to be held in fall 2014.
Apart from validating the performance of existing integrated network capabilities in varied operational scenarios, the network baseline assessment is also expected to pinpoint remaining capability gaps that need to be filled to address the army's future mission command requirements.
The army aims to address the identified capability gaps in two consecutive NIEs, lengthening the time period for vendors to develop and propose mature capability solutions and better leverage to deliver enhanced communications to soldiers.
Army System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate Integration Planning Division chief, Kim Bowen, said the reduction in new candidate systems for NIE 15.1 will enable the army to get a clear picture of the brigade's networked systems and establish the baseline for development.
"This information will support the early release of a detailed sources sought notice for future NIEs as well as provide industry additional time to prepare candidate solutions for those events," Bowen said.
A government call for mature solutions notice, and a sources sought notice have been released by the army to industry, on 16 and 17 January, seeking evaluation of emerging capabilities for potential participation in NIE 15.1.
Representing the eighth in the series of semi-annual field evaluations designed to streamline and enhance the way communications technologies are delivered to warfighters, the NIE 15.1 is scheduled to take place in October-November 2014 at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, US.
In addition, the army is simultaneously preparing to execute NIE 14.2 in spring 2014, which is expected to feature increased joint and multinational participation in conjunction with the Joint Staff-led BoldQuest Exercise.
Image: the NIE 15.1 will witness evaluation of the US Army's tactical network baseline. Photo: courtesy of Amy Walker.