As the Army prepares to choose the new builder of its handheld digital radios, the incumbent contractors are tryiing to convince Congress to keep other companies out. The incumbents are General Dynamics, which publicly apologized to the Army over its half of the program last year, and Rockwell Collins. The Army’s own chief of acquisitions,… Keep reading →
FORT LAUDERDALE: It’s unnerving when you learn your program’s fate from the small print in a presenter’s PowerPoint slides. But that’s how difficult government-industry communications can get in the Army’s ambitious attempt to inject innovative technology into its cumbersome procurement process, the twice-yearly Network Integration Evaluations.
“A question we’ve been asked many times over: ‘Have you bought anything out of the NIE?’ Yes, we have,” said Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, deputy to the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, on the second day of the Association of the US Army‘s annual winter conference here in Florida. Up on the screen flashed a list of 30 NIE-tested technologies that the Army was procuring, from massive programs like WIN-T (Warfighter Information Network – Tactical) from General Dynamics to “Tactical Vision” mission planning software from a 30-person firm called Ringtail Design. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: While Army forces in Afghanistan have more bandwidth and gadgetry than ever, bases back home still make do with archaic copper-wire telephone switches. As the war winds down and units increasingly operate out of the US, the challenge for the Army’s CIO is to move the whole service to a single set of compatible, cloud-based systems.
“How do we get the network right?” Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, the Army’s Chief Information Officer, aka the G-6, asked at an Association of the US Army breakfast. “We’re going to propose that [cloud-based] strategy to [Chief of Staff] Gen. [Ray] Odierno on Saturday the 17th.” Keep reading →
[corrected Dennis Moran's title at 3:45 pm] AUSA: General Dynamics issued what the Army’s top tester called a “mea culpa” over its troubled Manpack radio, while archrival Harris sharpened its knives to compete with GD for both the backpack-sized Manpack and the smaller Rifleman Radio.
At a briefing for reporters at the Association of the US Army’s annual conference in Washington, DC, Army Test and Evaluation Command chief Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco brandished a letter he and other officials had received from General Dynamics C4 Systems president Christopher Marzilli. Dellarocco said Marzilli had written “to apologize” for remarks the GDC4S executive had made that seemed to criticize how the Army had tested the company’s Manpack radio, remarks which Marzilli said were “taken out of context.” (For clarity’s sake, we should note we’re quoting Dellarocco’s description of Marzilli’s letter here, not directly from the letter itself). A General Dynamics spokesperson told Breaking Defense that our article on the subject quoted Marzilli accurately. Keep reading →
The Army’s new, streamlined approach to improving its battlefield networks took a big step forward this week when five MRAP armored trucks with the latest digital communications gear shipped out to be tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
Testing at Aberdeen is the last major hurdle before fielding what’s called “Capability Set 13″ to Afghanistan-bound soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division this October. It comes just six months after design work began on the vehicle upgrades and just three months after the proposed technologies underwent extensive testing in the New Mexico desert under the new “Network Integration Evaluation” process, which a recent Defense Business Board report held up as a model for more rapid acquisition of new technology. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The defense spending bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee today keeps Block 30 Global Hawk drones flying, instead of letting them be warehoused as the Air Force had planned, a congressional source confirmed to Breaking Defense. That is arguably the final flourish on Congress’s utter rejection of the Air Force’s proposed cuts in the 2013 budget. The bill passed by a vote of 30-0.
Breaking Defense plowed through 300 pages of report language released to the press this afternoon and picked out new details about winners and losers. But all of this detail might be overtaken by events. Keep reading →
PENTAGON: The Army showed off an impressive array of battlefield wi-fi gadgetry today in the Pentagon courtyard, exhibiting new-found realism about what gadgets it might not need.
Consider the hardware to connect the individual foot soldier to the brigade-wide command network, which has been stripped down from a 14-pound prototype to a militarized smartphone plugged into a handheld radio. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: An Army general was named Friday to head plans and policy at Cyber Command, based at Fort Meade, Maryland.
Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper is moving from Fort Huachuca, where she headed Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, to Fort Meade, where she’ll be the director of plans and policy — staff section J-5 — for the inter-service Cyber Command. At Army NetCom, Napper helped consolidate the Army’s scattered email systems to a centralized “cloud” service called Enterprise Email, run by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Congress had ordered a halt to the migration over cost concerns but allowed it to resume in March. The outward and visible manifestation of this massive IT project has been the replacement of “@army.mil” addresses with “@mail.mil” ones. The deeper drivers, though, are cost savings and better security — the latter a particularly crucial issue in Napper’s new job at CyberCom. Keep reading →
A mobile Army command-and-control system called “WIN-T Increment 2″ set up for testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
Army Seeks New Network Tech For New Brigades’ Post-Afghanistan Missions Keep reading →
As the U.S. Army tries to field new mobile networking technology to its troops, it is betting that a new testing process built around biannual “Network Integration Evaluations” can avoid the acquisition disasters of the past. Success depends on a new division of labor between government and industry – something which the Army admits it is still thrashing out. Keep reading →