recommended reading

Battlefield networks remain Army's top modernization priority

The Army is asking Congress for $1.9 billion in 2013 to field two tactical communications systems, Barbara Bonessa, the service's deputy budget director, told reporters at a Pentagon briefing Monday. Bonessa noted the Army continues to view battlefield networks as its No. 1 modernization priority.

Both systems experienced problems in field tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in 2011.

To support ongoing network modernization, the Army's proposed procurement budget includes $556 million for the Joint Tactical Radio System, which would cover the purchase of 5,900 8-pound short-range Rifleman Radios; 4,600 larger and longer-range backpack radios; and 110 Airborne and Maritime Fixed Station, or AMF, radios, Bonessa said.

The 2013 budget request also includes $893 million in procurement funding for the Warrior Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2, the service's backbone tactical communications network. The money would pay for 2,166 terminals and associated equipment, enough to equip seven brigade combat teams, she said. In addition, he budget includes $278 million for research and development and $54.9 million for spare parts for WIN-T.

The second increment of WIN-T, developed by General Dynamics C4 Systems, is designed to provide commanders moving across a battlefield with broadband and voice communications via satellite or a relay through an unmanned aerial vehicle. Troops who tested the on-the-move capability of WIN-T at the Army network integration evaluation exercise at White Sands in November 2011 said the system had problems that made voice communications difficult.

Spec. Allison Ferrone, radio operator for the commander of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, which conducted the evaluation, said at the time, "voice comms over satellite are broken up. We can hear people crystal-clear, but they have a hard time hearing us." She attributed the breakdown to a problem endemic to any satellite system -- latency, or the time delay a signal experiences as it makes a 50,000-mile round trip up to a satellite and back down to the ground.

Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation, said tests reported to Congress in January showed that the JTRS backpack radio, also developed by General Dynamics C4 Systems, experienced a range of problems in the June 2011 network integration evaluation at White Sands.

That radio "demonstrated problems with reliability, transmission range and voice quality that restricted the unit's ability to accomplish its mission. These same problems were observed during the curtailed period of developmental testing," Gilmore reported to Congress.

Threatwatch Alert

Accidentally leaked credentials / Misplaced data

Boeing Employee Emails 36,000 Coworkers’ Personal Info to Spouse

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.