Army readies for tactical network tests

Army readies for tactical network tests

The Army is gearing up for the Network Integration Evaluation 16.1/Army Warfighter Assessment, or NIE/AWA 16.1, by finishing construction and equipping its command posts and tactical vehicles with the Army’s most advanced network components. 

Prior to the late-September event, the Validation Exercise, or VALEX, ensures that over 300 platforms, nearly 20 command posts and 1,600 key participants are ready to support warfighting functions during the assessments.  “As learned throughout numerous past exercises, a successful VALEX is essential to a successful NIE,” said Col. Terrence Harris, who heads the capability package directorate within the Army’s System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate.   

The full NIE/AWA event will feature roughly 12,000 soldiers and personnel from 13 NATO countries.

“Due to the increased number of participants and the joint/multinational focus of AWA, our planning this time around has been more detailed and has involved more action officer work up front,” Harris said. “We have had to ramp up our external communications to ensure those who are not normally part of the NIE understand what needs to be done and what their VALEX mission encompasses, which will set the tone for the NIE event.”

While previous NIEs have focused on rigorously testing Army communications through soldier field evaluations, the upcoming NIE will serve as a proof of concept for the Army Warfighter Assessment. AWA will not be a test environment like NIE, Army officials said, but rather will focus on new concepts such as force modernization, interoperability for joint and multinational forces and readiness among those forces.  It will “allow soldiers to experiment with new technologies and provide feedback,” according to an Army statement.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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