FORT BLISS, Texas -- On an uncharacteristically chilly day in the Southwest desert, reporters gathered in a remote corner of Fort Bliss to witness the Army's last Network Integration Evaluation. The final NIE--the 12th in a series of events that started in 2011--focused on demonstrating the service's new web-enabled command post system.
For years soldiers have come to the NIE to test new and emerging technologies. The secluded Fort Bliss and adjoining White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico affords units the opportunity to engage in electronic warfare exercises without having to worry about interfering with civilian networks.
During the final evaluation exercise in November, members of the Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, tested the service's command post computing environment (CPCE). More than 1,900 service members participated, assessing the new equipment and relaying feedback about their experiences to leadership with the goal of improving platforms before the Army's fielding decision in 2019.
The Army's current command-and-control support system, known as the command post of the future, does not afford soldiers the same amount of collaboration as the new technology, service officials said shortly before the event kicked off.
The new state-of-the-art system will assist the service in meeting a 10-year goal that Army Secretary Mark Esper laid out in the summer of 2018. The vision includes rebuilding the force by putting a focus on readiness and acquiring new technologies needed for possible warfare with competitors such as Russia and China.
The new command post computing environment "will enable us to meet the Army's objective of 2028," said Col. Chuck Roede, deputy commander of the service's Joint Modernization Command, during a demonstration of the new system.
During its initial round of testing, the CPCE consolidated the functionality of four platforms from the field into one system. They include the command post of the future, the tactical ground reporting system, the command web and the global command-and-control system.
The consolidation of these platforms improved communication among troops, said Col. Arthur Sellers, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.
"My two biggest concerns, as a brigade commander, are shared understanding... so we can be faster than the enemy and be more lethal," he said. "Everything we do is about being lethal."
Additionally, the CPCE is...