by Osie David and LTC(P) Richard J. Hornstein
A FUNDAMENTALLY NEW APPROACH
The Army never wants a fair fight in combat. Its goal is always to maintain tactical overmatch, like killing a fly on the wall
This overmatch exists at the corps, division, brigade, battalion, and even the company levels. However, as LTg Robert B. Brown, Commanding General, I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, wA, has noted, “The infantry squad has been excluded from the technological development that provided combat overmatch for the remainder of our forces.” The greatest parity in the fight still exists at the tactical edge with the dismounted Soldier, operating outside the network once he leaves his combat outpost or vehicle.
The Army wants to change this by increasing overmatch and reducing tactical surprise at the small unit. The Army’s new science and technology (S&T) construct called Technology Enabled Capability Demonstrations (TECDs) can help converge operational and intelligence information for the small unit. The TECDs are helping to address the challenges of unifying the information and data flow from mission command and intelligence systems, integrating fires and other warfighting functions (wfF), and improving situational understanding. This goal will be achieved with automated options and timely tips and cues sent across the network and out to the tactical edge where the information can be leveraged to improve a squad’s survivability and lethality.
The U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC) is uniquely positioned to support the Army’s new TECD initiative. CERDEC has the in-house expertise andhas fostered enduring relationships across government, industry, and academia to effectively execute this S&T effort.
The concept of TECDs is a new one and warrants further discussion. The Army is changing the way it has normally approached some of its S&T development and is now aligning the expenditure of 6.3 money, designated for advanced technology development and demonstration, to more effectively fill the operational gaps and priorities defined by Army senior leaders.
In July 2011, the Army Science and Technology Advisory Group, chaired by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and the Army Acquisition Executive, established the top 10 Army challenge areas for investment of 6.3 S&T funds. To concentrate on these challenge areas, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology instituted the TECD process to accelerate the identification, maturation, and transition of technical solutions that address Army gaps.
The TECDs represent a fundamentally new way for the Army to enable rapid
ENHANCING THE FORMATION
development and transition of integrated capabilities that focus on specific operational challenges identified and prioritized by Army senior leaders. Historically, the S&T community used the Army Technology Objective (ATO) construct. The ATOs were proposed research and development efforts that generally sought transition opportunities for individual capabilities focusing on individual materiel solutions.
TECDs take a broader programmatic approach to developing, integrating, and demonstrating a multitude of technologies to deliver a collective capability that will address real-case operational gaps. TheTECDs seek technology solutions that can improve formation effectiveness, not just enhance individual Soldier capabilities.
Aligning this intent with the goals of mission command (MC) and actionable intelligence (AI) TECDs, the payoffs are much higher. The intended TECD solution goes beyond empowering the individual Soldier; it allows the Army to integrate a suite of tools and capabilities across a broad set of requirements and give them to a formation to enhance its collective capability.
unencumbered by a specific requirements document, the S&T communities can work efforts across the broad spectrum of MC, AI, and other wfF needs to develop and demonstrate integrated solutions that will help fulfill those requirements.
CERDEC’s Command, Power, and Integration (CP&I) Directorate has been identified as the lead for two of the top 10 S&T challenges: MC and AI. CP&I is planning to manage the development of these efforts as one unified endeavor, to improve integration and efficiencies.
The effort is aligned with the Army’s migration strategy of extending the network beyond the company to the squad with the deployment of the Rifleman radio to each Soldier and the deployment of a handheld capability down to the team leader level.
The capabilities that the TECDs intend to demonstrate are unique and gamechanging. One important example is the ability to provide near-real-time intelligence hits from the Integrated Sensor Coverage Area on potential enemy locations and to extend them out to the MC domain and the dismounted Soldier on patrol. (See Figure 1, Page 79.) This will empower small unit leaders with improved situational understanding and reduce surprise.
Some other MC technology examples include proactive decision support and collaboration tools; faster and more accurate target identification and handoff; automated options; and enhanced low-visibility capability for threat discernment and day/night targeting pointers. (See Figure 2.)
Additional AI efforts include proactive data services; company intelligence support team fusion services; and overwatch
sensor grid capabilities and technologies that will include lighter and more effective unmanned aerial vehicle sensor payloads for improved threat detection. The overall TECD aim is unique: to empower the squad and provide operations/ intelligence (OPS/INTEL) updates for their mission overwatch area.
There is a need to understand that the outcome should not hamper the small unit with automation, but rather offer critical situational understanding while reducing the cognitive burden on the leaders. This will be accomplished by taking advantage of the extended network and offering Soldiers options for critical decisions they need to make on combatpatrols. Fundamentally, we want to get the right data to the right squad at the right time.
To start the effort, CERDEC CP&I and its sister organization, the Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, have cooperatively developed a unified TECD operational view (OV) to achieve a converged OPS/INTEL concept of operations (CONOP). This CONOP also aligns with the Army’s Common Operating Environment and with several Programs of Record (PORs) that represent the Title 10 leads for developing and deploying capability to the Army formations.
The TeCD OV is the basis for defining and depicting the environment, challenges, and how we intend to influence and fill some of those gaps technologically. This approach highlights incremental development and upfront integration to reduce the risks of redundancy of effort and separate one-off functional solutions.
CERDEC also recognizes that a multitude of organizations are working in this same problem space. To stay synchronized and to better understand and de-conflict our efforts, we have and will sustain engagements with the key stakeholders.
To help reduce the risk of duplicative efforts, we continue to meet with POR
leads and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), seeking to leverage the commercial sector for emerging solutions. We have also crosswalked and validated our requirements against the TRADOC warfighting outcomes, the Mission Command essential Capabilities and the Intelligence community’s blueprint for the Army of the 21st century.
Additionally, the TECD team has compared technology development with the capabilities at the Network Integrated Evaluations and continues to do so, to avoid duplicating development efforts with industry and our sister PORs.
The TECDs also have a great deal of Army leader support; all current TECD efforts have been approved by the Army Science and Technology Advisory Group. Additionally, the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS), G-3/5/7, LTG John F. Campbell, and the former DCS, G-2, now-retired LTG Richard P. Zahner, endorsed the effort and its intended outcomes.
We plan to sustain a close cooperative effort with our stakeholders and execute periodic demonstration and experimentation events, which are an important aspect of this effort. These frequent demonstration and experimentation eventsare intended to measure and validate TECD concept capabilities and to minimize transition and deployment risks.
We’ve sequenced our technical approach through three phases. This three-year strategy focuses first on developing capabilities for the austere squad, separated from the enterprise, in Fy13. Phase II, in Fy14, focuses on the networked platoon. The effort will culminate in Fy15 with Phase III, focused on a fully networked company with integrated capabilities and data flow up and down the tactical echelons. (See Figure 3.) The intent is to demonstrate and deliver incremental capability for each of those years, not just one big bang at the end of Fy15.
The real determination of success is always adoption of the capability by the operational user. The TECDs’ continual planning and synchronization with TRADOC capability managers, program executive officers, program managers, and TRADOC Centers of Excellence (COEs) will help to ensure that these solutions remain complementary and have an established path for transition to the Soldiers in the fight. The TeCDs also will incorporate Soldier feedback before and after exercises, to ensure that the capability is usable and provides value to the Soldier and small teams.
The S&T community is in the business of taking risks to discover what’s in the realm of the possible, to help inform Army decisions in the future and help to address gaps today. The TECD effort is intended to complement PORs, not to compete with them or simply support their existing development trajectory.
This can be done by working collaboratively to establish collective capabilities that integrate across a multitude of WfFs.
For more information, send inquiries to email@example.com.
The overall TECD effort is a cooperative arrangement involving several of the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command’s R&D centers and multiple directorates within CERDEC. Cutting-edge technology improvements developed by CERDEC’s Night Vision Directorate are making low-visibility enhancements, pointer capabilities, and sensor technologies available for integration.
Our other partners from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Edgewood Research, Development, and Engineering Center, and Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center are delivering fires, geospatial tools, and handheld user-style guides, respectively, for integration.
We recognize the possibility that not all of these unique capabilities will transition. However, by sustaining the support of the COEs and the PORs, we can posture both of these stakeholders for increased success.
Demonstration and deployment of an integrated baseline of capability will help reduce tactical surprise and increase overmatch. This TECD strategy and intended outcome will result in a win-win situation for the S&T community, the PORs, and, most importantly, our Army small unit formations on the tactical edge.
OSIE DAVID is the Mission Command and Actionable Intelligence Technology Enabled Capability Demonstration Project lead for the Command, Power, and Integration Directorate in theU.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC). David holds a B.S. in computer science from Rutgers University and an M.S. in software engineering from Monmouth University, and is Level III certified in systems planning, research, development, and engineering.
LTC(P) RICHARD J. HORNSTEIN was the Military Deputy for CERDEC'sCommand, Power, and Integration Directorate at the time this article was written. Hornstein, now a Colonel, is currently a student at the U.S. Army War College. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Rhode Island and an M.S. in acquisition and contract management from the Florida Institute of Technology. Hornstein is Level III certified in program management, and Level II certified in both information systems and contracting.