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BEYOND

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by Ms. Jill Smith

Efficiency and cost savings are essential in the Army’s current fiscally constrained environment. As the Army completes the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, an opportunity exists for the science and technology community to focus on future, leap-ahead technologies for next-generation systems by enhancing the current CommonOperating Environment (COE) vision.

The current premise of the COE vision is that the Army research and development community can shorten the development timeline, lower development costs and reduce the time required to integrate and certify systems by modernizing equipment and weapon systems around a common set of information technology (IT) standards and architecture. Until recently, the research, development and acquisition process called for meeting Soldiers’ requirements by creating a system that inevitably workedas a stand-alone entity, leading to hardware and software duplications. The Army aims to alleviate these duplications by implementing COE concepts.

The COE implementation plan introduced in 2011 promotes open systems, integrated architectures and common standards to maximize interoperability among applications, support the goals of the Army Enterprise Network Architecture developed by the Army’s chief information officer/G-6 and facilitate new functionality. The plan places Army programs into six computing environment (CE) categories—command post; data center/cloud/geospatial foundation; sensor; mounted/handheld; real-time/safety-critical/embedded; and mounted—based on mission limitations of size, weight, power and bandwidth. The result is a common software foundation that facilitates interoperability and reuse of common components. The Army aims to

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