News: US Army begins fielding of first networked capability set
Story by Katie Cain
WARREN, Mich. - The U.S. Army, through its System of Systems Integration Directorate, announced that the first fielding of Capability Set 13 has begun new equipment training with two brigade combat teams of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Polk, La.
CS 13 is the first fully-integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices and other network components that provide an integrated connectivity from the static tactical operations center to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted soldier. CS 13 marks the first time the Army is delivering network systems as an integrated communications package that spans the entire Brigade Combat Team formation.
New equipment training began last week for the 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Teams of the 10th Mountain Division, located at Fort Drum and Fort Polk, respectively. Prior to deploying with CS 13 assets, both units will undergo several months of rigorous classroom courses and hands-on experience with the systems.
“These guys have been to Afghanistan and they know what this capability is going to have to do in combat,” said Col. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Division's deputy commanding general for support. “So who better to get the latest equipment than the 10th Mountain Division.”
CS 13 is ideal for missions in austere environments such as Afghanistan because it provides mobile mission command to all echelons of the BCT.
As U.S. forces continue to draw down in Afghanistan they will turn over many of their Forward Operating Bases and other infrastructure to the local forces, thus gradually losing fixed network infrastructure locations. CS 13 systems provide mobile satellite and robust radio capability for commanders and soldiers to take the network with them in vehicles and while dismounted as they conduct combat and security assistance missions. This mobile network greatly reduces the reliance fixed infrastructure.
“This capability will allow us to remain mobile and will not tie us to fixed facilities,” said Piatt. Think about what that does operationally and tactically. It doesn’t make you predictable.”
CS 13 is anchored by two major upgrades: mission command on the move, allowing commanders to take the network with them in their vehicles; and bringing dismounted soldiers into the network, empowering ground troops with a new level of real-time information.
Inside Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles configured with components of CS 13, commanders will be able to exchange information and execute mission command using mobile communications technologies, rather than having to rely on a fixed infrastructure.
“This capability puts the dismounted soldier into the network, and that’s something we have not been able to do,” Piatt said. “Not only will we know where each other are, we’ll be able to communicate throughout the entire brigade headquarters. We’ll have constant situational awareness. Then we can turn it on the enemy.”
Both brigade combat teams will continue to receive CS 13 equipment in incremental phases over the next several months prior to beginning collective training with the entire capability set.