WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. - The Asymmetric Warfare Group, or AWG, the "operational arm" of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, is leveraging Network Integration Evaluation 13.2's multi-echelon training and live mission sets in which soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, are conducting tactical operations.
Referring to the AWG as the Army's global scouts, Lt. Gen. Keith C. Walker, TRADOC deputy commanding general of Futures, and director of Army Capabilities Integration Center, said the group will work with soldiers to identify new capability needs as the Army becomes regionally aligned throughout the world.
"The advantage of Fort Bliss, the NIE and the entire 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, is these soldiers go to the field every six months in an operational environment," said Walker. "They evaluate new capabilities and it gives the Asymmetric Warfare Group another important venue to get views of soldiers to try out new ideas. Whether it's doctrine, organization (or) training, it's a tremendous venue."
"As we look at the future of rapid acquisition on the materiel side and the rapid development of other ideas for doctrine, organization and training - the Asymmetric Warfare Group's involvement with NIE is huge and there's tremendous amount of potential to that," added Walker.
According to military officials, NIE is critical to the Army because these events get operationally-tested equipment to soldiers faster and at less cost. In addition to providing operational validation of network capability, the NIE also provides integrated training, techniques and procedures, enhancing a unit's ability to prevent, shape and win.
"The NIE is an incredible point of synergy for the Army to understand its emerging capabilities and to collaborate with other organizations to start to anticipate future operational challenges," said Maj. Scott Bailey, a test and evaluation officer with AWG's Concepts and Integration Squadron. "You certainly have the newest technology that units are going to potentially be receiving, so what better place to see how units will be empowered."
The AWG is trying to baseline what a company's capability would be in a subterranean setting right now, he added.
"We want to articulate what some of the gaps might be as the Army anticipates operations in a subterranean environment," Bailey said. "And describe some of the challenges in doctrine, training, techniques and procedures that may exist. From our aspect (we want) to understand what new technologies might actually fill some of these gaps."
Master Sgt. Michael Kelly, AWG's Integration Troop sergeant major, said the use of subterranean environment which includes man-made tunnels, caves, and hardened and or deeply buried facilities, is something that will probably be dealt with in the future in several different areas around the world.
"One of our objectives is to write an Army Techniques Publication that directly addresses the subterranean environment and operations within it," said Kelly.
Two companies from 2-1 AD's 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, were identified to conduct a raid on an underground objective.
"This is probably one of the best environments for this type of assessment," said Kelly. "Within the larger tactical exercise, this smaller objective and the raid (conducted) on it, fits perfectly into that. Also, the land out here, the Brigade that's available and the whole infrastructure that goes along with NIE is very important to our objectives with this."
The Asymmetric Warfare Group is also leveraging the NIE to work on doctrine and TTP development. In this case they are focusing on subterranean concepts, said Lt. Col. Timothy O'Brien, battalion commander for 1-6 Infantry.
The subterranean theme supports the overall NIE scenario in which soldiers are helping a mock host nation stabilize their government, O'Brien said.
"It's just another sub-component since there are tunnels all over the world. So a mission may entail clearing a tunnel of weapons caches, weapons of mass destruction, you name it," he added.
"It's great training for the soldiers," said O'Brien. "They get to actually train on something that we haven't necessarily touched in quite some time, probably since … Vietnam. So it's an outstanding opportunity for them to get involved and it nests well within the scenario of NIE. It also allows us to test the equipment that we have out here … and see how it affects and operates in different conditions."
Bailey said 1-6 Infantry has been very supportive in affording AWG the opportunity to discover what they are able to do with some of their Joint Tactical Radio Systems, or JTRS products. He said the one of the biggest things the group is trying to learn is how will the new mission-command platforms enable units to operate effectively in a subterranean environment.
"Quite frankly, we don't know that yet," Bailey said. "And as we start to understand and watch several units do this - it will help us very quickly understand what programs of instruction we can recommend to U.S. Training and Doctrine Command and what recommendations we can give to the materiel community."