FORT BLISS, Texas - The Load Exercise, Validation Exercise, and Communication Exercise, are a tripartite exercise currently underway at the Fort Bliss Integration Motor Pool, that began Sept. 4, and run through Oct. 4, which serve as the final pre-combat check and pre-combat inspection for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, prior to the commencement of Network Integration Evaluation 13.1.
“Loadex is loading all of the data and programs getting uploads on all software and making sure computers are all working,” said Staff Sgt. George Mead, S-2 noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd BCT, 1st AD.
“Valex is validating the load and making sure that all systems pass messages and, in a basic sense, making sure it will do what it should do in the field,” said Mead. “We validate that they do what they are supposed to do, and if there are issues we seek to fix them here,” he said.
“Comex is the last bench work test. Put everything together on the same bench and plug it up. This is the check that says we’re ready to go, let’s go test this stuff.”
In order to efficiently integrate and synchronize the many systems under test and evaluation during NIE 13.1, the soldiers and civilians of the 2nd BCT, 1st AD, and their triad partners, take the time during the three-part exercise to save time for the high operational tempo in the field.
“Loadex/Valex/Comex is a necessary step for the brigade to execute NIE 13.1,” said Maj. James E. Mullin III, executive officer, 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd BCT, 1st AD.
“By properly integrating all of our systems here in the Integration Motor Pool it saves countless hours of doing this in the field when we need to actually be testing and evaluating the systems while conducting combat operations,” he said.
Mullin also said that not only is time saved, but for soldiers with boots-on-ground, capabilities are enhanced.
“We’re expanding the range and therefore the number of units that can talk to one another,” said John Hammond, a field support representative and software engineer with General Dynamics.
“It’s an overall expansion of the network and who they can talk to and share voice and data. We’re integrating new radios to expand the network,” Hammond said.
“This exercise is important to the Army’s mission because we are able to load, integrate, validate, and communicate with a variety of systems that the Army is considering purchasing and disseminating to our forces throughout the world,” said Mullin. “If we can identify what systems work and which ones do not here, we can help save the Army potentially billions of dollars and field the best equipment to our soldiers downrange,” he said.
Bottom line, Mullin says, is this: “The preparation we do now will ensure that we can give the Army accurate doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities [DOTMLPF] feedback during the five weeks that we have to execute NIE 13.1,” said Mullin.
The Network Integration Evaluation 13.1 will begin October and will continue until mid-November.