DOÑA ANA RANGE, N.M. - Communication on the battlefield has always been an essential asset in being victorious over an enemy; from the drumbeats of ancient battles to bugler calls during the Revolutionary War to radio systems used in modern warfare.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, are testing the next evolution of communication advancements during Network Integration Evaluation 13.1 at Doña Ana Base Camp, N.M., Oct. 15 to Nov. 19.
“During the NIE, 1-35th Armor will be evaluating the JBC-P [Joint Battle Command-Platform] system, which will provide increased capability for command and control and situational awareness,” said 1st Lt. Jason McElroy, communications officer, 1-35th AR.
The communication exercise that takes place during the first week of NIE, is a series of checks on communication systems, from GPS systems to radio.
“On a mission, all of our communication equipment can interconnect, which will give us the ability to track the soldier on the battlefield at all times,” said Pvt. Paul Walsh, nodal network systems operator, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-35th AR.
In past wars, a platoon would go out to battle with a single radio; now, a squad can go out on a mission with each soldier having a radio.
Part of our task during NIE is to evaluate new systems during the communication exercise to ensure the equipment is ready for troops already in combat, said Walsh.
Before soldiers on the battlefield receive a new piece of equipment, that piece will be evaluated during high tempo, combat-like scenarios by soldiers here.
“The NIE will run through all the systems to ensure they are running properly,” said McElroy. “The evaluation process will allow the soldier to give accurate feedback on the systems’ performance and how the systems function under operational requirements.”
The NIE allows soldiers to evaluate requirements generated in a schoolhouse in a realistic operational environment.
“Because the soldiers give honest feedback, we actually give the rest of our Army a better system to use,” said McElroy.
The advanced communication technology will provide an integrated network, enabling the soldier in the field to stay connected and be a more prepared, technologically advanced warfighter.