Beginning this October, the U.S. Army will begin fielding
the first integrated group of networked technologies -
radios, sensors and associated equipment and software -
that will for the first time deliver an integrated voice
and data capability throughout the entire Brigade Combat
Team (BCT) formation, from the brigade commander to the
This networked package, known as Capability Set 13 (CS 13),
is the Army's tactical network baseline designed to
extend the network down to the individual Soldier and
significantly enhance Mission Command on the Move and
The connectivity, architecture and components of CS 13 were
validated at the service's most recent Network
Integration Evaluation, NIE 12.2, conducted May-June at
White Sands Missile Range, N.M., but the ongoing
integration and planning work began months before.
A large part of the planning involves bringing together the
Army's Program Executive Offices (PEOs) and Program
Managers (PMs) during the NIE/Agile Process using the
Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule, or IMS, for
integration, production and deployment. The IMS is the
backbone of CS 13 as it serves to synchronize the network
and vehicle PMs' master schedules as they relate to
integrating and fielding capability sets.
The Army's Capability Set fielding plan supports a
synchronized vehicle and network fielding strategy,
prioritizes capabilities for our deployed forces and
improves alignment of limited resources.
In May, the Army completed the Mine Resistant Ambush
Protected (MRAP) final design review, which solidified how
CS 13 assets will be integrated into that vehicle platform.
MRAPs will be utilized in the first Infantry Brigade Combat
Team formations that will be equipped with CS 13. The NIE
has been vital to validating MRAP network design and
Currently, the first five "super configuration"
MRAP prototype vehicles are being built at the U.S. Army
Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering
Center (TARDEC), located in Warren, Mich. The five MRAP
super configurations include Soldier Network Extension
(SNE), Point of Presence (PoP), Vehicular Wireless Package
(VWP), MaxxPro and MRAP-Lites.
"This project is considered a level one because
it's so large," said Marc Mroczka, Project
Engineer for the Center for Ground Vehicle Development and
Integration at TARDEC. "There are five trucks, a lot
of electronics equipment, a lot of design and a lot of
Mroczka leads the CS 13 performance efforts, which include
running technical meetings, following the integration
activities that take place on a day-to-day basis, anc
bringing together the different facets within engineering
groups at TARDEC, as well as the overall design.
Each BCT has 373 vehicles, and under the current construct,
there are 42 combinations under the five super
configurations, which allows the Army to build any
combination within each configuration without altering the
"This allows you to change what you put in a vehicle
while protecting the vehicle space," said Mroczka.
"For example, if you needed to swap out a radio for a
different one, it can easily be done."
This was one of the things we learned during NIE, Mroczka
explained. There is some overlap in the individual systems
but it wasn't necessary to put every CS 13 systems on
every vehicle in the NIE. The main thing we had to do was
figure out how to pull all those systems together
afterwards. That's how we designed the super
configurations, he said.
Soldier feedback out of the NIE process has been invaluable
as it has led to many significant design and user interface
improvements that are currently being incorporated into the
final MRAP configurations.
"One of the things we learned during the IOT&E was
that both the commander and the driver needed to be able to
see the display screen in an MRAP," said Jerry Tyree,
System of Systems Integration (SoSI) lead engineer. Based
on Soldier feedback, we were able to move a screen to the
back of the seat so the commander and the driver could see
what was going on, he explained.
These screens, known as Multi-Domain Atlas', were not
part of NIE 12.2, but they will be installed on the CS
In addition to changes spawning from the NIE and the
ongoing MRAP integration, TARDEC is also working the design
for networked High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles
(HMMWV) platforms that will be used as training sets by
CONUS units as they prepare to deploy. Roughly 30-35 TARDEC
employees, plus personnel from SoSI and PM MRAP are
involved with the MRAP and HMMWV design/production.
"One of the most challenging aspects of this project
is the rigid schedule," said Mroczka. "We've
never had these types of requirements and design builds due
in such a short timeframe and everything we do affects the
other organizations involved in CS 13 vehicle
The remaining prototype vehicles to be equipped with CS 13
will be built at the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare
Systems Command (SPAWAR) in Charleston, S.C., and the Red
River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas. SPAWAR will build the
MRAP production assets to support the October fielding of
CS 13, while HMMWV training set production will be done at
Once the prototype vehicles are fully built, they'll be
shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Md. where they
will undergo initial safety release and network
verification testing. This will begin mid-August, and the
last set of vehicles will be shipped mid-September.
Following this, the vehicles will be turned over to the 3rd
and 4th Brigades from the 10th Mountain Division, the first
two BCTs to receive CS 13, to begin New Equipment Training
(NET) on October 1. The units will train on the equipment
until they deploy with CS 13 assets in 2013.
The Army will field CS 13 to eight BCTs, with priority
going to deployed forces (three BCTs), units scheduled to
deploy next (three BCT training sets), a forward-stationed
brigade in Korea, and the 2nd Heavy BCT, 1st Armored
Division (2/1 AD), which was the first unit to receive CS
13 equipment during NIE 12.2.
After fielding CS 13, the Army will program to field up to
six BCT sets of network equipment per year for the FY14-18
Program Objective Memorandum (POM), to better synchronize
its platform and network modernization efforts.