Chief of Signal Comments

Warfighter Information Network-Tactical:

Embedded communications and information-systems capabilities for the warfighter, brigade and below

By 2010, commanders in the objective force will conduct enroute mission planning while MG John P. Cavanaugh, Chief of Signalreceiving situation-awareness updates, logistics updates and other relevant information from the joint common database. They’ll expect subterranean, terrestrial and space-based beyond-line-of-sight communications that keep them connected to the network irrespective of terrain as they maneuver.

Commanders will retain the same computer logon identification/password and phone number for use with a hand-held device that provides all their wireless services. Biometrics – including voice and fingerprint recognition, coupled with retinal scans – will authenticate authorized users.

New technologies will guarantee continuous connectivity and intuitive network awareness. Commanders will expect to receive and access information that’s managed, filtered, prioritized, packaged and delivered according to their individual profile.

Posture of the Regiment

The Army Transformation Campaign Plan – Army Chief of Staff GEN Eric Shinseki’s master plan for Army transformation – and Army/Joint Vision 2010 establish the objective force’s architectural framework. However, it’s the emerging Signal Regimental vision that will focus the Signal and acquisition communities on providing warfighters with a tactical communications infrastructure to support command, control, communications and computers requirements. The Signal Regiment must support and enable warfighters’ objective-force capabilities.

To accomplish this challenging mission, our current paradigms must change. The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical is that paradigm shift; nowhere is this change more significant, or necessary, than in warfighting platforms at brigade and below.

Transformation of brigade-and-below communications

The Signal Center and School chartered an objective-force working group in December 2000 that defined a list of communications and information-systems enablers the Regiment must support (with WIN-T and other communications systems) to meet warfighters’ requirements. The Regiment’s greatest challenge is supporting desired warfighter OFCs at brigade and below.

Objective-force commanders must be free to lead without being tied to a geographically static command post. This requires a flexible, mobile network with embedded C&IS capabilities in warfighter platforms that actually "become" the network. As commanders maneuver forces, they’ll simultaneously "maneuver the network." Unhindered by terrain or urban environment, the network is "plasma-like" as it self-synchronizes with warfighter movements and is always available.

Embedded C&IS will stay connected to the network via multiple links: similar warfighter platforms within the operations area, unmanned aerial vehicles, satellites and prepositioned terrestrial sites. The Signal Regiment’s role will include synchronizing employment of "gap filler" assets and providing more network awareness to warfighters. Embedded C&IS provides warfighters an intuitive capability to monitor their network status/quality of service.

As the commander’s principal adviser for C4, information management and information-dissemination management, the Signal officer will be at the commander’s side, constantly assessing the impact of maneuver on C2 and the credibility/resolution of battlefield visualization.

WIN-T, the objective-force communications system, initially provides an integrated subscriber node to brigade-and-below CPs, and eventually to all CPs at echelons corps and below. ISN – embedded in the maneuver battalion’s tactical-operations center and other platform vehicles – extends voice, video and data network services to a user community whose C4 needs have grown significantly in the past five years.

WIN-T leverages critical linkages such as the Joint Tactical-Radio System program and future satellite-communications improvements. JTRS incorporates 33 waveforms, including the enhanced position-location reporting system, single-channel ground and airborne radio system, high frequency, HaveQuick II and a new wideband networking waveform into one component radio within the warfighter’s platform. As WIN-T exploits JTRS’ on-the-move capability and ISN’s information-routing and management functions, the warfighter gains an immediate increase in C2 and battlefield visualization, as well as access to the common relevant operational picture.

Planned SATCOM improvements include the small, flat, vehicle-mounted phased-array antenna –with the intelligence to dynamically redirect its focus to maximize incoming signal strength – and the Multiband Integrated Satellite Terminal that provides objective-force (including brigade-and-below) elements significant bandwidth improvement and OTM capability.

Feedback from the field

During the Signal Symposium, I challenged the Regiment to become intellectually engaged at looking toward the warfighter’s future communications needs. Success for the Regiment hinges on our ability to empower warfighter OFCs. We’ll continue to develop the Signal Regiment’s vision as warfighter objective-force concepts unfold. We’re also looking for feedback from each of you based on Combined Training Center experiences and unit initiatives to solve the challenges we face today as a Regiment.

Acronym QuickScan
C2 – command and control
C4 – command, control, communications and computers
C&IS – communications and information systems
CP – command post
ISN – integrated subscriber node
JTRS – Joint Tactical-Radio System
OFC – objective-force capabilities
OTM – on-the-move
SATCOM – satellite communications
WIN-T – Warfighter Information Network-Tactical

... Our current paradigms must change. The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical is that paradigm shift; nowhere is this change more significant, or necessary, than in warfighting platforms at brigade and below.

dividing rule

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