Circuit check

News

Fort Carson gets Army program's first gigabit ethernet network

by Stephen Larsen

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. The Army’s Common User Installation Transport Network program, which has the mission of providing Army installations the big data pipes they need for emerging high-bandwidth information applications, cut over the Army’s first CUITN gigabit ethernet network at Fort Carson, Colo. in June, according to LTC Edward McCoy.

McCoy, managing the implementation as the product manager for defense data networks along with Communications-Electronics Command’s systems-management center, said gigabit ethernet will provide Fort Carson a 1,000-megabit-per-second network, as opposed to asynchronous-transfer mode, which generally offers 622 mbs or 155 mbs.

"It’s not ‘bleeding edge,’ but it’s definitely leading edge," McCoy said of gigabit ethernet, which he said has been available on the civilian marketplace since 1998.

The Fort Carson CUITN implementation offers what McCoy called a sixfold increase in bandwidth compared to CUITN ATM networks fielded to date. "The goal is to make 10 megabit to the desktop affordable," he said.

McCoy said the network at Fort Carson would be able to support emerging applications such as streaming video, distance learning and unified messaging, in which users could get electronic-mail and voice-mail messages together over their network.

The Fort Carson CUITN technical solution was engineered by CECOM’s Information Systems Engineering Command, located at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and provides for modular expandability in support of future growth. The design includes a pair of gigabit ethernet switches at the nucleus of the intelligent infrastructure, located in the dial-central office. From that point, single-mode fiber-optic cable interconnects all area distribution nodes. The ADNs are also connected to the various buildings on post by single-mode fiber.

CUITN provides an intelligent information infrastructure, which supports high-speed data transfer at Army posts, camps and stations worldwide. It includes the hardware, software and interfaces to both site internal and external systems, networks and terminals, and a turnkey approach to implementation of these systems. CUITN networks provide the capability for connections to data-processing installations, mainframes, email hosts and other essential networks while providing access to gateways on the site and the Defense Information Systems Network wide-area network external to the site. Information security is embedded in the design of the network as a protection against external and internal attack.

CUITN networks – which are open-systems-standards compliant and compatible with Army and Defense Department policies and standards for information infrastructure – are modular, scaleable and flexible as requirements change and emerging technology matures.

CUITN architecture Generic CUITN architecture.

The CUITN program is part of the Army’s overall Installation Infrastructure Modernization Program, which has the goal to modernize and enhance the Army’s sustaining-base information-technology capabilities. I3MP is managed by CECOM SMC’s project manager for defense communications and Army switched systems. In addition to CUITN, I3MP also includes an outside plant component, the outside cable rehabilitation program; a data gateway component, the Army DISN router program; and a telephone switch component, the digital-switched-systems modernization program. Under I3MP, these programs are coordinated and synchronized to provide a one-stop, total-site solution for Army installations’ IT infrastructure requirements.

Mr. Larsen is employed by CECOM’s SMC.

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Updates

516th soldiers support Balikatan

by Bill McPherson

WASHINGTON Seven soldiers assigned to the dual-hatted 516th Signal Brigade and U.S. Army Pacific office of the deputy chief of staff for information management supported Exercise Balikatan 2000, a Republic of the Philippines/United States combined, joint exercise held in the Philippines Jan. 31-March 3.

This was the first time since 1995 these two long-time security partners have participated in such a combined military endeavor together.

Team Signal participants included LTC Doug DeWitt, MSG Harold Gierke and MSG John Kujawa of 516th’s Detachment 1, 311th Theater Signal Command; SFC Reuben Muniz and SFC Catalion Carino of 516th Signal Brigade headquarters; and SGT Adrian Boatright and PFC David Archibald of 78th Signal Battalion. DeWitt served as the C-6 (combined exercise communications officer).

The exercise’s purpose was to improve the Philippines/U.S. combined planning, combat readiness and interoperability for a wide range of operations from humanitarian assistance to peacekeeping operations, DeWitt said.

The exercise included several humanitarian and civic-assistance activities at various sites on Luzon and Palawan, cross-training of multinational service components and special operations forces, as well as an amphibious operation.

The exercise name means "shouldering the load together" and characterizes both the intent and philosophy of the combined military effort. Exercise Balikatan 2000 was the 16th in the series of exercises that began in 1981.

About 2,500 participants from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines Corps and Air Force and a similar number from the Filipino armed forces took part in the exercise.

Mr. McPherson is 516th Signal Brigade’s public-affairs officer. Some information in this article was taken from an Army News Service press release.

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General officer transitions

Chief of Signal selected for 3d star, new assignment

MG Peter Cuviello, Chief of Signal, was recently selected to receive his third star.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced May 16 that President Bill Clinton nominated Cuviello for appointment to lieutenant general and assignment as the next director of information systems for command, control, communications and computers, office of the secretary of the Army, Washington, D.C.

Cuviello has been Chief of Signal and commander of U.S. Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon, Fort Gordon, Ga., since May 1998.

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Of interest

Communications-Electronics Command conferees develop battle plan

by Jim Ward

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. Under the blue skies of southeast Arizona, some 50 members of the Communications-Electronics Command and selected invitees issued the rallying cry of support to the Army’s chief of staff.

For his part, CECOM commander MG Robert Nabors stirred his troops to action when he made his feelings on the initial brigade combat team crystal clear. "There are some things in life that are debatable, but the chief of staff’s vision is not one of them. We will execute on time and under budget because we all agree that this is the direction we will take."

With that, the conference, held Feb 23-25 at Fort Huachuca, was off and running. What followed were a series of briefings, each designed to bring the command and staff up to date on issues of concern.

Interestingly, as speaker after speaker rose to address the group, a pattern emerged: CECOM was to get very involved with supporting GEN Eric Shinseki’s decision to field a fighting force that models the times.

Also emerging from the conference is the reality that the Signal, intelligence and acquisition communities would need to come together if these efforts were to succeed. Such processes as force modernization, improved intelligence services and sustaining-base and reachback capabilities also took center stage during the three-day event.

The conference was divided into three parts, with the first day reserved for discussion of CECOM’s ongoing effort to work with Army Materiel Command to modernize the support process. This work centers on creating field-support centers that tie in all AMC assets on the ground, providing the right software support to the field and creating the state-of-the-art information platforms of the future.

Other briefings on that first day included an overview of the brigade combat team, the future combat system, the Defense Information Systems Network in Europe and several others.

The next day, key general officers met in what is called the home-on-home conference in which each general officer takes his turn at "sponsoring" the discussion. In this case, Nabors brought together the commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, MG John Thomas; the Army’s Chief of Signal, MG Peter Cuviello; and the commander, U.S. Army Signal Command, MG William Russ.

The discussion was punctuated with calls for teamwork and, above all, action.

Nabors set the tone for the day when he reiterated his conviction that the Signal and intelligence corps would have to work together to make the Army vision a reality. "The boss has said there were a few things (IBCT/future combat system) that are important. It’s our role to execute. The timeline is short, the mission is critical," he said.

Cuviello echoed these remarks. "Where we’re going in this effort is bigger than all of us. This is our chance to make our mark corporately – to make these initiatives work. We have to help the Army build the architectures and the boxes the soldiers will need," Cuviello said.

According to these leaders, this process involves doing things outside the box. "We must throw off the old, bureaucratic ways of getting the mission accomplished and looking to ways to speed up the development, testing and fielding of whole systems we will then stuff into the vehicles our soldiers will need when they deploy – within 96 hours after getting the call. That means the systems have to smaller, lighter-weight, rugged, redundant and reliable," Nabors said.

All conferees agreed that this "system of systems" approach that ties the soldier to battlefield and sustaining-base leadership represents a real opportunity for the Signal and intelligence communities to work together on common communications and transmission platforms. This campaign will also require the kind of coordinated effort never before attempted – in a very short time. In fact, according to the fielding schedule, the first vehicles must be ready for action by the end of this calendar year. That’s why, according to Nabors, Cuviello, Russ and Thomas, it’s time to "roll up our sleeves and get busy."

"CECOM brings 20 years of intellectual capital to this effort," Nabors said. "We are totally committed to the Tank Automotive Command, who has the lead, and to all of you to do our level best to make this task a resounding success."

The third part of the conference included a general-officer summit, which served to strengthen the relationship between the flag officers whose commands would have to shoulder the intelligence and Signal burden. That series of meetings focused on officer management and the role of the battle-command battle labs as the Signal and military-intelligence communities work together to support the warfighter.

By the time the conference wrapped up, the group was on track and part of a broad coalition, with an important message: the Army vision is not debatable.

Cuviello summed it up best when he quoted the dean of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin: "If we don’t hang together, we will most certainly hang separately."

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New radar technology makes it harder on the ‘bad guys’

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. "If you could spin the clock forward two years to a time when foliage-penetration radar becomes operational, you would see how this technology will make it harder on the ‘bad guys.’"

Allan Tarbell, chief engineer of the Battlefield Awareness Target Division of the Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate of Communications-Electronics Command’s Research, Development and Engineering Center here, describes several scenarios to demonstrate this point.

A pilot now in the air over South America would see nothing but trees and heavy foliage. But the radar-image analyst in the FOPEN ground station who will receive imagery from the C-12 aircraft will clearly see a major drug-processing factory buried in the trees. Thirty minutes later, friendly forces would take appropriate action to close down the factory.

Flying over Iraq now, one sees nothing but barren desert, Tarbell, who’s also a technical adviser to the program, continues. But, the imagery from FOPEN might locate a series of underground tunnels converging on a large underground command center. Minutes later the Air Force scores a direct hit above the Iraqi underground command center using the highly accurate location data provided by the FOPEN radar.

"The Iraqis would never know what hit them," Tarbell said as he described the scenario.

Or, imagine that such a capability was available for use in Kosovo, he continued. Bosnian Serbs who carefully placed their armor next to or inside the remnants of buildings and within tree lines would have expected to foil attempts by North American Treaty Organization forces to target them. FOPEN would readily discern and provide the accurate targeting data to lead to the destruction of such enemy vehicles.

What is FOPEN and how does it work? FOPEN radar, like any radar, transmits radio-frequency energy.

"But unlike conventional radar, which transmits microwaves that don’t penetrate foliage or the ground, the FOPEN radar does and at much lower frequencies," Tarbell explained.

FOPEN operates in the same frequency band as local two-way frequency-modulation communications and television stations. Just as radio and TV signals can be received through walls and trees, so can radar signals at similar frequencies.

Until recently the algorithms to properly process FOPEN radar signals weren’t available. Neither were the signal processors (computers) necessary to implement such algorithms into a tactical system. But rapid advances in computer technology have also led to the evolution of the computer algorithms needed to enable FOPEN development.

Teaming with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory, CECOM’s Information and Intelligence Directorate, Command and Control Directorate and its acquisition center – acting as contracting agent for DARPA – developed the technology, wrote specifications, and in 1997 awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Management and Data Systems-Reconnaissance Systems of Phoenix, Ariz., Tarbell said.

The contract calls for the design, development and testing of an airborne synthetic-aperture radar complete with ground-processing station.

The CECOM community is providing technical project leaders, procurement support and radar and aviation experts to oversee this highly complex radar development, while the Air Force provides technical support to the program.

CECOM aircraft modification experts at Lakehurst, N.J., are modifying an RC-12D airplane to carry the FOPEN radar. The project involves extensive modifications to the aircraft’s mechanical and electrical systems. Lakehurst staff members have taken the basic installation design drawings from Lockheed and installed the radome and ultra-high-frequency and very-high-frequency antennas. Soon Lakehurst will integrate the remaining radar hardware modules.

"The RC-12D is more than a development tool and testbed," said Tarbell, who has been involved with the program since 1990. It will provide the Army with an early FOPEN capability, to be followed by installation of an identical radar on the Air Force’s Global Hawk unmanned aircraft. Program management responsibility for FOPEN resides with DARPA in Washington, D.C.

"By combining forces and funding, DARPA and the services will field a much-needed capability in the very near future that neither service could otherwise afford alone," Tarbell said.

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High-tech site at Army depot trains service members in Global Positioning System

by Anthony Ricchiazzi

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. Personnel in the High Tech Regional Training Site-Maintenance facility here are conducting a comprehensive training program to teach soldiers the Global Positioning System. Training commenced in November 1999.

GPS basically works by using satellites and receivers to accurately tell users where they are and how to get to where they need to be anywhere in the world in any weather, 24 hours a day. The satellites send the receivers longitude, latitude, elevation and time information.

"GPS is used for land, sea and air navigation, telling users where they are within plus or minus 16 meters (53 feet). But soldiers are finding the accuracy is much better than the manufacturer’s rating of 16 meters," said Rick Wren, primary GPS instructor and course author, HTRTS-M.

"Civilian models give plus or minus 100-meter (330 feet) accuracy," he said. "Newer versions will be even more accurate. We teach soldiers general GPS, how to use the precise lightweight GPS receiver and how to navigate from point to point. In my opinion, GPS will be as important to soldiers as their weapons."

At Tobyhanna, soldiers are taught the basic operations of the menu-based receiver, how to interface it with other equipment and preventive maintenance.

The GPS receiver will also tell users if they have strayed off course, and when used in conjunction with intelligence data, if they’ve entered a dangerous area, such as a minefield or area that’s contaminated by chemical weapons.

"GPS can provide directions on how to get around or through danger areas," Wren said. "But the soldiers must take into account that directions are given as the crow flies (a straight line), so we teach them to compensate for that."

GPS should also be used in conjunction with maps because it can’t give users terrain details such as land reliefs, streams, lakes, rivers and heavily wooded areas.

"Because of its success in Operation Desert Storm, GPS has exploded in the military," Wren said. "GPS allowed a high combat-engagement rate during Desert Storm compared to previous conflicts. The difference was that GPS got the units to where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there more accurately than prior methods."

Electronics mechanics Herb Ziegler and George Highhouse conducted the course, which is also taught by other teams of instructors.

"The course is 24 hours. We first teach them the basics of GPS in a classroom setting," Ziegler said. "There they learn how GPS works and how to program the receiver. We then take them to the field, and they must use GPS to find their way to several ‘waypoints’ located throughout three land-navigation courses."

"We don’t go with them, so if they get lost they must come back for further instruction," Highhouse said. "Also, we include a couple of obstacles they will encounter and must navigate around. We send them out in teams that must find different waypoints at different times, so they cannot help each other."

Members of the Army Reserves’ 323d Maintenance Company, 94th Regional Support Command Division, Devins, Mass., completed the course in December 1999.

"The civilian instructors do a great job," said SSG Emily Labrecque. "An extra benefit of their training is that we have to use the systems in the field with little or no help from them, so we never forget the training."

"The training course was very well organized and effective," said SSG Andre Begin. "They gave us all the information we needed."

GPS training SFC Dan MacMaster, left, and SGT Julie Munsterman of 323d Maintenance Company confirm they've reached one of their designated waypoints during GPS training at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

"Classroom training, coupled with applying their new knowledge in the field, provides the most realistic training possible in the shortest amount of time, and all the units who’ve had the training here have successfully completed the course," Wren said. "Reservists train during the weekend, but the training is also available to any military unit during the week as well."

Mr. Ricchiazzi is Tobyhanna Army Depot’s public-affairs officer.

Acronym QuickScan
ADN – area distribution node
AMC – Army Materiel Command
ATM – asynchronous-transfer mode
CECOM – Communications-Electronics Command
CUITN – Common User Installation Transport Network
DARPA – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
DISN – Defense Information Systems Network
FOPEN – foliage-penetration (radar)
GPS – Global Positioning System
HTRTS-M – High-Tech Regional Training Site-Maintenance
I3MP – Installation Infrastructure Modernization Program
IBCT – initial brigade combat team
IOC – initial operating capability
IT – information technology
Mbs – megabits per second
SMC – systems-management center

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04/04/12

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