McCarthy: Capability drops will 'vastly improve' network resilience

By Jaspreet Gill / September 25, 2020 at 1:28 PM

YUMA PROVING GROUND, AZ -- Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said integrated tactical network sets being developed by the Network Cross-Functional Team will vastly improve the service's network capability and resilience, following a Project Convergence demonstration here.

The Army is working on developing a resilient network that will be essential to everything the service is doing, McCarthy and Army Futures Command chief Gen. Mike Murray told reporters this week. During the Project Convergence demonstrations, the service learned it needs to work on scaling the network for both ground-to-ground and air-to-ground operations.

"The network, in particular, there's capability drops in fiscal [years] [2021] and [2023] that are going to be the upgrades that vastly improve our network capability and resilience," McCarthy told reporters yesterday. The service "learned about a lot of the things that they need to focus on . . . I looked at yesterday as a good thing."

The Network CFT in June announced it had completed a final design review for CS21 and was ready to start fielding equipment to four infantry brigades. CS21 equipment includes single-channel radios, tactical assault kits, tethered drones and more capabilities.

During the Project Convergence demonstration in Yuma, the Network CFT leveraged currently fielded radio and networking capabilities, which included a mix of artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous technologies, and demonstrated technologies under consideration for inclusion in CS23. Those are low Earth orbit and medium Earth orbit satellite communications links and Tactical Data Fabric efforts.

For example, CS21 program of record and commercial-off-the-shelf radios were used to provide the service with a mesh network that enabled information exchanges between ground and aerial weapon platforms, sensors and decision-making agents on the ground. Data was passed to the command post through a mid-tier link during the demonstrations.

McCarthy told reporters the Army during the experiment learned what can be improved with the capability sets.

The service knows what it needs "to work on or to fix for Capability [Set] 21 and 23," he said, adding: "I was encouraged."