The Army's New Data Network Is Perfect For Tracking All The Gear It's Leaving In Afghanistan

military, defence

Photo: Claire Heininger via US Army

The 10th Mountain Division, headquartered at Fort Drum, N.Y., got a new toy that will keep Soldiers in touch with their commanders as they reach the edges of their battlefield.The Capability Set (CS) 13, inspired by rounds of testing by actual troops, uses a mobile satellite to keep all the echelons of a brigade on the same page.

Recently fielded to 10th Mountain’s 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Teams (BCT), the new equipment addresses the fact that most of the US military’s fixed infrastructure will be handed over to Afghanistan as US troops draw down.

It’s also a new way of distributing equipment. In the past, individual networks were issued; but in the case of the CS 13, the brigades got an integrated communications package. Dismounted soldiers will have better communication with the tactical operation centre (TOC) instead of having to go through other steps.

Quicker communications give better situational awareness.

The system includes a range of goodies like smartphone-type gadgets, radios, and better software throughout. It was all validated by the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIE).

As the 10th Mountain explores the abilities of the new system, they’ll offer their own feedback to the NIEs, making the CS 13 better for units that get it in the future.

The brigades will begin pre-deployment training in spring 2013.

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