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Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

Soldiers Share Their Experiences About WAREX 782202

Saturday, August 6th, 2022

Blue skies dotted with fluffy clouds. Fields of green surrounded by groves of trees. Gentle breezes and the swaying of branches from time to time. A typical tranquil setting, suddenly interrupted by the cracks of unexpected gunfire in the distance.

Soldiers spring to action to defend the perimeters of their bases. They mount machine guns, aim their M4 carbines equipped with blank firing adapters toward the sound of danger, and shoot, move, and communicate intently during Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 782202 on Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

WAREX serves as an annual training opportunity for many U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers. The training exercise works on practicing Army Warrior Tasks and drills, reinforcing skills that keep a Soldier ready to fight.

“Our Soldiers have learned a lot in regards to base defense,” said Spc. Melina Lambert, a transportation management coordinator with the 940th Movement Control Team. “We’ve been really focusing on improving our strategies for base defense. A lot of them are newer, so they don’t really know much about [annual training] in general, so they’re getting a sneak peek of what the Army and the Reserve is really like.”

“And now with WAREX, we’ve been able to do a lot more AWTs [Army Warrior Tasks] which has helped … with our normal Soldier tasks that we should be working on, every time we come out,” she continued. “And I feel as though it’s been a lot nicer than being in the office.”

But being in the field presents its own challenges. Beads of sweat form on foreheads, and wearing a full long-sleeved uniform with load-bearing vests and protective helmets along with a combat load introduces fatigue just from carrying a Soldier’s weapon and gear.

“The training has been a little difficult at first… especially with the heat and climate conditions,” said Army Sgt. Juan Stamps, Jr., a transportation movement coordinator with the 940th Movement Control Team. “We’ve had a lot of heat casualties, unfortunately. But we learned to adapt and keep our Soldiers hydrated and out of the sun so that we can continue our training.”

The exercise also presents opportunities to identify and strengthen weaknesses with individuals, and thus, units, as a whole.

“I feel with our Soldiers, our communication could be better, and that has been a work in progress,” Lambert reflected. “Otherwise, we’ve been doing a really good job learning a lot of information.”

“It’s all about getting new perspectives on the same thing we all do, which is train and be better. Without failure, success would never come. But I feel that this AT has definitely helped with creating a team now. And we feel a lot closer.”

“We’ve learned a lot not just as a unit but as individual Soldiers as well,” Stamps said. “We’ll come back, we’ll all talk about the things that we learned. The funny things, the bad things. We learn about each other and we help each other out when we don’t know as much as we should.”

“It’s been a fun bonding experience for the unit.”

Overall, Soldiers are coming out of WAREX with newfound experiences, thoughts, and wisdom. Through trial and error, thick and thin, even just a few weeks of working in austere environments and training as one would fight enhances the capabilities of the Soldiers of the U.S. Army. And Soldiers welcome the challenge.

“Embrace the suck,” Lambert said. “[Annual training] can be difficult and have difficult moments. But within those difficult moments you can find peace and making sure to focus on that peace is very important.”

Story by SFC Raymond Boyington, 361st Theater Public Affairs Support Element

Custom Munitions Printing Increases Safety

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

CRANE, Ind. — Crane Army Ammunition Activity, in a joint effort with the U.S. Air Force, is integrating a customized printing system into its countermeasures decoy flare program. The new technology allows printing to be done on live energetics which increases safety and ensures that Crane Army Ammunition Activity — or CAAA — remains a key supplier for the U.S. military in its efforts to support the warfighter.

The Keyence MK-G 1000 is the world’s first self-troubleshooting continuous inkjet printer that does not require operator involvement, enabling CAAA to safely apply warning labels directly onto energetic grains, and better meet new requirements from the Air Force. This new technology allows for improved safety not only in the flare production process but also achieves the Air Force’s priority of safety in the rare event an ejected flare is found on the ground.

CAAA’s Countermeasures Commodity Manager Trish Staggs said, “Safety is crucial. If an unexploded munition is found, people will see the warning and know not to touch it.”

CAAA is the first installation within the U.S. Army’s organic industrial base to implement the new technology on a pyrotechnic flare line. The capability to print at a high rate of speed from any direction or orientation using a four head printing system is just one of the many qualities of equipment. Damage and blurring on the bare energetic material are eliminated by spraying closely controlled dye-based, fast-drying ink particles onto targets.

The printer’s features allows operators are able to focus on other areas of the mission. The MK-G 1000 has self-diagnostic technology that can automatically perform maintenance and troubleshooting. If any issue arises, the printer attempts to repair itself which eliminates the need for a trained technician. It features a hands-free self-cleaning function which not only cleans the ink path, but also the components to help maintain the print quality. Both the printing and the cleaning processes have been adapted to meet explosives use standards.

Another highlight of the system is the ease in which it functions. By eliminating specialized training, any operator can handle the job. The printer also doesn’t require operator contact, making the process safer and more efficient.

“It is so easy to use and is very operator friendly,” said Tina Burden, a CAAA explosives operator. “We don’t even have to touch it; it does the work for us and eliminates the need for us to handle the grain as much during production.”

The printing system was integrated into the production line safely after CAAA technicians and an Indiana based industry expert conducted approximately 70 hours of research. The buildings production schedule was never impacted throughout the set-up process.

“There was no learning curve,” CAAA Production Controller Devon Roach said. “Set-up, testing, and the go ahead to use live energetics were done effortlessly and they have never looked back.”

“I can’t emphasize enough how willing to help the Keyence company and the customer service representative have been,” Dave Bowman, a CAAA explosives operator supervisor, said. “Any problem or question has been taken care of in a quick and uncomplicated manner.”

The U.S. Army is currently bringing its organic industrial base into the 21st century by modernizing its facilities and processes. Integrating the printer into munitions production is an example of how CAAA is infusing the industry’s best practices while maximizing the skills and capabilities of its civilian workforce.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is part of the Joint Munitions Command and the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants. Established Oct. 1977, it is located at Naval Support Activity Crane.

By Christy Carroll

ERDC, Transatlantic Division Team Recognized with USACE Innovation Award

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

VICKSBURG, Miss. – A team from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Transatlantic Division and the USACE Protective Design Center was recently recognized with the 2022 USACE Innovation of the Year Award.

The team developed simple and effective bunker enclosure door designs for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) to help reduce risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI) to bunker occupants. The new designs sought to reduce the peak pressures experienced by an individual seeking shelter in a bunker by more than 90 percent.

CENTCOM’s area of responsibility encompasses more than 4 million square miles and stretches from Kazakhstan to Yemen.

“The ERDC team, in coordination with the Transatlantic Division, developed modifications to existing bunker designs to reduce TBI vulnerability and provide design recommendations to the Army to address force protection challenges concerning current personnel bunkers,” said Bart Durst, ERDC-GSL director.

Throughout the research and design process, team members leveraged the Department of Defense’s High Performance Computing systems at ERDC to conduct more than 120 high-fidelity simulations of door designs and configurations.

The innovative solution was developed within a very short timeline using the survivability knowledge maintained through ERDC’s Expedient Passive Protection program and their computational capabilities. The team was able to deliver the project in six months.

“I am extremely proud of ERDC-GSL’s contribution to this team and this project,” Durst said. “These innovations will tremendously benefit warfighters across the globe in the execution of their mission. These retrofits provided rapid solutions to address an urgent need for expeditionary force protection to reduce TBI vulnerabilities.”

ERDC Public Affairs

PEO Soldier Holds Relinquishment of Charter Ceremony for PM Soldier Maneuver and Precision Targeting

Sunday, July 31st, 2022

FORT BELVOIR, VA – Project Manager, Soldier Maneuver and Precision Targeting (PM SMPT), executed a relinquishment of charter ceremony on Fort Belvoir, July 14.

In his final act as Project Manager for SMPT, Col. Douglas Copeland, turned over the organizational charter to Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Soldier, signifying the disestablishment of the project management office, after more than 20 years of providing Soldiers with capabilities designed to enhance lethality, mobility and survivability.

Initially established as Product Manager Sensors and Lasers in 2002, the SMPT team developed and delivered night vision devices, thermal weapon sights, Soldier borne sensors, aiming lasers and precision targeting systems. In 2009, and commensurate with increased responsibilities due to wartime requirements, the team was converted to a Colonel-led project management office and re-designated Project Manager Soldier Sensors and Lasers. In 2019, the team was renamed Project Manager Soldier Maneuver and Precision Targeting and continued to deliver critical technology to U.S. forces.

“I was incredibly lucky to get to join the team that we’re celebrating today. This PM team is filled with incredible professionals. We have military, civilians and contractors who are literally the best at their craft and experts in their field. It’s my hope that I was able to provide the team with the right resources, a steady approach and clarity-in vision and intent along the way,” said Copeland.

During his time as project manager, SMPT accomplished many things, including equipping the Army with the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular beginning just 12 months after requirement approval. Copeland thanked the SMPT team for allowing him to be part of their successes and credited them for their ability to adapt and overcome obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This team did a lot of incredible things, even despite the pandemic. It forced us to disperse and work from home, but that didn’t stop you. This team maintained a high performing and close-knit culture even while teleworking. That says something about the men and women on this team. We never missed a fielding. There’s a global shortage of subcomponents and all sorts of challenges that we had to work through, and this team made it through on its own initiative. You did it, not me. I look forward to seeing the members of this team continue to do great things for the Army,” said Copeland.

Personnel assigned to SMPT will continue to serve after re-organizing within Project Managers Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) and Soldier Lethality. Copeland will remain with PEO Soldier serving as the Assistant Program Executive Officer, Soldier.

“If you want to get a master class in watching somebody command a formation day in and day out, that’s what Doug has done from day one. This is tough work and I’m incredibly proud of him. I know the team is proud of him and there’s no doubt wherever his future takes him, people are going to be lucky to have him in their formation,” said Schneider.

Story by Jason Amadi, PEO Soldier

Army’s Mission Command Convergence Efforts Laying Coundation for Tactical Data Fabric

Sunday, July 31st, 2022

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 20, 2022) – The Army’s effort to converge mission command applications onto a “single pane of glass” reached another key milestone last month as the next increment of Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE) software achieved Milestone B approval.

CPCE Increment 2, or Inc 2, marks the second significant convergence of warfighting functions into CPCE and will collapse fires and intel apps onto the software framework. Inc 2 also integrates mission planning and airspace control tools, and initial tactical data fabric (TDF) capabilities.

Milestone B approval designates the start of the engineering and manufacturing development phase and sets the conditions for operational test and evaluation and ultimately, a full deployment decision.

Programs of record with ongoing convergence efforts onto the CPCE framework as part of Inc 2 include the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, or AFATDS, which provides automated fire-support command, control and communications; intel apps including All Source II, Information Collection, Intel Support to Targeting and Weather Operational Effects; integrated mission planning and airspace control tools including the Aviation Mission Planning System and Tactical Airspace Integration System; ENFIRE, a reconnaissance and surveying toolset, which provides Army engineers the means to facilitate rapid collection and dissemination of terrain information; and Cyber Situational Understanding, also known as Cyber SU.

“Collapsing these mission command applications provides an opportunity for commanders to envision the holistic battlefield from one source,” said Lt. Col. Travis Rudge, product manager for Tactical Mission Command. “The Army is working across its network and intel partners, ground and aviation platform offices, Corps of Engineers and other stakeholders to make this convergence a reality.”

The implementation plan for Inc 2 identifies the CPCE TDF as its priority effort in concert with logistics status and sustainment-running estimate capabilities. The remaining operational needs – including role-based access controls, terrain analysis and application automation, among others – are being analyzed by the Army’s capability development and requirements community. Once delivered, these remaining operational needs will improve interoperability, common look and feel, and cross-cutting capabilities across the Mounted Computing Environment and Mobile Handheld Computing Environment, leading to additional improvements in usability and training.

Additional enhancements planned for Inc 2 include critical cybersecurity measures to enable Tactical PKI implementation and certificate management, integrate a password management tool and encrypt data at rest.

The initial CPCE TDF delivered in Inc 2 will begin bridging enterprise and tactical data sources, and simplify and accelerate the sensor-to-shooter kill chain. The Army is taking a hybrid approach for its data fabric architecture, integrating ARCYBER’s lower echelon analytics platform, or LEAP, and components of the U.S. Army C5ISR Center’s Rainmaker capability to help provide improved data access, management and synchronization. Advancements from CPCE Inc 1 to Inc 2 software have set the stage for cloud-enabled mission command. Modification of the software will allow CPCE to access the power of the cloud infrastructure, removing dependencies of the application to legacy hardware while increasing scalability.

“CPCE Increment 2 is our contribution to the Army Data Plan and JADC2, helping our deployed units sense, make sense and act on data,” said Col. Matt Paul, project manager for Mission Command. “It allows commanders to be data centric, treating data as an asset to make better data-driven decisions.”

Coupled with CPCE Inc 2 software, Tactical Server Infrastructure version 3, or TSIv3, hardware will reduce the hardware footprint with smaller and more powerful servers and deliver increased computing resource requirements in support of Program of Record convergence.

Developmental Security Operations, or DevSecOps, continues to drive program development based on real-world feedback from Soldiers. Last month, technical leads from Project Manager Mission Command (PM MC) met with ARCYBER, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and 25th Infantry Division (25ID) leadership to coordinate TDF design needs and potential USARPAC experimentation support plans. PM MC personnel assisted USARPAC and 25ID in developing network visibility use cases and data collection parameters through LEAP to gain better insight based on mission needs.

Additional DevSecOps partners include USAREUR-AF, XVIII Airborne Corps, I Corps and USASOC. Ongoing experimentation efforts in the INDOPACOM area of responsibility are informing future TDF implementation and CPCE enhancements.

A full deployment decision and the first unit equipped for CPCE Inc 2 are both scheduled for 2024.

By Justin Eimers, PEO C3T Public Affairs

Low-Cost Tech Shaping Modern Battlefield, SOCOM Commander Says?

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

ASPEN, Colo. — In his 38 years as a soldier, across theaters ranging from the Middle East to Europe, the commander of Special Operations Command says he never had to look up. But those days are ending.

“I never had to look up because the U.S. always maintained air superiority,” Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke said during a discussion Friday at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. “We won’t always have that luxury,” he added.

Low-cost quadcopters and larger unmanned aerial vehicles are disrupting the status quo as militaries and insurgents increasingly rely on them, the general said.

“When Russia is running out of them for Ukraine, and they’re going to Iran to go buy more, [that] should cause us all a bit of concern because you can see how valuable that they can be in the future fight,” he said.

U.S. and partner forces have largely focused on ways to defeat enemy drones after takeoff, but Clarke said there is also a need for interagency discussions on ways to disrupt supply chains to prevent them from taking off.

But first, there must be a discussion on norms and authorities for their use, he said. With a “very low” cost of entry for some of the small unmanned systems, the general said some countries may want to use drones to move patients or supplies. Medical transport vehicles are protected under the Geneva Conventions.

Chemical, Biological Weapons

Clarke said the Defense Department has charged Socom with looking at another threat that is inexpensive to produce and use — chemical and biological weapons.

ISIS used chlorine and mustard gases in Iraq and Syria, he said. Russia has used chemical weapons against its political allies — on its own soil and elsewhere, Clarke added.

“The fact that someone in the basement in Mosul [Iraq] with a few lab sets can do this,” proved that it’s a simple process to create these weapons, the general said. Chemical and biological weapons are a terrorist weapon system, he said, and ISIS and al-Qaida will continue to use them because they instill fear.

“As we go into the future, we have to be prepared for that eventuality … and look for methods to continue to combat it,” Clarke said.

Cyber Threats

Though U.S. officials have said government and other critical systems are receiving daily cyberattacks, the general said he’s equally concerned with the way adversaries are using cyber to exploit the information space.

Malign actors are spreading misinformation and disinformation online, and these have had an impact on elections, he said.

Misinformation is false or misleading information — a mistaken breaking news announcement, for example. Disinformation is meant to intentionally deceive the recipient.

Clarke said cyber gives adversaries a quick route to spread false information that can damage the U.S. cause.

“The message, if you look at the internet and what is happening from the African countries, its U.S. sanctions against Russia are causing food shortages in Africa,” the general said. “So we’re being blamed for people in Africa not getting to eat. … We have to look at what is on the internet and get the truth out about what is happening. And I think we have to be able to do that as a government a little bit faster than what we’re doing today.”

By Claudette Roulo, DOD News

PEO Soldier Welcomes New Leader

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Fort Belvoir, VA  –  

PEO Soldier held a change of charter ceremony as Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider assumed responsibility as the organization’s leader from Maj. Gen. Anthony Potts, at the National Museum of the United States Army, at Fort Belvoir on June 21st.

Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and family members and friends of the ceremony participants filled Veterans Hall for the event, presided over by Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA ALT), Mr. Douglas Bush.

PEO Soldier delivers 127 programs, 253 products and integrated capabilities to Soldiers across the world, including weapons systems, body armor, helmets, sensors, lasers and uniforms. Its mission is to “rapidly deliver agile and adaptive, leading edge Soldier capabilities in order to provide combat overmatch today and be more lethal tomorrow.”

Much of the ceremony highlighted the achievements of Potts as Program Executive Officer and the scope of the work performed by the many directorates under his command for nearly four and a half years.

Bush cited how more than six million items were fielded to Soldiers since Potts’ tenure began in January 2018 – 114,000 items for 53 months – to include protective equipment, armor, helmets, combat and service uniforms, cold weather gear and flame-resistant clothing.

“An awesome level of achievement,” said Bush, who awarded Potts the Distinguished Service Medal as part of the ceremony.

Specifically, Bush praised Potts for overseeing the ongoing Rapid Fielding Initiative, which supplied tens of thousands of Soldiers this year with clothing and gear before they were sent to Europe. He applauded Potts’ multi-year efforts in the design, development, testing, evaluation and rollout of the Army Green Service Uniform (AGSU).

Bush also commended Potts for overseeing the quick fielding and delivery of the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B), which he described as, “the highest performing night vision device ever.”

He noted the Next Generation Squad Weapon and the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) as programs PEO Soldier has brought to fruition through Potts’ leadership, successfully synchronizing efforts with Army Futures Command and Cross Functional Teams (CFTs) to increase the capabilities of Soldiers on the battlefield.

During his remarks, Potts was quick to credit others for PEO Soldier’s accomplishments, thanking by name dozens of mentors, Army leaders and current and former staff from the organization.

“Our three priorities at PEO Soldier are to deliver capability, take care of people and develop a culture of innovation,” he said. “This is a team that sees the possibility of the future and asks the question, ‘what if,’ and then they go after it.”

Potts singled out as successes the Modular Handgun System and Sub Compact Weapon as popular programs that delivered improved pistols and machine guns to Soldiers, and the Soldier Enhancement Program, which “enabled us to accelerate modernized clothing and equipment to our force.”

Our Soldiers are “grateful to the men and women that design, build, test and deliver the capability they need to have overmatch today,” remarked Potts.

The day after PEO Soldier’s change of charter, Potts assumed the charter as Program Executive Officer for Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T), during a ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Schneider assumes command of an organization with a $2.3 billion budget, comprised of 1,300 personnel, four project management offices, eight product management offices and one project director office.

Schneider is familiar with many of these offices. He previously served in several positions within PEO Soldier, to include Project Manager for Soldier Sensors and Lasers and Project Manager for the Integrated Visual Augmentation System. He returns to PEO Soldier after his most recent assignment as Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology).

Bush said Schneider’s “top level knowledge of acquisition, coupled with his valuable experience will enable him to continue this PEO’s tradition of strong, effective leadership.”

Schneider said he was “excited and grateful” to return to the PEO Soldier workforce.

“It’s my greatest professional honor and privilege to serve for a third and final time amongst your ranks,” Schneider said. “Your work is sacred. Every ounce matters. Every bullet counts.”

By Frederick Shear PEO Soldier

U.S., Netherlands Sign Future Rotorcraft Concept Analysis Arrangement

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

GILZE-RIJEN AIRFORCE BASE, Netherlands – Senior leaders from the United States Army and the Netherlands Ministry of Defence signed a Future Rotorcraft Concept Analysis Project Arrangement today, pledging to work together to ensure interoperability between the two nations’ future rotorcraft aviation forces.

Under the arrangement signed by Douglas Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, and Maj. Gen. André Steur, National Capability Director for the Netherlands Ministry of Defense, the two nations will share information about their future rotorcraft requirements and programs. Through this joint analysis, the U.S. and Netherlands will be able to assess the benefits, risks and overall feasibility of rotorcraft cooperation between the two allies. This arrangement is in addition to already existing partnerships the Netherlands has with the U.S. Army to collaborate on the detection and decontamination efforts of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives and Weapons Systems Effectiveness and Operation Research.

Objectives of this project arrangement include:

• Identifying opportunities to reduce future rotorcraft program cost, schedule and performance risk.

• Enabling and improving rotorcraft interoperability and integration between the armed forces.

• Assessing the feasibility of and identifying and assessing risks associated with pursuing future cooperation in the research, development, test and evaluation, production, sustainment, and follow-on development of future rotorcraft.

• Providing the two nations with information to use in their respective national decision-making processes.

• Promoting future rotorcraft cooperative research, development, testing and evaluation.

• Developing plans for cooperation in future phases of the U.S. Department of Defense Future Vertical Lift program.

“I’m glad to be signing this important arrangement with our steadfast Dutch NATO allies. This arrangement further strengthens our defense relationship, specifically when it comes to the future of our air capabilities,” Bush said. “Technological cooperation through arrangements like this improves our ability to collectively modernize and increase interoperability ensuring we can train and fight alongside our allies and partners more effectively and efficiently.”

The U.S. and Netherlands have a long history of partnership and cooperation, and the FRCA project arrangement is an important step in expanding that relationship into the next generation of vertical lift capability and employment in future coalition operations.

“The signing of this project arrangement is yet another example of the enduring partnership between our countries,” Steur said. “Finding interoperability in a networked coalition, plus exploring and analyzing new concepts for the employment of coalition air power, is key for the future fight. By working together on this program, we ensure a solid and common base for further development of our future rotorcraft capabilities.”

The U.S. Army is modernizing Army Aviation with transformational speed, range and lethality to achieve decision dominance for the Joint Force in Multi-Domain Operations. The two nations will assess collaboration opportunities on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, the U.S. Army’s aviation modernization priorities, as well as Future Unmanned Aerial Systems, Air Launched Effects, and Modular Open Systems Architecture, among other DoD programs.

The U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation is responsible for negotiating international armaments cooperation arrangements like this one. Leveraging foreign technologies, capabilities and investment supports U.S. Army readiness, modernization and interoperability goals.