FORT BLISS, Texas (June 8, 2015) – Teams, dedicated to fielding the Army’s most advanced technologies, spend up to three quarters of their time traveling throughout the country.
The mission at hand for system of Systems Engineering and Integration, Capability Package Directorate, is to create the architecture and design integration of capability sets, provide support to program managers and field sets to brigade combat teams.
“Each program manager acquires their kit based on the requirements document and direction from the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, the honorable Ms. Heidi Shyu,” said Paul Wilson, project director, synchronized fielding, or SF. “It is up to the synch fielding team to offer assistance to the program manager on the integration of the systems.”
The architectures are matured at the network integration evaluations on Fort Bliss, Texas, where systems are evaluated by Soldiers, from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. The systems evaluated during Network Integration Evaluation 15.2, which took place this past May, may eventually be put into a fiscal year 2017 capability set.
The purpose of creating capability sets is to provide an integrated grouping of equipment, which will provide the brigade combat team commander different communication platforms to utilize as mission dictates. In addition, capability sets also lessen the burden of multiple individual fielding efforts to commanders and units.
To create the sets for Army vehicles, the SF engineering division and fielding division, take the architecture design and translate it into something, which can be placed onto a platform.
“Normally, what it comes down to, as pieces and systems are matured and ready for fielding, they get integrated into the architecture,” Wilson said. “We now have an understanding of what the end state will look like in 2020, as we get the new pieces in, we plug them into the architecture and integrate the design.”
Once a capability set is ready, within the disciplined schedule of 24 weeks, SF, based in Warren, Michigan, integrates the capability sets onto vehicles, provides new equipment training to Soldiers, and fields the new equipment to multiple units at a time.
“We have as many as five fieldings going on at – one time with two or three people on the ground. If there is a problem, the trail bosses go from place to place to fix it,” Wilson said. “They are the troubleshooters, facilitators and the guys that fix things that get broken, so they travel between fielding sites.”
The trail bosses can be out on the road for as long as three weeks each month. Between the three trail bosses, they have split the distribution of the installations to develop relationships and understand the nuances of each location.
“You have to be out enough to form a personal relationship with each unit being fielded. If you do not come out often enough, you are not able to fix problems when they come up,” said Capt. Keith Jordan, a trail boss for SF. “You always have to maintain a relationship, so when you do come they know they can count on you and vice versa.”
Throughout the past three years, SF has worked with over 35 program management offices and has trained and fielded capability sets for a total of 11 brigade combat teams and two division headquarters.
“There are literally thousands of pieces of equipment that are fielded to each unit,” said Robert Cross, team leader, SF. “I am currently working at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, conducting new equipment training and new equipment fielding for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.”
At the same time, Cross is also working to support other brigade combat teams, who are preparing for their upcoming new equipment training and new equipment fielding phases. In addition, personnel from the team are also at different bases throughout the country working in a similar capacity as Cross. They are all supporting the third round of Capability Sets, known as CS15.
These sets are a mix of devices mounted to a vehicle or handheld device, and consist of a variety of equipment. All the planning and fielding of capability sets is to get Soldiers the capabilities they need to enhance their survivability when needed.
As stagnant technologies become a thing of the past, mobilization of these technologies provide Soldiers a greater line of sight.
“Allowing a commander to understand the intelligence situation a lot quicker and knowing where his forces are and how they are arranged, allows him to make better, faster decisions,” Jordan said.
Providing mobilization and network connectivity to brigade combat teams, in a timely manner, is the focus, as technology keeps moving rapidly. Army modernization requires many technologies to maintain efficiencies and effectiveness, which is why the SF team continuously works year round, throughout the country, to keep the process moving and updated.