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THE EVOLUTION OF BATTLEFIELD COMMUNICATIONS

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The U.S. Army’s ability to securely communicate and push information across the battlefield has grown as the enemy has gained greater access to advanced communications technology and capabilities.

1980s: Army builds out the Mobile Subscribe Equipment (MSE) system for communications from division down to battalion level, creating a smaller, more mobile capability than previous systems.

1991: Forces outrun the network during Operation Desert Storm–revealing the need for a modern system. Network transformation initiatives began soon after.

1990s: Troop drawdown after Operation Desert Storm leads to low network modernization prioritization, limited development and fielding.

Motorola-built SCR-300 or “Walkie-Talkie” (photos courtesy of U.S. Army)

Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) (photos courtesy of U.S. Army)

 

 

army network modernization

 

 

 
Humvees equipped with MSE during operations in Desert Storm (photo courtesy of U.S. Army)

 

2002: Updated network modernization efforts restart.

2003: With few advancements widely fielded,similar limitations were experienced again during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The pace of the war outruns our mobile force’s ability to communicate.

2004-2012: U.S. Government begins reinvesting in network modernization. Joint Network Node/ Warfighter Information Network –Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 1 is quickly built and fielded in response to need for modern network infrastructure – but for at-the-halt operations only.

2014: U.S. faces current and potential adversaries with access to commercial off-the-shelf technology. New network technology – WIN-T Increment 2 – and tactical edge radios that connect individual soldiers to the network for the first time –HMS – developed, but fielding is just beginning.

 

“As far as tactical military communications, it never ceases to amaze me when I look at where we started and where we are today.”

Col. Ed Swanson, Program Manager, WIN-T