Network integration gets intelligence to troops

Wednesday - 11/3/2010, 12:25pm EDT

Major Mark Cevantes, Assistant Product Manager for Infantry Brigade Cambat Team, Army

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When Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the Army's Future Combat Systems it didn't really disappear. It has been reshaped and refocused into the Infantry Brigade Combat Team modernization.

One surviving piece is the network for gathering ground intelligence, interpreting it and sending it to soldiers who need it as well as to command headquarters. And a key piece of that network is the Network Integration Kit, or NIK.

At last week's Association of the U.S. Army convention (AUSA), Tom Temin spoke with Army Major Mark Cervantes, assistant product manager for the Infantry Brigade Combat Team from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

At the AUSA show, the NIK was mounted in a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle. The Army is also developing a new ground vehicle to accompany its brigades.

The NIK is comprised of several systems that bring up the Digital Tactical Network. The information that is received sent to formations that contain the Brigade Combat Team Modernization equipment, Cervantes said.

There are several data collecting sensors that feed the NIK, among them tactical unattended ground sensors, urban unattended ground sensors and unmanned aerial systems.

"That information that is captured is then sent through various gateway hardware devices through the digital tactical network and is received by the Network Integration Kit," Cervantes said.

This platform is an ad hoc system, which allows it to be mobile. In addition, when the tactical operations system receives the information, it is then dispersed over other battle command systems.

"So those formations that don't contain this package of equipment, the BCTM equipment, they can also share in this information," Cervantes said.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.

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