During Operation Desert Storm a quarter-century ago, the Army discovered a problem that grew progressively worse with time: its command network couldn’t keep up with the pace of battle. That was mainly because soldiers in combat needed to stop and set up stationary nodes to communicate with the rest of the force. The Army’s solution was the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical, or WIN-T. In its initial version, WIN-T greatly enhanced the availability of secure voice and data communications. The next step, called Increment 2, delivered similar functionality to commanders on the move. The Army has long said Increment 2 is critical to its future warfighting strategy. For some inexplicable reason, though, it now is poised to acquiesce in a plan that would slow fielding to two brigade sets per year — a rate that would delay equipping some units until after 2040. If Congress goes along with this uneconomical fielding plan, soldiers in future wars are likely to die for lack of adequate battlefield links to the chain of command. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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