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Introduction by Chris Marzilli, President of General Dynamics Mission Systems
Today's soldiers operate overseas on challenging terrain and in fast-moving, remote and expanding battlefields. Their communications capabilities, however, are not what we see portrayed in popular TV shows and action movies. In reality, the military's ability to communicate has not kept pace with advancements in 21st century communications technology.
To address these challenges, the Army contracted with General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) and its partners to develop and deploy Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T). Built by more than 8,000 workers and 500 businesses across the country, WIN-T is the high-speed, high-capacity tactical communications network that allows soldiers to send and receive critical information wherever and whenever they need it. For the past several years, WIN-T has been the Army's number one modernization priority.
Similar to civilian mobile communications networks that are ubiquitous today, WIN-T is a satellite-based network that securely links soldiers on the ground to one another and to operations centers anywhere in the world, delivering voice and data services in any environment, improving decision-making on the battlefield.
The Army has developed and deployed WIN-T for more than a decade in successive increments. The most recently fielded increment of WIN-T, Inc. 2, brings voice and data service on the move and has been deployed with Army units in Afghanistan. Inc. 2 builds on the highly successful WIN-T platform introduced with Inc. 1 at-the-halt, which has performed well since 2002. The ongoing WIN-T research and development program Inc. 3 is producing a simpler, easier to use and more secure network. Improvements to the network made by Inc. 3 are included in both fielded Inc. 1 and 2 platforms.
Currently, the entire U.S. Army, National Guard and Army Reserve are fielded with WIN-T Inc. 1. National Guard units use Inc. 1 as a critical communications capability here at home when they are called to respond to natural disasters and emergency situations. The National Guard used WIN-T following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 to share data, communicate and collaborate when power was lost and cellular communications were unavailable.
Inc. 2 has fielded with units in Afghanistan, including the 10th Mountain Division, deployed in July 2013 as the first unit equipped with Inc. 2s on-the-move capabilities. Those soldiers have praised WIN-Ts performance on the battlefield, calling it their digital guardian angel. As the prime contractor for WIN-T, General Dynamics continuously works with the Department of Defense (DoD) testing community to evaluate and improve the network for maximum usability and reliability in order to improve the soldier experience.
The WIN-T system is subject to ongoing rigorous testing and evaluation by a number of parties including multiple Army organizations such as Army Test & Evaluation Command (ATEC), and the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). Ongoing evaluation and testing of WIN-T is critical to the success of the program, as it allows the Army and DoD to engage in Test, Fix, Field cycles that discover areas for improvement and make refinements that improve ease of use for soldiers as the network evolves over time.
Throughout its developmental and operational testing, WIN-T Inc. 2 has shown growth in its effectiveness, reliability, suitability and survivability. The Army's tactical network backbone is on a path of continuous improvement as it tests, fields and evolves based on user feedback. The network is becoming less complex, easier to operate and more reliable because of feedback received while operating within realistic environments at Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs) as well as feedback from soldiers who have deployed. The Army's most recent developmental test indicated significant improvements to two components of the system, which illustrates the benefits of testing and the commitment to making WIN-T user-friendly and intuitive for the soldier.
As part of General Dynamics’ commitment to the soldier, we conduct our own internal testing to prepare for evaluations held by DoD and Army organizations. Our company's strong commitment to a Test cycle is grounded in the understanding that soldiers lives depend on the performance of their equipment. Testing and ensuring equipment is battle-ready is ingrained in the culture at General Dynamics, as we work with the Army and DoD to improve WIN-T based on soldier feedback.
As a 40-year provider to the Army of critical communications equipment, General Dynamics is committed to providing our soldiers with the communications tools they need, which can be as important as body armor or rifles in combat, when completing their missions. Our company regularly invests resources to develop testing tools such as an on-site test track for its mobile communications equipment and a facility for ensuring the products we develop will perform in the extreme conditions that warfighters operate. These facilities create an opportunity for important developmental tests to take place on-site at the production facility with government oversight to allow for another layer of rigorous testing.
WIN-T is the Army's number one modernization priority. This project has long-term and significant implications both for the safety of our troops and the stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Efficient and thorough development of this technology will provide our troops with vital tools to safely and effectively complete their missions while limiting risk and preserving resources.
President,General Dynamics Mission Systems