In November 2011, the Army concluded its second Network Integration Evaluation (NIE.)
The NIE consists of a series of semi-annual field exercises to evaluate, integrate, and mature the Army’s tactical network.
During the evaluations the Army integrates and assesses network and non-network capabilities to determine implications across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities.
NIE 12.1 concentrated efforts to extend network connectivity to the soldier and advance mission command on the move.
The evaluation continued to establish the integrated network baseline and for the first time involved industry participation. NIE 12.1 firsts revealed innovative risk reduction efforts integrating Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 into the Network Baseline.
These allowed the Army to establish the Objective Network Baseline, extend the network to the tactical edge, and advance "Mission Command on the Move."
The Army effectively reduced risk for the NIE 12.2 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation for WIN-T Increment 2 and the Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (JTRS HMS) systems.
Observations during NIE 12.1 revealed the use of a networked aerial tier with Line of Sight systems, improved Mission Command on the Move and simplified connectivity to remote company outposts.
Although refinement is still required, handheld devices at the fire team leader level and above showed tremendous potential for dismounted operations, especially for location information and Synchronized Pre-deployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) reports.
Two NIEs are planned for calendar year 2012.
NIE 12.2, the third of the series, will take place in April and May 2012 and focus on solidifying the network baseline with the formal test of WIN-T Increment 2, the Army’s on the move satellite based network connectivity.
NIE 12.2 will also validate the connectivity, architecture, and components of Capability Set 13, the first integrated group of network technologies to be fielded to up to eight brigade combat teams starting in 2013.
The process has aligned several key Army network programs and advanced the integration of radio waveforms to form an Integrated Network Baseline to which industry can build.
NIEs have evaluated more than 70 industry and government systems to date and lead to almost $1 billion in test and programmatic cost avoidance/savings, while allowing the Army to now begin synchronized fielding efforts for Capability Set 13.