NIE tests, Agile Process bring changes to the future fight 

 
A soldier from A Company, 1/35th Armored Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, demonstrates an application he designed to Gen. Robert W. Cone, commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, during Network Integration Evaluation. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo)

Maj. Nichole Propes

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command

Experts from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) discussed the Network Integration Evaluations and Agile Process during the Virginia Peninsula Gen. Douglas MacArthur Chapter of the Association of the United States Army professional development forum in Williamsburg.

NIE’s are semi-annual evaluations by the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) at Fort Bliss, Texas, and are a part of Agile Process, the Army’s new quick-reaction acquisition method to address distinct capability gaps and insert new technologies into the overall network at a lower cost.

"We are trying to do things differently to meet the needs of the force, by developing capabilities as quickly as possible," Steve West, deputy director of Accelerated Capabilities Division, Army Capabilities Integration Center, said.

West led the panel that included Les Ware and Jim Bray, also from the Accelerated Capabilities Division, as well as Mike Bradley, an industry representative.

During the briefing, panel members explained that the Army currently has an informal and formal process to field equipment.

The informal process, known as rapid equipping, enables the Army to do things quickly to meet immediate operational needs. The more formal process includes a complete approach that maximizes efficiency and effectiveness.

West said balancing time and risk determines which process they will use.

"The Army tests and gets feedback on mature technology from industry by putting it in the hands of soldiers in realistic operational environments," Bradley said.

TRADOC’s role in the NIE and Agile Process is to step in and look at the capability gaps and requirements that are based on the objectives and focus areas identified by the Army.

The command then works them from the strategic level down to the tactical level. TRADOC is also involved with how the technologies are chosen and integrated based on the findings and recommendations from the BMC.

The Agile Process and NIE are processes that help change how the Army delivers capabilities to its soldiers.

"Getting the equipment in the hands of the soldiers prior to fielding may cost a lot of money, but it’s cheaper than fielding equipment then finding out there is a problem," Bray said.