The U.S. Army is transitioning the Joint Network Node–Network (JNN-N) into a restructured Warfighter Information Network–Tactical
(WIN-T) program. WIN-T will now comprise four increments that will provide secure data, voice and imagery down to company-level soldiers who are on the move.
For the past several years, each program has been developing on its own track. Work on WIN-T has been underway since the 1990s, while the JNN-N was designed to meet the urgent operational requirements in Iraq that the existing Mobile Subscriber Equipment could not fulfill. Use of the network began in the summer of 2004.
Since the WIN-T program began, a multitude of changes have occurred in the service, including redesigned Army units under the modularity effort and plans for additional Army modular brigade combat teams. Tests conducted in November 2005 using WIN-T prototype components demonstrated the maturity of its key elements; however, the Army determined that it would still be several years before the system would be ready for fielding. The JNN-N was created in part to fill the gap.
The restructured WIN-T program is divided into four increments. The first increment focuses on developing enhanced radio and networking capabilities as well as security. The second increment is a development program that continues the research, development, test and evaluation of WIN-T’s network components. This effort aims at creating an initial on-the-move capability. The third is another developmental program and involves WIN-T components that could meet network capacity, security and full on-the-move communications as well as address size, weight, power and cooling requirements. The fourth increment concentrates on technology insertions that enable enhanced satellite communications protection and greater throughput. Overall WIN-T funding will be reported in a profile that identifies monies for each increment.
Army officials at the Communications–Electronics Command
(CECOM), Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, are working to meet the 150-day deadline for the restructure set by Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics Kenneth Krieg. By that time, the service must be finished establishing management oversight of the WIN-T program. Lieutenant colonels will be in place as product managers overseeing the increments; they will report progress on the increments to a colonel, who will be the project manager and supervise the overarching program.
According to Maj. Gen. Michael R. Mazzucchi, USA, commanding general, Communications–Electronics Lifecycle Management Command, and program executive officer, Command, Control and Communications–Tactical, establishing this single program simplifies requirements, funding and processes and keeps the Army’s progress in battlefield communications on track. Gen. Mazzucchi says the Army examined whether it would have made more sense to move the JNN-N into WIN-T or to integrate WIN-T into the JNN-N; it determined that the former will allow the service to maintain modern equipment for the current fight while developing the next level of communications for the future.