touchscreen or keyboard poses problems. Therefore, Army
officials envision combat computer systems that recognize
gestures or use eye tracking. Researchers also are working
on a voice recognition app capable of operating in places
Siri would not dare. “You want to say what you need to see
instead of hunting and pecking through a bunch of different menus or pressing keys on a keyboard. In theory, this
actually helps enable using a computer system while you’re
on the move,” O’Ree says.
The researchers acknowledge, however, that a combat
environment is formidable for a voice recognition system.
Envision a command center with multiple conversations
happening both in the room and across a number of radios.
The background noise can be mitigated within vehicles
equipped with an intercom system that allows warfighters
to communicate through microphones mounted on their
helmets, O’Ree observes. “As a research and development
effort, we were able to integrate those same microphones,
which are custom-tailored for noisy environments. We’ve
had a lot of success in this particular area,” he says.
The TCE also will include a collaborative data environment. “A lot of the currently fielded digital mission command systems enable users to collaborate directly with
other users on the network. They don’t have to be in the
same location. They can be on the other side of the planet,”
O’Ree states. “We’re trying to extend and augment some of
those capabilities to bring them down into new areas, such
as to the handheld and dismounted area. We’re effectively
trying to maintain a level of collaboration the commanders
are used to in the command post when they’re outside the
command post.” He adds that network constraints and limited connectivity pose additional challenges.
The TCE also will feature an intelligent mobility capabil-
ity, offering situational awareness of the network. “We’re
trying to perform research and development into areas that
would enable applications, such as something that works on
a smartphone or a desktop or anything else, to intelligently
know the network conditions. Maybe we have network
connectivity to the battle captain or the senior noncom-
missioned officer, but we might have no connectivity or just
poor connectivity to somebody else,” O’Ree elaborates. “If
you’re on a highly iffy network, we probably don’t want to
enable video conferencing because the network can’t sup-
port it right now.”
The TCE is part of a science and technology objective
called Expeditionary Mission Command that will conclude
with a 2018 demonstration. Soldiers with the 1st Infantry
Division, Fort Riley, Kansas, were allowed to explore the
TCE’s capabilities last summer, and the system will be
included in a field-based risk reduction effort this summer
at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Both the CVS and the TCE are follow-on efforts to the
recently completed Mission Command/Actionable Intelli-
gence Technology-Enabled Capability Demonstration (MC/
AI TECD). The effort is described on an Army website as a
demonstration of “a system of game-changing capabilities
for company-level units and below.” The goal, according
to the website, is to “prevent surprise encounters and help
small units achieve tactical overmatch without increased
physical or cognitive burden on the soldier.”
The MC/AI TECD effort completed its final demonstra-
tion last year at Fort Dix. The program developed a vari-
ety of technologies and capabilities in three major areas:
proactive decision support and collaboration; situational
awareness and understanding; and faster and more accurate
target identification and handoff. Some of the systems have
transitioned to programs of record, including a tactical
Twitter-type system known as TacticalPost, which is now
part of the Nett Warrior program.
Technologies developed under the MC/AI TECD program and its two follow-on efforts have one common element. “All the capabilities we’re developing have to be expeditionary so that the commanders will be able to execute
and command from any location,” Palmer says.
contact: George I. Seffers, email@example.com
Star Communications, Inc.
signal processing receivers
Small. 4. 4 x 6. 6 x 0.8 inches
Powerful. >65 Teraops/sec
A;ordable. scalable 1-4 FPGAs
Easy-to-use. installs in any PC or server
made in the U.S.A.