Commander of Army Futures Command Gen. John Murray told reporters at a press briefing at AUSA on Monday that “there’s really nothing that keeps me up at night.”
But he does think often about the Army network.
The Army network is the broad-sweeping term that the Army uses to describe its communications and data network. The hope is that the Army network will help process data across ground, air, and space assets and facilitate cooperation between soldiers as the Army focuses more on near-peer competition and Multi-Domain Operations (MDO).
For General Murray, it’s not problems within the network, but “it’s that we’re reliant on the network for so much,” he said.
The Army talks a lot about the sensor-to-shooter concept when it comes to the Long-Range Precision Fires capability. That requires the network.
The Army talks a lot about the synthetic training environment. That requires the network. Just to name a couple.
“So if there’s one thing that’s kind of cross-cutting everything we’re working on, it’s the network,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of technical hurdles to overcome.”
Jeff Langhout, the Director of the Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center, which supports the work of Army Futures Command’s, also raised concerns about the network.
“On the ground, you have robots wanting to talk to other robots talking to ground vehicles and you go behind the hill, you go behind the rock, you go down in a gully, or you’re in a city and you go around the corner of a building … we’re trying to pass full-motion video in some cases,” Langhout said. “This is a big technological challenge.”
“Everybody’s gonna say, ‘I got a radio that will do it,’” Langhout said. “Fine, as long as you’re 100 feet apart and you can see each other.”
The Director Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman said they’re looking at using unmanned vehicles to expand that line of sight and the Army network capabilities, but as Langhout said, “I think [the network] is going to continue to be perhaps our biggest challenge because we just haven’t fixed physics yet.”