Panther Brigade Uses Crucible Of Ground Combat To Test Technology
U.S. Army Sgt. Cody Parsons
February 18, 2019
Fort Bragg-based Paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, in cooperation with the Joint Modernization Command, executed Network Integration Exercise 18.2 from late October to early November 2018 ... testing what may be the U.S. Army’s next step in Mission-Command technology
“The best way to test a paratrooper and his or her equipment is to replicate the demanding crucible of ground combat,” said Col. Arthur Sellers, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. “NIE provided the brigade an excellent environment to evaluate the Army's future Mission Command Systems and associated technologies, with the purpose of creating shared understanding and enabling the BCT to be more lethal".
Network Integration Exercise, spearheaded by JMC, examines concepts and capabilities addressing three of the six Army Modernization Priorities – Soldier Lethality, Long-Range Precision Fires and the Future Network.
Paratroopers from the brigade conduct NIE as a large-scale evaluation of what may become the Army’s next generation of Mission Command technology... October 20, 2018 (top) - A paratrooper assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division launches a PUMA Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Vehicle during the recently concluded Network Integration Exercise. November 7, 2018 (bottom left) - Paratroopers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conduct a systems check on their VROD/VMAX electronic warfare equipment before conducting a tactical exercise at the recently concluded Network Integration Exercise. November 19, 2018 (bottom right) - Paratroopers from the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conduct air-assault training at the Network Integration Exercise. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Cody Parsons and Maj. Thomas Cieslak)
“Our main objectives are to facilitate the execution of operationally realistic warfighting assessments for over two weeks and assess multi-domain operations while obtaining feedback from paratroopers on the ground,” said Rodger Lemons, Chief of Strategic Plans at the JMC.
The exercise’s keystone concept focused on equipping 3rd Brigade paratroopers and units with emerging technology and equipment while setting them through a series of combat scenarios. Those using the equipment were then encouraged to provide candid criticism of the shortfalls and benefits of the technology.
“Paratroopers on the ground are able to give developers immediate feedback,” said Lieutenant General Bruce T. Crawford, the Army’s chief information officer. “This allows the Army to move away from the monolithic programs of record and move into a more iterative approach that allows us to keep up with technological advancements.”
We are pushing towards a culture of innovation and the role these Paratroopers are playing is a game changer, continued Crawford.