Army Kicks Off Network Field Experiments

JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — Army scientists and engineers are kicking off the annual Network Modernization Experiment, or NetModX, as they move their capabilities from the lab to a field environment across the New Jersey installation.

The Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center conducts NetModX at JB-MDL and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, over eight weeks as a capstone experimentation event. It creates an operationally relevant, threat-informed environment to prove out disruptive and transformative C5ISR technologies. The C5ISR Center is an element of the Combat Capabilities Development Command.

The center’s field experimentation builds upon its modeling and simulation work and lab research, according to Noah Weston, the C5ISR Center’s chief of strategic experimentation. The NetModX team partners with subject-matter experts from across the Army to design experiments that best address the Army’s needs and gaps.

“The Army needs data to make the right decisions at the right time to mature science and technology products to be deployable,” Weston said. “Experimentation allows us to obtain early data on system performance that can inform future Army requirements.”

The C5ISR Center conducts NetModX, which is composed of about 80 technologies for 2023, with the Army’s programs of record, cross-functional teams, other DEVCOM organizations and industry partners for an approach that ranges from science and technology to acquisition.

“NetModX expands our knowledge of emerging networking technologies in relevant field conditions and fosters critical early collaboration between government and industry partners,” said Stephen Blair, senior science and technology advisor for the Network Cross-Functional Team, part of Army Futures Command. “It informs our collective efforts to reduce network complexity at lower echelons; increase speed and survivability through mobile command posts; manage electronic signature; and improve interoperability.”

NetModX intends to deliver key insights to help transition capabilities from the “art of the possible” to the “achievable,” said Joe Saldiveri, NetModX project lead and C5ISR Center engineer.

“These experimentation opportunities enable the Army stakeholders to come together to spark collaboration and inform critical decisions,” Saldiveri said.

The C5ISR Center partners with the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical during NetModX to provide technical and operational data on emerging technology.

“Experimentation events such as NetModX support our network design efforts for the Army of 2030 or to inform conditions as we look forward to how our programs will support Army of 2040 network modernization,” said Assistant Program Executive Officer Ward Roberts. “NetModX data supports our developers with integration and technical maturity insight on targeted capability that has transition potential into programs of record and informs formulation of design goals as we work with Cross-Functional Team community.”

By Dan Lafontaine, DEVCOM C5ISR Center Public Affairs