Army’s Acquisition of Battle Network Slowed Down by Red Tape

February 17, 2012

The Army's fast-track method of buying mobile networks for deployed soldiers could be in jeopardy as long as it remains bound by existing procurement regulations, government and industry sources said.

Under a new evaluation system that was launched a year ago, the Army is seeking to buy digital radios, smartphones, portable 3G and 4G networking systems and other wireless technology to equip its combat brigades. The goal is to compress a process that would normally take three to five years into a few months, so technologies don't become obsolete by the time they reach the battlefield.

The process, known as Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, is the Army's answer to its decades-old frustration of failing to provide soldiers the latest and greatest communications systems from the consumer market. The first two NIE events occurred last summer and fall at training ranges in Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The Army is about to kick off two more NIEs this year. 

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