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CARTER: COUNTER-ISIL DEFENSE MINISTERS RECOGNIZE ALL MUST DO MORE
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Source: US DoD

WASHINGTON - Defense ministers who represent core countries contributing to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant all agreed that they will continue to do more to accelerate ISIL's lasting defeat, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today in Stuttgart, Germany, after the group’s second meeting.

The ministers, who first met Jan. 20 in Paris, represented Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"There was common recognition around the table that we all must be prepared to do more as we work with local, motivated and capable partners in Iraq and Syria," Carter said. "That’s our strategic approach -- to implement the next plays of the coalition's military campaign."

Actions Now in Play

Carter said actions now in play include stabilizing Iraq's Anbar province; generating Iraqi security forces, including Peshmerga forces in the north, by training, equipping and positioning them; enveloping the city of Mosul; identifying and developing more local forces in Syria that can isolate and pressure the nominal ISIL capital of Raqqa; and providing more firepower, sustainment and logistics support to partners so they can collapse ISIL control over both cities.

"The United States ... is already taking a number of key actions in Iraq and Syria to enable these next plays," Carter said. Many of these I announced last week after [President Barack Obama’s] approval of them."

In Iraq, the United States is placing advisors with Iraqi forces at brigade and battalion levels to enhance decision-making and responsiveness, leveraging Apache attack helicopters to support Iraqi efforts to envelop and retake Mosul, sending more rocket-artillery systems to support the Iraqi ground offensive, and providing $415 million to the Peshmerga, one of the most effective fighting forces against ISIL, the secretary said.

"To do all this," he added, "we're going to adjust how to use U.S. forces in Iraq and immediately bring in about 215 more of them."

In Syria, the Defense Department increased U.S. forces from 50 to 300, using the extra 250 personnel, including special operations forces, to help expand ongoing efforts to identify, train and equip capable, motivated, local anti-ISIL forces there, especially among the Sunni Arab community, Carter said. And U.S. special operations forces will be able to incorporate partner special operations forces from other countries to augment coalition counter-ISIL efforts there, he added.

Ministers Meet

During the meeting in Stuttgart, the ministers began by discussing the situation on the ground in Iraq and confirmed the importance of an accelerated push to ultimately retake Mosul, the secretary said.

"We all recognized the need for economic and political, as well as military contributions, because much still hinges on nonmilitary aspects of countering ISIL," he said. "Support for stabilization, multisectarian governance and reconstruction all will be critical to ensuring that ISIL stays defeated after it is defeated in Iraq."

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian led a discussion of the state of the campaign in Syria. The ministers reviewed recent operational gains by local coalition-supported forces and discussed the importance of closing off the Manbij area to ISIL, given the flow of foreign fighters there and the potential for external plots against coalition members and nations, Carter said.

Supporting Partners

The ministers also discussed more resources needed to support coalition partners in the next steps of the campaign in logistics, trainers, ammunition, special operations forces, sustainment and medical supplies, spare parts for Iraqi equipment and support for stabilization efforts as the campaign frees territory from ISIL control.

"I’m confident," Carter said, "that today's meeting will accordingly produce additional military commitments."

The fight is far from over, and great risks remain, he added.

"We were reminded of this yesterday when an American service member, Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating, a Navy SEAL, was killed while providing advice and assistance for the peshmerga forces north of Mosul who were directly in the fight," the secretary said.

Continuing Risk

"We greatly regret his loss, Carter added, "but allowing ISIL safe haven would carry greater risk for us all."

Carter said the ministers agreed to meet again this summer in Washington, along with their counterparts from other partners in the counter-ISIL effort.

"That will allow these discussions to continue and widen," the secretary added, "with all the other partners -- for example the Gulf partners, with whom I had discussions two weeks ago in Riyadh in advance of the president's summit there. Together, we will -- we must -- deliver ISIL a lasting defeat."

Source:  US DoD
Associated URL: Cheryl Pellerin DoD News
Source Date: May 4, 2016
Posted: 05/05/2016

 
 
ARMY'S NETWORK INTEGRATION EVALUATION EXERCISE ENHANCES READINESS
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Source: US Army

FORT BLISS, Texas - Soldiers are getting a hands-on look at the latest enhancements to Army tactical communications equipment during the two-week long Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 16.2, which kicked off, May 2.

With 2,000 Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division performing combined arms maneuver missions spread out over more than 1,000 miles at Fort Bliss, Texas, the exercise will build on previous NIEs as it evaluates and improves the tactical network.

Utilizing Soldier feedback, the NIEs are designed to help the Army keep pace with rapid advances in communications technologies and deliver integrated network and mission command capabilities, a top Army modernization priority for readiness.

"NIE is really a team-of-teams effort between 1st Armored Division, Operational Test Command and the acquisition community," said Brig. Gen. Terrence McKenrick, the commanding general of the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC), which helps execute the NIEs on behalf of the Training and Doctrine Command.

Since it was established in 2011, the NIE construct has continuously enhanced the Army's expeditionary mission command network baseline for fielding to brigade combat teams by incorporating Soldier feedback into system design, performance, functionality and training. NIE 16.2, the eleventh such event, will support two Army program of record tests, as well as informal evaluations of several emerging network enhancement capabilities.

"We have repeatedly seen the value of hands-on Soldier feedback from NIE to help the Army make better decisions in our modernization efforts, while simplifying and cyber-hardening the system of systems network," said Douglas K. Wiltsie, executive director of the Army's System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate, which helps oversee and execute the NIE process for the acquisition community.

NIE 16.2, which runs through May 14, focuses on evaluating network operations (NetOps) tools that Soldiers use to manage the network, assessing the Army's next generation of mission command applications, and informing the radio basis of issue for the mid-tier of the Army's tactical network.

A critical objective of NIE 16.2 is focused on network simplification and management. The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 3 NetOps test will look at enhancements that increase visibility and cyber-hardening across the network, while making network management tasks easier and more efficient.

Command post requirements will also be refined during NIE 16.2, with an assessment of the second version of the Command Post Computing Environment, which introduces mission command "apps" and provides commanders improved situational awareness and understanding.

An operational assessment of the mid-tier network will inform the Army on the capability and capacity of the mid-tier and how that capability should be employed throughout the brigade combat team - much the same way previous NIEs conducted similar assessments for the lower tactical internet and upper tactical internet.

While NIE exercises used to be held twice a year, these events will be now be held annually starting with NIE 16.2. In the fall, the Army will hold the first official Army Warfighting Assessment (AWA), a complement to the NIE.

NIEs, to be held each spring, will focus on formal testing and evaluation of network programs of record, while the AWAs, held each fall, will provide an experimental environment to help assess and refine requirements and improve emerging capabilities in a joint and coalition environment. Both events will work to promote innovation, modernization, readiness and developing capabilities for the future force.

"AWA is about innovation - we will work with industry to look at capability that will aid Army readiness, early developmental prototypes that we can evaluate before they are ready for NIE," McKenrick said. "AWA will help increase the rate of readiness."

As the Army continues to transition to a regionally aligned, expeditionary force that acts in partnership with joint and coalition forces, exercises such as the NIEs and AWAs will help inform more mobile, scalable and expeditionary network capabilities.

"We are continuously evolving the NIE and AWA construct to meet Army priorities in a resource-constrained environment, while increasing the emphasis on rapid prototyping to get Soldier feedback on leap-ahead technologies," Wiltsie said.

Source:  US Army
Associated URL: army.mil
Source Date: May 5, 2016
Posted: 05/05/2016

 
 
NEW TURBINE ENGINE TO RESTORE HELICOPTER LIFT CAPABILITY
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Source: U.S. Army

ATLANTA - Degraded lift capability is especially problematic in areas where high-altitude, high-temperature flights are required, including nearly half of Afghanistan, said Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler.

Gayler, commander, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama, spoke at the Army Aviation Association of America-sponsored 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solution Summit in Atlanta, April 29 and 30.

Using the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as an example, Gayler said an average of about 78 pounds per year have been added annually -- for all the right reasons. That includes increased protective gear, ammunition, new technologies and so on. Over the years, those increases have totaled about a ton-and-a-quarter.

All of that weight affects speed, lift, range, maneuverability and the amount of stuff that can be carried, he said.

Years ago, four Black Hawks could move a platoon, he pointed out. Now, it takes eight or nine and by 2020 -- assuming the linear weight increases continue at the current rate -- it will take 15 to 20, he said.

That decrease in capability severely limits options for ground commanders, he said. Besides that, it increases risk, and fuel consumption goes way up as well. "We've got to fix that," Gayler said.

Steffanie Easter, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, said "we're giving up options for our warfighters by not being able to give them the power they need."

ITEP KEY TO RESTORING POWER

The Improved Turbine Engine Program, or ITEP, is a completely new engine that will likely one day replace those currently in the AH-64 Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, Gayler said. It will return a lot of that lost capability.

"ITEP is critical," he said. "We must get it right to buy back maneuverability."

Easter said ITEP is the solution for improved mobility, range and payload capacity of the current fleet.

ITEP will replace the 1970s-era T700 family of engines for the Black Hawk and Apache fleet, she said. It's going to provide over 3,000 shaft horsepower, which is a great increase over the current 1,900 to 2,000 hp. The ITEP design will also decrease the amount of maintenance required.

Brig. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, commander, U.S. Special Operations Aviation Command, said his Soldiers are excited about ITEP as well, but their emphasis in on the maneuverability aspect of what it promises, and somewhat less on range and payload.

That may mean special operations will get its own variant, but cost would be an important deciding factor, he said, meaning they might go with what the Army gets.

Brig. Gen. Bob Marion, Program Executive Officer, Aviation, said ITEP is a big deal for the Army and it will be resident in about 85 percent of its platforms.

It also has potential for Future Vertical Lift, or FVL, if not the motor then pieces of the technology, he said.

FVL's engineering and manufacturing development doesn't begin until fiscal year 2024 with the first aircraft test in FY26.

Marion said fielding ITEP is still years away. "We're going after milestone A this quarter," after which "we'll be looking to award two contracts and down-select two vendors."

ITEP NOT ENOUGH

Gayler said that while ITEP will meet near-term demands for increasing power, longer-term solutions are needed.

The CH-47 Chinook helicopter was brought into the fleet in 1964, he said. Its scheduled departure from the Army is 2064. "That's 100 years on that airframe. It's similar with the Apache and Black Hawk. These are gaps. It's what keeps me up at night."

He added: "I don't want my grandchildren flying the same aircraft my father flew."

Source:  US Army
Associated URL: army.mil
Source Date: May 3, 2016
Author: David Vergun 
Posted: 05/05/2016

 

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