US Army hosts largest-ever, joint-combined network exercise by David Vergun
The Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE 16.1, which takes place, Sept. 25 through Oct. 8, 2015, will be the largest NIE ever, since the exercises started in 2011. Joint partners as well as more than a dozen NATO countries will participate, along with Australia and New Zealand.
FORT BLISS, Texas – The Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE 16.1, which takes place Sept. 25 through Oct. 8, will be the largest NIE ever, since the exercises started in 2011, said Brig. Gen. Terry McKenrick. Normally, there are between 3,500 and 3,800 participants in NIE, said McKenrick, who is the commanding general, Brigade Modernization Command. NIE 16.1 has more than 9,000 U.S. and coalition soldiers, supported by more than 3,000 civilians participating primarily at Fort Bliss, but also other locations around the U.S. and the world.
Among the many Army units participating this time are I Corps Headquarters; 1st Armoured Division Headquarters, along with several 1st Armoured Division brigades; a brigade headquarters from the United Kingdom, along with a company of Strykers being used by the United Kingdom’s Scots Guards; 82nd Airborne Division, which will conduct a joint forcible entry; and, 101st Airborne Division, which will conduct an airborne assault. The U.K. and Italy join U.S. units on the ground with 12 other nations, as well as other U.S. military units, some of which will participate virtually, using a variety of simulations.
Some 300 platforms, including just about all the vehicles in the Army’s inventory, as well as experimental vehicles, loaded with a of radios, satellite communications gear and mission command applications, are being evaluated, along with radios carried by dismounted Soldiers, McKenrick said. NIE 16.1 is assessing manned and unmanned teaming – the ability to increase situational understanding, lethality, and sustainment of manoeuvre forces while reducing manpower and risk, he said. In all, three unmanned ground systems are being evaluated, as well as several networked unmanned air systems. Network provides the ability for Soldiers in command posts, mounted and dismounted to download situational awareness data from the unmanned air systems.