US Army command post modernization program enters engineering and manufacturing phase

The U.S. Army is on its way to fielding command posts that are more mobile, scalable and survivable during close combat missions. Kathryn Bailey and Karen Danfelt, PEO C3T Public Affairs, report.
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The 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord conducts a validation exercise (VALEX) of prototype command post equipment in support of PEO C3T’s Command Post Integrated Infrastructure (CPI2) program. During the VALEX, held in April-May, 2021, the unit establishes and tests their tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure they can use the equipment properly based on their mission. The CPI2 program addresses the challenges posed by contemporary and future land conflict such as physical signatures, mobility and standardization. (Picture source: U.S. Army)

As one of the U.S. Army's top priorities for network modernization, the Command Post Integrated Infrastructure (CPI2) program addresses the challenges posed by contemporary and future land conflicts such as physical signatures, mobility and standardization. Command post designs for this effort are integrating approved commercial and government off-the-shelf systems, as well as government programs of record that support command post operational needs.

Under development in two increments, termed Inc 0 and Inc 1, the CPI2 program recently achieved its Milestone B decision authority under Inc 1, allowing the program to move forward into the engineering and manufacturing phase. Once developed and assessed, Inc 1 will field widely across the service.

“Meeting this milestone for Inc 1 means that our initial prototype efforts under Inc 0 have informed the Army’s needs for advanced command post capabilities and we are ready to develop a long-term solution,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Rogers, CPI2 product manager, part of Project Manager Interoperability, Integration and Services (I2S), under Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

CPI2 Inc 1 expands the Inc 0 product lines with an additional mix of military vehicle platforms, including a variety of armored vehicles, Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and Medium Tactical Vehicles. The effort also consists of the Command Post Support Vehicle, which serves as a communications node for brigade and above, assorted shelter systems and supporting intelligent power capabilities. “Each component provides capabilities that allow commanders to synchronize the close fight, increasing survivability through a mobile command post infrastructure, while being at the critical decision point on the battlefield,” Rogers said.

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Soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division work inside a Mission Command Platform during Command Post Integrated Infrastructure (CPI2) training exercises at Yakima Training Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in April-May, 2021. (Picture source: U.S. Army)

The path from prototype to Milestone B began with a DEVCOM C5ISR Prototype Integration Facility (PIF)-developed Inc 0 CPI2 platform, followed by two more CPI2 platforms developed by the program’s awarded industry partners to provide opportunities to gather Soldier feedback for the Inc 1 design. “The government and industry teams who developed Inc 0 prototypes have been extremely valuable partners with their ability to innovate and give us options for the units to evaluate,” Rogers said.

In preparation for the engineering and manufacturing phase of the Inc 1 program, the Army has issued a Request for Information (RFI) from the industry for input and suggestions for the upcoming CPI2 contract. The contract is expected to cover production, integration, fielding, training and sustainment of the systems, with an award planned for FY24. Responses to the RFI are due on June 16.

Achieving Inc 1 status does not negate the need for Inc 0, which is ongoing and currently executing multiple phases of prototyping, integration and unit experimentation to inform Inc 1 by incorporating Soldier touchpoints with three units: 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington; 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division-Air Assault at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. “These Soldier touchpoints are a critical part of the Army’s DevOps process, feeding the product development team with valuable feedback and lessons learned that continue to inform the Inc 1 effort,” Rogers said.

Operational assessments with two of the units this summer and fall will allow developers to gather feedback on the design across five brigade combat teams. Following the Inc 1 contract award and platform production, the Army will field the first unit equipped with Inc 1 platforms in FY25. The CPI2 program will ultimately field the modernized command post Inc 0 and Inc 1 capabilities to 92 units, with one system available for training activities.