US Army leaders eye tactical cloud network applications
by Carlo Munoz 05 APRIL 2021，JANES
A US soldier operates an Android-based network end-user device during an army network evaluation exercise at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. (US Army )
US Army leaders are working potential options to drive cloud-computing capabilities down to deployed combat formations, as part of an overall effort by the US armed forces to push advanced computing and networking capabilities to the tactical edge.
The near-term focus of army information technology engineers on potential tactical-level cloud-computing options centres on the use of pre-programmed edge node-based networks, said US Army Brigadier General Robert Collins, the programme executive officer for the service’s Command, Control, and Communications – Tactical (C3T) directorate.
“Much like an operational unit deploys with a series of class three or class five supplies,” smaller, edge-node tactical cloud networks pre-programmed with “routinely accessed data that is stored at the edge, so they can retrieve, access, synthesise, and act on that data faster”, is one viable, near-term capability army leaders are eyeing for combat cloud computing, he said.
Army engineers are still analysing to determine the amount of data and types of data that would be beneficial for an edge-node tactical cloud network, he explained. “Is it forward in the edge cloud, or is it stored, for not as routinely accessed data?” Gen Collins said, referring to the type of ongoing analysis for tactical cloud integration. “We have tools within the network that can help define what types of data needs prioritised … be able to tag that data, have a network to recognise that data, and then have [network operations] tools” that can further define what data sets are applicable in a given combat scenario, Brig Gen Collins explained.