Fort Bragg tests new IT network designed for combat teams

Cumberland County News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) — Fort Bragg soldiers are at the forefront of the Army’s plan to strengthen its technology capabilities on the battlefield.

For soldiers on the ground in combat, this means a faster medical response and getting ahead of the enemy.

82nd Airborne Division paratroopers are part of the testing process to expand the IT network throughout the Army.

When you’re at war, you can’t rely on cell towers or Wi-Fi.

“We know we need a fundamentally different network,” said Brig. Gen. Rob Collins.

That’s where the Integrated Tactical Network comes in, bringing faster and more reliable technology to soldiers in combat.

“Each and every soldier now becomes an individual sensor on the battlefield,” Collins said.

Paratroopers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team are testing this equipment in the field, giving feedback about how to make it better for the combat teams who need it.

“The best-intended engineer is still going to make mistakes because there’s no way for them to understand conceptually what that environment looks like,” said Capt. Brian Delgado. “So if you don’t engage those guys that are living in it, it just makes it almost impossible to get it right.”

Delgado says the mobile network is designed for soldiers fighting on the ground and away from resources like vehicles and aircraft.

“It has a lot of similar technologies to a cellular network,” Delgado said. “It is definitely taking advantage of a lot of lessons that we’ve learned from the commercial industry and their capacity to push large amounts of data, and how do we apply that to a tactical environment.”

The equipment being tested at Fort Bragg will ultimately make it into combat-ready for use when soldiers need air support, intelligence information, and medical attention.

“We have the ability to pass that forward to things like the medical teams so they know what kind of injury they’re likely to receive, so being able to flatten that information chain while getting that helicopter to that point of injury to get that soldier off the battlefield that much faster is invaluable,” Delgado said. “What this will help is help commanders be able to allocate those assets because they’ll have a greater understanding of the fight and where their soldiers are.”

The Army will be rolling out the Integrated Tactical Network kits to priority units starting next year.

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