Army Common Operating Environment
U.S. Army Africa communicators Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Gamez (left) and Spc. James Lagerstrom prepare a conference room in the Forward Command Post, or FCP, for a video teleconference. This mobile command post is self-contained and enables worldwide communications capabilities for up to 200 users. Unique communications features allow the FCP to provide vast variety of sophisticated radio, internet and video teleconference capabilities. (CREDIT: Rich Bartell, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs Office)

After years of utilizing unorganized and time-involved mobile command posts, the U.S. Army is changing the way it operates.

According to National Defense Magazine:

To tackle this problem, the Army is in the beginning stages of radically changing the way it acquires, maintains and uses information technology and software. Part of this effort is creating the “common operating environment,” a streamlined and simplified software backbone that every application will ride on, [deputy director for the common operating environment Phillip] Minor said.

The common operating environment will be interoperable, but divided into three categories: mobile handheld for dismounted troops, mounted for vehicles and aircraft and command posts. Each category will have its own program manager.

… For a decade during the two wars, money was no object. If a new application could help save lives, it was purchased and integrated into the command post. Contractors were flown to remote spots to install all the equipment. Soldiers were taken away from their regular duties to sit in classrooms for 40 to 80 hours to learn to operate the new systems, McCaffery said.

“We want to get away from that. We have to get away from that. And the common operating environment is the way to do that,” McCaffery National Defense Magazine.

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