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Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T)

The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) emerged as Joint Network Node (JNN) in the first decade of the 21st century, when the US plunged into numerous invasions that we now know as the War on Terror mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan. After a restructuring in 2007, the program was divided into four increments. By 2017, the US Army relied mostly on Increment 1 technology even though Increment 2 underwent tests in 2012. Increments 3 and 4 were substantially restructere and re-named. The program had cost the US $6 billion.

WIN-T was Army XXI's tactical telecommunications system consisting of communication infrastructure and network components from the maneuver battalion to the theater rear boundary. The WIN-T network was intended to provide command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) support capabilities that are mobile, secure, survivable, seamless, and capable of supporting multimedia tactical information systems within the warfighters' battlespace. WIN-T would enable them to plan, prepare, and execute multiple missions and tasks simultaneously.

WIN-T would ensure quality of information to commanders and staffs spanning every echelon, Theater through Unit of Action (UA), using information dissemination management, and data integrity commensurate to the users' needs. As such, WIN-T would mandate standards and protocols for all OF applications and network hosts to provide the most efficient and responsive movement of information.

Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) was designed as a communications system for reliable, secure, and seamless video, data, imagery, and voice services for the US Army that would enable decisive combat actions. It was focused on moving information in a manner that supports commanders, staffs, functional units, and capabilities-based formations - all mobile, agile, lethal, sustainable, and deployable. It would be optimized for offensive and joint operations so that the theater combatant commander could have the capability to perform multiple missions simultaneously with campaign quality. WIN-T information services would help achieve information superiority by providing the necessary communications capabilities to support situational awareness, collaborative planning, dominant maneuver, precision engagement and focused logistics as required by Joint Vision 2010 and Army Vision 2010.

WIN-T established an environment in which commanders all echelons would have the ability to operate with virtual staffs and analytical centers that were located at remote locations throughout the battlespace. As a key system supporting the Army's Current and Future Force, WIN-T met the pressing need for efficient battlefield bandwidth utilization, optimal data throughput, on-the-move critical information exchange, and rapid infrastructure modernization. WIN-T would operate as the principal means to frame the tactical infosphere that encompasses the Modular Force's areas of influence. The tactical infosphere would operate while mobile via its robust networking, and be able to pass relevant information for system of systems combined arms capabilities in all terrain and under all environmental conditions.

Future Combat Systems (FCS), the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), satellite terminals and other Department of Defense (DoD) Command, Control, Communications & Computers, Intelligence (C4I) programs all relied on WIN-T for seamless integration into the DoD Global Information Grid (GIG). WIN-T was optimized for offensive and joint operations, while providing the Theater Combatant the capability to plan, prepare, and execute multiple missions and tasks simultaneously with campaign quality utilizing a mobile throughput feature. It would be a framework conforming to established standards and protocols for the network while interfacing with and/or replacing equipment in current forces.

The WIN-T outmoded the existing Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) and Tri-Services Tactical Communications (TRI-TAC) capabilities. It also built upon functionality provided by Joint Network Node (JNN), remaining elements of which that existed as of January 2007 being incorporated into the WIN-T program. Existing tactical networks could not be effectively or efficiently modified to satisfy new operational requirements. A new high-speed communications materiel solution, in combination with Future Combat System (FCS), JTRS and other supporting programs, was needed to satisfy Objective Force Warfighter requirements. WIN-T replaced existing Cold War-era communications architecture with the tactical Global Information Grid (GIG) infrastructure necessary to support the Objective Force (subsequently Future Force). It would provide tactical communications down to the UA. In addition, the future battlefield would require communications networks and systems to operate effectively in an information centric warfare environment with Information Warfare (IW) protection mechanisms.

WIN-T would support unit task organization and real-time reorganization of battlefield support elements. This ability was expected to be a vital enabler for Army 2010 and Beyond operational concepts. The WIN-T network allowed all Army commanders, and other communications network users, at all echelons, to exchange information internal and external to the theater, from wired or wireless telephones, computers (internet like capability) or from video terminals.

Product Manager Satellite Communications (PdM SATCOM) rapidly designs, acquires, fields and supports fully integrated, easy to operate and cost effective tactical SATCOM and services that meet Joint network communications requirements around the world. As part of the Armys holistic One Tactical Network, most of these terminals transmit voice, video and data over the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) backbone.

In mid-2016 Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley ordered one-year review of various tactical networks not just WIN-T ordered by. According to Breaking Defense, Milley believed that while WIN-T worked in the low-tech "static" battlefield of Iraq and Afghanistan, for which it was initially developed, the system would become a liability in case of all-out war with China or Russia. Milley said WIN-T is far too susceptible to jamming, and the fact that WIN-T takes about 40-50 hours on average to get set up and running, doesn't work in the system's favor.




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