The Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) network allows the FCS Family-of-Systems (FoS) to operate as a cohesive system-of-systems where the whole of its capabilities is greater than the sum of its parts. As the key to the Army's transformation, the network, and its logistics and Embedded Training (ET) systems, enable the Future Force to employ revolutionary operational and organizational concepts. The network enables Soldiers to perceive, comprehend, shape, and dominate the future battlefield at unprecedented levels as defined by the FCS Operational Requirements Document (ORD).

The FCS network consists of four overarching building blocks: System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE); Battle Command (BC) software; communications and computers (CC); and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) systems. The four building blocks synergistically interact enabling the Future Force to see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively.

System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE) Central to FCS network implementation is the System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE), which supports multiple mission-critical applications independently and simultaneously. It is configurable so that any specific instantiation can incorporate only the components that are needed for that instantiation. SOSCOE enables straightforward integration of separate software packages, independent of their location, connectivity mechanism and the technology used to develop them.

System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE) architecture uses commercial off-the-shelf hardware and a Joint Tactical Architecture-Army compliant operating environment to produce a nonproprietary, standards-based component architecture for real-time, near-real-time, and non-real-time applications. System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE) also contains administrative applications that provide capabilities including login service, startup, logoff, erase, memory zeroize, alert/emergency restart and monitoring/control. The System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE) framework allows for integration of critical interoperability services that translate Army, Joint, and coalition formats to native, internal FCS message formats using a common format translation service. Because all interoperability services use these common translation services, new external formats will have minimal impact on the FCS software baseline. The FCS software is supported by application-specific interoperability services that act as proxy agents for each Joint and Army system. Battle Command (BC) can access these interoperability services through application program interfaces that provide isolation between the domain applications, thereby facilitating ease of software modifications and upgrades.

Battle Command (BC) Software

Battle Command (BC) mission applications include: mission planning and preparation, situation understanding, BC and mission execution and warfighter-machine interface (WMI). These four software packages' combined capabilities enable full interaction among the FCS-equipped Units of Action (UAs). Battle Command (BC) capabilities will be common to, and tightly integrated into, all FCS, and will share a common framework to achieve the long-desired goal of an integrated and interoperable system with no hardware, software or information stovepipes.

The Mission Planning and Preparation package consists of 16 services embedded within System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE). They support the development of deliberate, anticipatory and rapid-response plans; the ability to perform plan assessments and evaluations; terrain analysis; mission rehearsals; and after-action reviews for the Modular Force. As an example of the capabilities provided by this package, consider the FCS-networked fires key performance parameter (KPP). This package's predictive planning capabilities pre-approve airspace for weapons/munitions to target pairings so that when the decision to engage a target is made, the available weapons/munitions are already understood.

The 10 Situation Understanding package's services allow warfighters to better comprehend the battlespace and gain information superiority. The package includes map information and situational awareness (SA) database maintenance, which performs fusion as follows: Situation refinement that fuses spatial and temporal relationships among objects, grouping objects and abstract interpretation of the patterns in the order of battle. Threat refinement that combines activity with capability of enemy forces, infers enemy intentions and performs threat assessment. Process refinement that monitors the fusion process itself, assesses the accuracy of the fusion process and regulates the acquisition of data to achieve optimal results.

The Battle Command (BC) and Mission Execution package contains planning and decision aids that assist the commander in making quick, informed and accurate decisions to best prosecute the battle. These services are fully independent of mode -- training, rehearsal or operational -- and are intended to support manual to autonomous operations.

The warfighter-machine interface (WMI) package provides the capabilities to present Soldier information and receive Soldier information. WMI provides a common user interface across multiple platforms supporting the common crew station and "personal digital assistant" display system. It considers parameters such as echelon, type of system being used, and the warfighter's role to tailor information presentation.

Communications and Computers (CC) Systems

The FCS Family-of-Systems (FoS) are connected to the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) network by a multilayered Communications and Computers (CC) network with unprecedented range, capacity and dependability. The Communications and Computers (CC) network provides secure, reliable access to information sources over extended distances and complex terrain. The network will support advanced functionalities such as integrated network management, information assurance and information dissemination management to ensure dissemination of critical information among sensors, processors and warfighters both within, and external to the FCS-equipped organization.

The Communications and Computers (CC) network does not rely on a large and separate infrastructure because it is primarily embedded in the mobile platforms and moves with the combat formations. This enables the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) network to provide superior Battle Command (BC) on the move to achieve offensive-oriented, high-tempo operations.

The FCS communication network is comprised of several homogenous communication systems such as Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Clusters 1 and 5 with Wideband Network Waveform (WNW) and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), Network Data Link and Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T). FCS leverages all available resources to provide a robust, survivable, scalable and reliable heterogeneous communications network that seamlessly integrates ground, nearground, airborne and space-borne assets for constant connectivity and layered redundancy.

Every FCS vehicle in the Modular Force will be equipped with a 4- or 8-channel Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Cluster 1. Soldiers and other weight and power-constrained platforms will be equipped with a 1- or 2-channel Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Cluster 5. In addition to the Wideband Network Waveform (WNW) and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) communications backbone, the software programmable Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) will support other waveforms to ensure current force Joint, Interagency and Multinational (JIM) interoperability. The WIN-T will provide additional communications capability within the Modular Force, as well as reach to echelons above -- intra- and inter-Modular Force, and UA to Unit of Employment (UE) --and range extension.

The FCS Network Management System manages the entire Modular Force network including radios with different waveforms, platform routers, and local area networks (LANs), information assurance elements, and hosts. It provides a full spectrum of management capabilities required during all mission phases, including pre-mission planning, rapid network configuration upon deployment in the area of operations, monitoring the network during mission execution and dynamic adaptation of network policies in response to network performance and failure conditions.

FCS will employ an integrated computer system to host the System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE), ensure common processing, support networking and employ consistent data storage/retrieval across all FCS platforms and applications. The integrated computer system consists of processors, storage media, dynamic memory, input/output devices, local area networks (LANs) and operating systems. A suite of seven computing system types have been identified to meet the various FCS platform-specific requirements for security, processing capability, computational capacity, throughput, memory, size, weight and power.

Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (ISR)

A distributed and networked array of multispectral intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) sensors provides FCS with the ability to "see first." Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (ISR) assets within the Modular Force -- as well as those external to the Modular Force and at higher echelons -- will provide timely and accurate situational awareness (SA), enhance survivability by avoiding enemy fires, enable precision networked fires, and maintain contact throughout engagement. FCS will process real-time ISR data, outputs from survivability systems, situational awareness (SA) data and target identification information to update the common operating picture (COP) containing information on friendly forces, battlespace objects (BSOs), BSO groupings and their associated intent, threat potential and vulnerabilities. The real-time distribution and dissemination of information and data are reliant on robust, reliable, and high-capacity network data links.

To provide warfighters with actionable information, the data from the various distributed intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) and other sensor assets are subject to complex data processing, filtering, correlation, aided target recognition and fusion. The Sensor Data Management (SDM) software organizes all the sensor data -- including detection reports -- and tracks information as received from the sensor packages. Data are then processed and fused to synthesize information about the object, situation, threat and ongoing intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) processes. In addition to receiving data from FCS organic sensors, Sensor Data Management (SDM) has the capability to receive sensor data from nonorganic sources including, current forces and Joint, Interagency, and Multinational (JIM). Sensor Data Management (SDM) will perform sensor data format conversions to output the data in FCS standard data formats.

Networked Logistics Systems

The key to the success of the FCS is the Networked Logistics Systems integrated through the Family-of-Systems (FOS) to achieve the logistics goals of reducing the logistics footprint, enhancing deployability, increasing operational availability, and reducing total ownership costs. These critical program goals are included in the two logistics Key Performance Parameters (KPP), KPP 4 (Transportability/Deployability) and KPP 5 (Sustainability/Reliability). Inherent to meeting these KPPs is the integration of logistics in the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) network primarily through the Platform-Soldier Mission Readiness System (PSMRS) and the Logistics Decision Support System (LDSS). These systems provide unprecedented logistics information and decision tools to the commanders and logisticians by enabling the distribution system to deliver the right stuff to the right place at the right time. The networked logistics is further enabled by the demand reduction technologies designed into the System of Systems. Increased Reliability Availability Maintainability - Test (RAM-T) goals and implementing a Performance Based Logistics (PBL) support concept through extensive up front systems engineering efforts will result in increased Operational Availability and significant decreases in both parts and maintenance personnel while generating increased combat power for the Soldiers.

Embedded Training

The FCS network facilitates the Soldier's ability to train anywhere, any time. Technology has matured to a level that supports these requirements. Embedded Training (ET) will be developed as an integral part of the FCS manned platform and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) architectures.

The Embedded Live-Virtual-Constructive (L-V-C) Training is the cornerstone of the networked Embedded Training (ET) and will satisfy the Key Performance Parameter (KPP#6) which states "The FCS Family of Systems (FoS) must have an embedded individual and collective training capability that supports live, virtual, and constructive training environments." Embedded Training (ET) must be designed-in at the start of the program to ensure it is developed in conjunction with the other FCS System of Systems (SoS) components. To do otherwise would lead to needless duplication of software development, potential negative training as a result of inevitable baseline divergence (as training tries to keep pace with operational software functionality) and additional space/weight/power claims for training. To fulfill the Operational and Organizational (O&O) concepts, the System of Systems (SoS) must be capable of supporting operations, mission rehearsal and training of separate audiences (soldiers, units, leader/staff teams) simultaneously.

The Family of Systems

  • FCS soldier: the main element of the future Brigade Combat Team


  • FCS
  • FCS: C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillence & reconnaissance ) Conference
  • FCS: Modeling and Simulations Conference
  • FCS: Origin and Operational Concept
  • FCS and DARPA Supporting Technologies
  • FCS Overview
Public domain - US Government - Unclassified - accessed on May 29, 2007

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