New Army Tech Connects Commanders with Deployed Units

Capt. Tawanda Baxter and Flora Marshall, of Army Project Manager Mission Command, demonstrate the Tactical Interface Tracking Application Node at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, on Dec. 4, 2018. (U.S. Army/Dan Lafontaine)
Capt. Tawanda Baxter and Flora Marshall, of Army Project Manager Mission Command, demonstrate the Tactical Interface Tracking Application Node at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, on Dec. 4, 2018. (U.S. Army/Dan Lafontaine)

The U.S. Army is developing new tactical software that will allow commanders to communicate more effectively with forward-deployed combat units.

The Tactical Interface Tracking Application Node, or TITAN, relies on the existing Blue Force Tracking network, a tested, joint battlefield system that allows friendly forces to keep track of each other, according to a recent Army press release.

The new software allows users to log in anywhere in the world with a computer on the Secure Internet Protocol Router Network, using an internet browser, with no downloads necessary. Commanders can use TITAN to communicate with deployed units all over the world, according to the release.

Under the Army's Home Station Mission Command initiative, the service wants to move away from deploying division main elements to theater and deploy smaller, more agile units with fewer logistics requirements.

"This new tool is enabling the Army's Home Station Mission Command initiative," Flora Marshall, product lead for the Mission Command Support Center, said in the release.

"TITAN users can pull up maps, view multiple global locations and color-code their soldiers' locations. It enables chat, messaging, sending attachments, filing situation reports and creating distribution lists. We've created an intuitive user interface and consistent experience using design elements for a familiar look and feel. No formal training is required."

TITAN is providing these capabilities to soldiers who have not yet been fielded Joint Battle Command-Platform, the Army's next-generation, friendly-force tracking system, according to the release.

The Army's pilot program for TITAN began in August and is scheduled to finish in February. The service plans to then develop additional capabilities and determine a release decision, the release states.

So far, soldiers from a handful of combat units such as the 4th Infantry Division have tested the system.

"I can't tell you enough good things about the program," said Maj. Adam Cloninger, the brigade S-6 officer-in-charge, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th ID, who used TITAN during the unit's National Training Center rotation in November.

"The amount of situational awareness it provided was instrumental to our success during this rotation."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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