"The most important thing I've learned this
last year is that the sooner you get a new capability into the hands of a
soldier out in an operating environment along with the engineer who developed
it the sooner you can stop a dumb idea or advance a really good idea,"
Maj. Gen. Keith Walker, head of Brigade Modernization Command, tells Defense News.
the basic notion behind a push by Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter
Chiarelli to start testing new gadgets and technologies every six months, in
places like New Mexico rather than the battlefields of Afghanistan.
The Defense News reports Chiarelli has sent
an open invitation to the defense industry to send their latest devices to
White Sands, New Mexico, where his service will begin testing them during a
biannual exercise. The first Network Integration Evaluation, as its called,
will be held in June.
isn't limiting his invitation to large defense contractors and programs of
record. Rather, the testing will be more inclusive; the invitation is open to
all comers, and Chiarelli wants smartphones in the mix.
said that he was told smartphones shouldn't be issued to soldiers in the
battlefield because they would break. But once it happened, the opposite proved
true. "I don't have a scientific study but I know TRADOC issued 500
of them but the only one that was ever broken was a major who dropped it on a
marble floor," he told Defense
appear to be on the minds of the U.S. Army lately. Last December, we reported
that the Army was working on a
program to issue a smartphone to every soldier. Widespread battlefield
deployment of that program could occur as soon as this year.