How important are high-tech gadgets and networking for the U.S. Army combat troops?

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Ordinary people like us may find it hard to imagine life without the Internet, smartphones, and Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices. But for U.S. Army troops deployed in Afghanistan with only the most basic form of communication while patrolling the country’s remote valleys, would it make any difference if their radio communication equipment could transmit to soldiers beyond and outside their line of sight? The answer is yes.

Ten Years Of Hard Work
For ten years, a U.S. Army engineer stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and working for the Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) of the US Army, Patrick DeGroodt, together with his colleagues had been working hard to improve communications in the battlefield for the American combat troops.

Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T)
Resulting from years of hard work is WIN-T or Warfighter Information Network-Technical, a program designed for a secure mobile communications system that would allow soldiers to:

  • make phone calls
  • send videos and photos through email
  • use military apps or computer programs right from the Humvee as they drive down a dirt road halfway across the world

WIN-T In Combat Environment
WIN-T is the U.S. Army’s response to new strategic priorities for regional engagement, readiness, responsiveness, and ongoing advances in the Army’s network backbone for tactical mobile communications. WIN-T is helping the Army to become more adaptable, mobile, and modular, even in the middle of a combat zone.

Secure And Reliable Communications Capabilities
Military operations in the future will require highly-reliable and secure communication capabilities that can be quickly deployed at any time, and anywhere in the world. It will provide support to the U.S. Army’s tactical services and communications equipment.

More Efficient Exchange Of Information Between Command Post And Battlefield
First deployed in war zones in 2012, WIN-T allowed combat soldiers to maintain constant communication with supervisors at their command post. The system also allowed combat troops to contact other troops in the field and call for help if they suffered injuries or got caught in gunfire.

Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Award
WIN-T is DeGroodt’s important contribution for improved battlefield communications which earned him a nomination as a finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal. This is an annual award given to honor excellence among federal workers.

DeGroodt is a finalist in the international affairs and national security affairs category. The chosen winner will receive the award in September. DeGroodt was nominated for the work he had done which had a tremendous impact on Army Communications. DeGroodt has never stopped looking for ways to improve existing technologies.

Disconnected Troops On Remote Areas
Prior to the development of WIN-T, soldiers were basically disconnected while they patrol the remote areas. And such is a scary situation both for the leader and the troops. DeGroodt had WIN-T customized for tanks, Stryker vehicles, and Humvees. WIN-T utilizes satellite technology that enables secure Internet and voice use. Mounted in Humvees, tanks, or an armored Stryker vehicle it includes keyboards and heavy-duty flats screen monitors. Helmet-friendly, heavy-duty military headsets allow voice communications on the move.

What U.S. Army Troops Can Do Using WIN-T
With WIN-T, troops are able to receive orders from their commanders over the phone. They are also able to view the video captured by drones or UAVs. They can also take a video while driving and send it back to their command post in real-time, without delay.

WIN-T-Equipped Armored Vehicles Deployed Across The Globe
DeGroodt’s WIN-T has been installed in thousands of military armored vehicles deployed to Army brigades across the globe. And even with the numerous functions performed by WIN-T, DeGroodt and his team continue to test the system for upgrades and improvements, at Fort Bliss in Texas, and at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. And for all that WIN-T has accomplished so far, DeGroodt couldn’t be happier.

Is there anyone more deserving than DeGroodt for this award?

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2 thoughts on “Honoring The U.S. Army Engineer For Developing WIN-T”

  1. Wait a minute. I just assumed that the military troops were using satellite phones, which can call anywhere from just about anywhere. This article suggest that the troops are using CB radio or Waki-Talki’s which have a limit on their range. If that is indeed a fact, then I would say that having internet connectivity is vital and a much needed communications tool. I’m willing to bet that this network is good news to many military people.

  2. Smart phones, tablets, high-speed wireless networks and other sophisticated communications technologies are rapidly changing the way people access, use and exchange information. The military is embracing the communications revolution, turning to a new generation of sophisticated systems to enable faster, richer, less costly and more flexible communications. Aren’t they a bit late with this one? As communication options multiply, so does the problem of getting disparate technologies to work together efficiently and securely. Communications integration is now one of the top challenges facing military technology leaders

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