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Army Capability Set 13 Fielding Scaled Back

It hasn’t quite become a mantra yet, but in the increasingly dynamic world of U.S. Army transformation and modernization, and especially in the case of Capability Set 13, it has certainly become reality: “The truth has a date/time stamp.”

So it is that some service planners attempt to describe what observers might see as dramatic reversals in some program directions. A case in point involves the Army’s “Capability Set 13” (CS 13) network. As late as October 2012, senior modernization planners were outlining “a glide path” for the fielding of CS 13 to eight brigades during the current fiscal year, beginning with the 3rd and 4th brigades of the 10th Mountain Division.

10th Mt Div soldier CS 13-gear

A soldier from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 10th Mountain Division uses Capability Set (CS) 13 equipment at Fort Drum, N.Y., on Oct. 10. Capability Set 13 systems provide mobile satellite and robust radio capability for commanders and soldiers to take the network with them in vehicles and while dismounted as they conduct security assistance and some combat missions. U.S. Army photo by Claire Heininger

“Today’s truth” shows a different glide path for the CS 13 fielding. Rather than the eight brigades planned for fielding late last year, current projections show CS 13 being fielded to four “deploying” brigades and two division headquarters.

Fielding is being completed for the first two brigades – the 3rd and 4th brigades of the 10th Mountain Division – with the 4th BCT having received warning notification for likely deployment to Afghanistan in a Security Force Advise and Assist Brigade (SFAAB) mission role “in the spring-summer timeframe.” It is believed that the 3rd BCT will follow with a similar mission a month or two later.

Army briefers acknowledge that one of the two division headquarters planned for CS 13 fielding “is already over there,” adding, “We are getting ready to take a look at another division headquarters and two additional brigades out of the 101st. So the next two ‘deploying’ units are 101st Airborne units.”

Earlier plans that had included fielding the CS 13 network equipment to a brigade in Korea have “been pushed” to a future date.

In addition to the “deploying” brigades (4) and division headquarters (2), the Army’s 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, is considered “already fielded with the CS 13 baseline.” The 2/1 AD received its baseline equipment fielding as part of its ongoing participation in the semi-annual Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) events.


Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...