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Next stage of Network Enabled Army programme to begin

Next stage of Network Enabled Army programme to begin

Defence Minister Ron Mark has today announced Tranche Two of the Network Enabled Army programme has been approved and will commence this year.

“The Network Enabled Army project is transforming our Army,” says Ron Mark. “It gives our men and women in uniform the tools they need to function in today’s dynamic and fast moving environment. We no longer will have an analogue Army operating in a digital world.

“The programme equips the Army with a wide range of hardware and software; this includes radios and satellite terminals, through to command posts and power generators. It will provide the modern secure digital services the Army needs to get the job done, in remote locations and austere environments.

“This will allow better command and control on operations, maximising our resources in order to achieve more.

“It obviously has applications on a battlefield, but it also will provide a fantastic resource on Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations, enhancing better decision making so commanders can best allocate resources and get real time information on the support that’s required on the ground,” says Ron Mark.

Tranche One of the programme commenced in 2015 and is being successfully implemented. Tranche Two expands the capabilities to more units and personnel, and enhances capabilities through new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

“Network Enabled Army has been tested, integrated, and been subject to robust experimentation. We have deployed Network Enabled Army systems on exercises with our partners, and we know it is interoperable. We have already used it in support of disaster relief missions in the Pacific.

Tranche Two represents a capital investment of up to $106 million and will be rolled out over the next four years. This investment is from within NZDF baseline funding.

“Tranche Two provides more capabilities to more people, as part of a progressive development of our network capabilities, incorporating new technology as it becomes available. Network Enabled Army is the most important Army capability outlined in the Defence Capability Plan 2019.

“Cabinet’s approval of Tranche Two reinforces the Coalition Government’s continuing commitment to the men and women of the Defence Force, helping them respond on our behalf quickly, effectively and safely whatever the situation,” says Ron Mark.

What does NEA do?
NEA is a programme of transformational change to digitise the NZ Army.
NEA supports individual soldiers:
• Allows them to communicate with each other and with commanders
• Can receive information and orders
• Knows where their colleagues are
• Friendly forces know where they are (blue force tracking – vital for safety)
• Is given relevant information about what is around them (potential enemies, neutrals, threats, terrain features)
NEA supports Defence Commanders:
• Provides the overall picture of the operational zone
• Knows where their troops, supplies and equipment are
• Knows where threats, neutrals, difficult terrain etc is
• Can sort information to ensure that individual personnel know what they need to know (not swamped with too much information)
• Can quickly issue orders
• Can react to a changing situation
• Can advise and coordinate with partners
• Can communicate with higher command levels
• Communicates resupply requirements i.e. food, water, ammunition etc.
These tasks are the essence of military command, control and communication. Before NEA, they were done using manual methods. NEA uses electronic tools to do these things in real time so that they can be quickly sorted and shared.
What does NEA Tranche Two achieve?
• Tranche Two extends NEA across a Light Task Group of 250 personnel (including logistics, medical, engineering and other support elements). A Light Task Group is our basic deployable force. It combines small units and personnel together according to the needs of the mission.
• It expands the capability to include intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance sensors and systems that will help commanders and personnel see beyond their immediate vicinity, and feed that information into a common picture for everyone.

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