US Army to field DIRECT tool suite
The US Army is readying to field its new Disaster Incident Response Emergency Communications Terminal (DIRECT) tool suite to all US states and territories with a National Guard presence.
The new network communications tool suite will enable the Army National Guard to provide first responders with network and phone communications in emergencies, even when local infrastructure has been destroyed. Fielding completion is projected for 2021.
DIRECT securely leverages the national guard's organic Warfighter Information Network-Tactical network equipment to enable service members to provide emergency responders with commercial phone, internet access, commercial wireless and 4G LTE, during domestic natural disasters, emergencies and civil support operations.
The system can also connect radios operating on different frequencies, enabling interconnection between cell phones, internet telephones, and military and first responder radios for seamless collaboration. In addition to providing interagency communications throughout an incident site, DIRECT also gives WIN-T reach-back capabilities. The US Army is also working to ensure that DIRECT is compatible with FirstNET, the nation-wide first responder broadband network.
DIRECT is set to replace the US Army National Guard's legacy Joint Incident Site Communication Capability (JISCC.) Although JISCC assisted first responder communications, it did not enable the military and first responders to communicate directly over the army's WIN-T satellite based network.
Wherever possible, the system will be fielded simultaneously with scheduled WIN-T Increment 1 technical refresh upgrades. This fielding schedule will take advantage of facilities and resources already in use, and it is expected to minimise unit disruption and increase efficiencies in time and cost.
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