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SEC provides tools to maintain JNN-N.

Maintaining the Joint Network Node-Network requires continued support from the Software Engineering Center.

Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., the SEC provides a laboratory, staff and a Communications Support Center used for the Post-Deployment Software Support and Post-Production Software Support of the JNN-N.

"The SEC has been involved with and has supported JNN from the very beginning," said Andrew Zovak, PdM JNN-N System Engineering Integrated Product Team Support and Configuration Management Manager.

The Software Engineering Center's PDSS/PPSS staff troubleshoots any issues that come in from the field using its own laboratory and Communications Support Center, and implements feedback from a Software Configuration Control Board.

A SEC laboratory at Fort Monmouth allows for the examination of software issues that are reported from units, said Ekta Parikh, Software Support Lead for Product Manager JNN-N and the SEC. The lab includes a JNN-N shelter and Command Post Nodes, which simulate a field environment.

Technicians can hook up the JNN-N in the lab to a deployed network and see an exact replication of what the user is seeing in the field, Parikh stated.

The lab was also used during the Joint Users Interoperability Communications Exercise 2006 at Fort Monmouth. It will be used to test the Army Battle Command Systems 6.4 suite later this year and is used for testing in conjunction with the Central Test and Support Facility at Fort Hood, Texas. The existence of the lab will also facilitate future participation in JUICE as well as DoD Interoperability Communications Exercise testing.

Another tool used for JNN-N software support is the Communications Support Center. This support center allows users to report issues from the field and gives them the ability to reach back to Project Manager Tactical Radio Communications Systems and SEC headquarters, Parikh said. Through the Communications Support Center, PM TRCS and SEC staff will get an e-mail indicating that a Field Incident Report has been submitted. The staff member can then e-mail a response directly to the user, she said. A FIR repository is also available where users can look at past FIRs and find out if a solution to their problem has already been posted, she said.

"We always make sure that we get back to the user in some way or form," Parikh said.

The Communications Support Center also contains a document management system and a file transfer functionality for large files, which can't be sent through e-mail, she said. Additionally, the center can be used to download urgent releases.

SCCBs are used to manage the different JNN-N releases, Parikh said. This allows the PDSS/PPSS staff to reach out to the Project Manager, SE IPT and all other community members and contractors to ensure their efforts are synchronized, she said.

"Basically, we get everyone on the same page," Parikh said. "We make sure that everyone is OK with any updates we propose and no one is negatively impacted by the changes."

During Configuration Control Board meetings members talk about software issues, commercial-off-the-shelf updates and Information Assurance Vulnerability Alerts, she said.

The team ensures that any maintenance updates made to software baselines are compatible,

Parikh said. It also works to ensure that there are not any integration issues and that separate systems can communicate, she said.

The team also implements the changes which are approved by the Configuration Control Board. Extensive testing is performed with IAVAs to make sure the changes will not break the network. In many cases, an update to one product will not work with a separate version of another product, she said.

"Once we do all of our testing on each software release we have to go through a formal materiel release process," Parikh said.

Through this process, the updates are approved by the commanding general, who must approve each product prior to its fielding. After testing is complete and the approval is received, the software is sent to the units in the field. Contractor Field Service Representatives are presently responsible for loading updates to the server, Parikh said.

If a case comes about where a critical IAVA is released and there is no time for the normal 90-day materiel release process, an emergency release can be provided. In that case, the update is evaluated, tested and it is determined how to get the fix to the field as soon as possible, she said.

"To do that release, we don't have to go through the full materiel release process before sending out the release," she said. "We can inform the command leadership and upon approval, send out the software update urgently."

Josh Davidson of Symbolic Systems, Inc. is a news writer supporting the Program Executive Office, Command, Control, Communications Tactical Chief Information Office in Fort Monmouth, N.J. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism/Professional Writing from the College of New Jersey formerly Trenton State College). He previously worked as a municipal beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer, a daily newspaper owned by Gannett Newspapers Inc. He has also written investigative and feature articles for many other publications.

ACRONYM QUICKSCAN

CTSF--Central Test and Support Facility

CFSR--Contractor Field Service Representatives

DICE--DoD Interoperability Communications Exercise

FIR--Field Incident Report

IAVA--Information Assurance Vulnerability Alert

JNN-N--Joint Network Node-Network

JUICE--Joint Users Interoperability Communications Exercise

NIPR--Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router

PDSS--Post-deployment software support

PM TRCS--Project Manager, Tactical Radio Communications Systems

PPSS--Post-production software support

SEC--Software Engineering Center

SE IPT--System Engineering Integrated Product Team

SIPR--Secure Internet Protocol Router

SCCB--Software Configuration Control Board
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Title Annotation:Software Engineering Center; Joint Network Node-Network
Author:Davidson, Josh
Publication:Army Communicator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2006
Words:901
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