Fort Bliss, White Sands range become hub to test equipment
Soldiers from around nation head to El Paso area to put equipment through real-world test.
FORT BLISS — El Paso’s Fort Bliss is playing a vital role in the Army’s ongoing efforts to keep up with technology and continually modernize itself.
The large-scale Network Integration Evaluation is held twice a year at Fort Bliss, at its surrounding training ranges and at White Sands Missile Range. The NIE, as it’s commonly called, involves thousands of personnel and evaluates radios, computers, batteries, software, antennas and other equipment for possible use in the field.
“It runs the gamut,” said Lt. Col. Andy Morgado, operations officer in charge of planning for the NIE.
The main purpose of the exercise is to put equipment into the hands of real soldiers in realistic warlike scenarios, Morgado said. “We’re now developing future concepts,” he said. “The Army is focusing its time, energy and resources into this, and that’s keeping Fort Bliss relevant as an installation to the Army and the nation.”
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is attached to the Brigade Modernization Command, which is headquartered at Fort Bliss. The Brigade Modernization Command is one of three Army agencies that manage the NIE.
More than 3,000 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade and an additional 1,000 soldiers, civilians and contractors from the rest of the country participated in the most recent exercise, which ended in midNovember.
“We are quickly becoming the hub for testing and evaluating most of the Army’s future combat systems,” said Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commander of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss. “For new equipment and innovation, the future is right here at Fort Bliss and White Sands.”
El Paso Mayor John Cook said that it’s easy to see the impact of this large-scale exercise. It helps protect Fort Bliss against possible closure and makes it attractive for other