Last year the Air Force added a roll-on communications package—known as Jackpot—to some C-130 airlifters flying over Iraq to aid ground communications from one unit or convoy to another. The Navy also has adapted its E-6B Mercury to augment ground communications. The E-6B—operated and maintained by sailors deployed from Tinker AFB, Okla.—has had its most-sensitive strategic communications gear removed and other radios added that enable its pair of trailing wires to extend radio communication for ground forces. They share duty with the USAF C-130s to provide 24-hour coverage over the battle area. (Read more in SrA. Clark Staehle’s report and another by SSgt. Cassandra Locke.)
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.