How does the U.S. Marine Corps, which is facing multiple challenges in a changing operating environment, repel daily threats? With sound strategies as well as direction, preparation, doctrine and of course innovation, says one Marine Corps official. However, U.S. enemies, who continue to change and create a unique environment, are also armed with technology.
US Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps operations are demanding. Weapons need to be ruggedized and mobile for quick assaults. And high-energy laser weapons such as those the Navy is developing will be large and draw high levels of power. For the Marines to be able to employ these laser weapons, the technologies must be as efficient and as small as possible, says Jeff Tomczak, deputy director of the Science & Technology (S&T) Division at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.
For lasers—and really all weapon systems—in Marine Corps applications, the focus primarily is to make capabilities as light and as expeditionary as possible. Tomczak emphasizes that weapon size matters when warfighters have to get gear ashore.
The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory trained Marines-for the first time ever-using multiple unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) in a convoy. Seven Marines were trained on the Oshkosh Corporation's UGV, which uses the company's TerraMax technology to operate autonomously. TerraMax integrates high-power computers, intelligence, drive-by-wire technology and distributed sensing systems. One operator supervised the control of two vehicles, even in black-out mode during night operations.
U.S. Marine Corps commanders will soon have a new mobile command and control (C2) capability that will be readily transferable from vehicle to vehicle without mounting or installation modifications. This new system is being created primarily from cost-effective, off-the-shelf digital communications equipment. In his article "Corps Command and Control on the Move" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Defense Editor Max Cacas talks to the experts about the project.
By the end of 2012, U.S. Marine Corps aviation experts plan to have the Corps equipped with a common command and control (C2) platform that not only will improve situational awareness and information assurance (IA), but also will ramp up mobility as well. The technology behind this advance is the Marine Corps' Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S), which aims to provide closer coordination of the Marine ground and air C2 centers, allowing more speedy responses to changing battlefield conditions. Technology Editor George I.
SURVICE Engineering Company, Dumfries, Virginia, is being awarded a nearly $12 million task order to provide technical support to the Marine Corps Regional Network Operation Support Centers, Marine Air Ground Task Force Information Technology Support Centers and the Marine Corps Base/Post/Station (garrison) network operations and support sites, and to provide planning, sustainment and transition support during migration of the Marine Corps information technology environment from a contractor-operated to a government-operated domain. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity.
In an era of social media, smart phones and WikiLeaks, information assurance is increasingly critical to the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps. And Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, USMC, chief information technology officer, has his hands full ensuring that information flows smoothly and securely throughout the service. Among the general's ever-growing list of issues to address, one goal remains supreme: achieving a seamless enterprise capability to enhance decision-making and give Marines an advantage over their enemies.
Gen. James F. Amos, USMC, has been nominated as the next commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
With just a pinch of cotton seed, a cup of canola and assorted ingredients, the Marine Corps and other services are stirring up a batch of new recipes to bring home the bacon and go green. Money is only one side of the coin in the toss for biomass fuel alternatives. The flip side is the potential savings in human lives-because for every vehicle running on alternative fuel, the likelihood of full-blown explosion from IEDs can be reduced.
The U.S. Marine Corps finds itself in the unique position of sharing attributes of all the other military services. That has helped the Corps procure technologies in that it can learn from and adapt some systems developed by other services. However, the Corps has its own unique situations and requirements, so it finds itself pursuing Marine-specific solutions to modern challenges. SIGNAL's April issue looks at Marine Corps technologies as the multifaceted service girds for the fog of future combat. Leading off this report is an article on Marine Corps command, control, communications and computers (C4).