command and control

August 19, 2021
By George I. Seffers
A soldier helps set up a tactical command post to test communications in Germany, July 8, 2019.  Photo by Army Sgt. Patrick Jubrey

The U.S. Defense Department has entered the first phase of delivery on a sweeping capability known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), a once-in-a-generation modernization of the military’s approach to commanding forces.

Department officials aim to deliver a minimal viable product that includes an array of capabilities, such as a fundamental platform, identity control access management, zero-trust cybersecurity and data transport capabilities, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director for command, control, communications and computers/cyber and chief information officer, Joint Staff/J-6. Once the minimal viable product, also known as an MVP, is in place, the department can continue to add capabilities.

June 16, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Devis M/Shutterstock

NATO is increasing the amount of joint work on command and control (C2) systems as a result of increases in common funding, according to the alliance’s secretary general. Jens Stoltenberg told a media roundtable that “We are on the right track” as the allies are stepping up to meet changing challenges. These efforts include developing an offensive cyber capability and establishing a unified approach to China.

August 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Naval Research Lab’s Blossom Point satellite tracking facility is fully automated, reducing manpower and costs. Now, the research lab is extending those capabilities with autonomous antennas in California and Hawaii.   Emanuel Cavalarro

By year’s end, U.S. Navy researchers intend to add one of two remote autonomous antennas to its satellite tracking architecture, enhancing its ability to collect strategic satellite data and support space-related research and development.

The first antenna will be located at a secure, undisclosed and unmanned site in California and will extend the tracking capabilities from Blossom Point, Maryland. The second is planned for Hawaii.

Blossom Point is located south of Washington, D.C., and is owned and operated by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). It is considered a state-of-the-art command and control facility capable of supporting satellite spaceflight missions from launch through end-of-life.

June 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s distributed planning software tool, known as RSPACE, offers some automation to Air Force planners developing air missions. Credit: BAE Systems

Air Force officers in charge of creating air tasking orders have long developed mission plans at air operations centers, known as AOCs, or centralized hubs in a specific command. The Air Force is looking at diversifying and decentralizing how and where those plans are created to add depth and resiliency to the process. This may be needed as designing air battle plans against potential peer threats will only grow in complexity in the future, experts say.

May 8, 2019
 

The Navy selected six companies, all small businesses, to provide command and control (C2) technologies and capabilities in the areas of: innovative science and technology research, systems engineering, architecture, design, development, integration, testing, configuration management, quality assurance, and implementation and support of C2 net-centric military operations. All six awardees will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period, the service said.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, multiple-award contracts with a two-year period with additional option periods were awarded to: 

March 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
The E-6B Mercury has been dubbed the most dangerous aircraft in the world because of its capability to command and control nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. The next-generation Airborne Launch Control System will be capable of launching both Minuteman III and Ground-Based Deterrence System missiles. Credit: Josh Plueger

The next-generation airborne missile control system being developed by the U.S. Air Force will take advantage of modern communications and electronics systems such as software-defined radios to provide a number of capabilities, including improved cybersecurity.

February 7, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, USN, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6), describes the challenges facing Navy information warfare during her keynote luncheon speech at West 2018.

New technologies, capabilities and tactics will be necessary for the U.S. Navy to prevail in the burgeoning arena of information warfare. But while some needs are obvious, the course for the overall way ahead remains elusive.

Explaining the complicated nature of naval information warfare was Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, USN, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6). Speaking at the Wednesday keynote luncheon at West 2018 being held in San Diego February 6-8, Adm. Tighe outlined a series of challenges and potential options, beginning with the state of the realm.

January 31, 2018
By Alberto Dominguez
Fort Leonard Wood is the first Army site to transition to a modernized, Internet protocol-based network. Credit: U.S. Army photo

U.S. Army stakeholders are working together to steadily modernize the network that reaches from the home station to the tactical edge. To understand this effort, one needs to understand the changing mission requirement for the command element at home station to maintain a consistent, secure, and reliable connection with dispersed, tactical teams maneuvering on the battlefield.

January 10, 2018
 
The U.S. Army has kicked off a new effort to modernize expeditionary command posts. Credit: U.S. Army

The U.S. Army intends to improve expeditionary command-post capabilities by providing mobile, scalable and survivable platforms, the service announced. The Army recently authorized the implementation of the Command Post Integrated Infrastructure, or CPI2, effort in December to address mobility issues and to ensure communications hardware and mission-command application integration across platforms.

The Army has established several technological goals, which include:

• Leveraging secure wireless technology for rapid connectivity.

• Improving mobility.

November 6, 2017
By Maj. Aleyzer Mora, USA
The U.S. Army’s Home Station Mission Command Center technology refresh delivers standardized technology, multiple networking components, enhanced audio-visual capabilities and an updated physical infrastructure.

The Home Station Mission Command Center technology refresh, generally called the HSMCC tech refresh, is part of my portfolio for the modernization of command centers under the U.S. Department of the Army’s Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program. In fiscal year 2017, the Army performed an HSMCC tech refresh on four command centers to establish an interim technical baseline while the service finalizes the system requirements, standardizing the disparate, off-the-shelf technology at the division and corps headquarters.

July 18, 2017
 
A Canadian Forces CF-18 fighter intercepts a U.S. Strategic Command B-52 bomber over Canada as part of a coordinated exercise. Northrop Grumman is being awarded a $98 million contract to operate and maintain Strategic Command’s command and control capabilities.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Virginia; and Bellevue, Nebraska, has been awarded a $98,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus incentive-fee contract action for the overall operations and maintenance of command and control capabilities for U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).

May 1, 2017
 

The U.S. Air Force Materiel Command has awarded Raytheon Company a contract with an initial value of up to $375 million over six years to sustain and modernize the Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System (AOC WS), the company announced. Raytheon will update the existing AOC WS baseline software and develop and deploy new software upgrades to improve air and space command and control operations. Air and Space Operations Centers provide a strategic capability for the U.S. Air Force with operators at 22 global locations using the AOC WS to command and control aircraft through all of the Air Force's critical missions.

 

April 6, 2017
 

Northrop Grumman Corp., Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded a $48,061,680 modification (P00144) to contract (W31P4Q-08-C-0418) to provide support to the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) development contract engineering and manufacturing development phase activities; and provide continuity during transition of the IBCS effort. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2017. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $20,000,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

 

March 30, 2017
 

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $33,671,707 modification (P00016) to contract (W31P4Q-15-C-0065) for continued software development, training, maintenance of the Counter-Rocket, Artillery Mortar command and control system. Work will be performed in Redondo Beach, California; and Madison, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2018. Fiscal 2017 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $33,671,707 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

 

February 1, 2017
 

The U.S. Army awarded a $39,000,000 firm fixed price time and material contract to Systematic, Centreville, Virginia, for a command and control and battle-management system that will serve as the common framework to synch mission command functions and data, providing increased collaboration and flexibility.

February 1, 2017
By Cmdr. Jamie Gateau, USN (Ret.)
A U.S. sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer sets up a virtual server administrator account during a training course provided by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR) Command. The command furnishes fleets with fly-away network operations support teams that offer tailored, hands-on information technology and information assurance training to maintain command, control, communications and computers readiness.

U.S. Navy commanders often struggle to deliver uninterrupted communications at sea without the added complications of providing command and control in denied or degraded environments. They face a double whammy of operational and technical hurdles. 

Processes for developing concepts of operations are complex, painstaking and exacting. Although technology sets the boundaries for what is possible, most of the hard work is decidedly nontechnical. It lies in determining which signals and messages have priority, which data sources and destinations are critical, and which ones can be relegated—and for how long.

January 1, 2017
By Henry S. Kenyon
In addition to military uses, the iCommand system offers civilian governments applications for law enforcement, disaster management and transportation authorities.

A software-based fusion tool aims to ease the problem of tactical information overload by collecting and parsing incoming data, sending just the right types of intelligence to users in real time. The system represents this data graphically on a single screen, superimposing it over satellite and 3-D map imagery showing friendly and known enemy unit locations.

November 16, 2016
By George I. Seffers
A panel discusses challenges in cyber domain at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific in Hawaii. Photo by Bob Goodwin

Operating in a relatively new operations domain, cyber fighters are coping with a wide range of challenges, including lack of training and still-to-be-defined policies, doctrines and authorities.

July 28, 2016
 

Oasis Systems LLC, Lexington, Massachusetts, has been awarded an $8,153,576 modification (25) to exercise the option on previously awarded contract FA8721-13-D-0001 0003 for professional acquisition support services. Contractor will provide program management, financial management, administrative and other related support utilizing established government, contractor and industry practices for the Theater Battle Control Division in support of surveillance and command and control capabilities for North American Aerospace Defense; Joint Forces Air Component Commander; Commander, Air Force Forces; and peacetime surveillance and maintaining air sovereignty of U.S. and Canadian airspace.

July 28, 2016
 

Six3 Intelligence Solutions Inc., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $9,578,964 modification (P00001) to contract W564KV-16-C-0058 for intelligence analysis services. Work will be performed in Germany, Italy and Syria, with an estimated completion date of June 29, 2017. Fiscal 2016 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $6,370,000 were obligated at the time of the award. The Army Contracting Command, Kaiserslautern, Germany APO AE, is the contracting activity.

June 30, 2016
 

4 Star Technologies Inc.,* Virginia Beach, Virginia (N65236-16-D-4800); Atlantic Diving Supply Inc.,* Virginia Beach, Virginia (N65236-16-D-4801); Advanced Computer Concepts,* McLean, Virginia (N65236-16-D-4802); Blue Tech Inc.,* San Diego, California (N65236-16-D-4803); CDW Government LLC, Vernon Hills, Illinois (N65236-16-D-4804); CounterTrade Products Inc.,* Arvada, Colorado (N65236-16-D-4805); FCN Inc.,* Rockville, Maryland (N65236-16-D-4806); Global Technology Resources Inc.,* Denver, Colorado (N65236-16-D-4807); iGov Technologies Inc.,* Reston, Virginia (N65236-16-D-4808); M2 Technology Inc.,* San Antonio, Texas (N65236-16-D-4809); Marshall Communications Inc,.* Ashburn, Virginia (N65236-16-D-4810); MicroTechnologies LLC.,* Vienna,

March 30, 2016
 

Readiness Management Support L.C., Panama City, Florida, is being awarded a $16,721,185 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N65236-09-C-6872) for a ceiling increase and period of performance extension of 90 days to June 30, 2016; and three one-month options to September 30, 2016, to provide continued aviation command and control operations and maintenance services in support of the Air Force Central Command.

March 1, 2016
By Rory Welch
Operators staff the East Coast Satellite Operation Center (ESOC) in Northern Virginia. The ESOC flies the majority of Intelsat’s global satellite fleet, which provides mission critical support for the full range of the company’s government and commercial customers.

Growing threats to national security in the space domain have prompted U.S. Air Force leaders to revamp plans and programs to adapt to a new reality of reinforcing system and network resiliency and shifting its people and resources to focus on warfighting functions. Government space capabilities, augmented by commercial systems, will play critical and active roles to secure U.S. and allied interests in and through the increasingly contested domain of space, requiring the Air Force and the Defense Department to proactively plan how to enable more coordinated and integrated space enterprise operations.

January 28, 2016
 

BCF Solutions Inc., Chantilly, Virginia (FA8730-16-D-0004); IGOV Technologies Inc., Reston, Virginia (FA8730-16-D-0007); People Tec Inc., Huntsville, Alabama (FA8730-16-D-0009); Pelatron Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii (FA8730-16-D-0012); Smartronix Inc., Hollywood, Maryland (FA8730-16-D-0013); and BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services Inc., Rockville, Maryland, have been awarded contracts under the Platform for Engineering and Integration of Tactical and Strategic Systems (PEIT

February 23, 2015
 
A Boeing E-4B, an airborne command post, flies over the U.S. Navy Blue Angels F-18s during an air show. The E-4B serves as the National Airborne Operations Center for the president and secretary of defense. In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command control centers, the E-4B provides a survivable, command, control and communications center to direct U.S. forces, execute emergency war orders and coordinate actions by civil authorities.

Boeing Aerospace Operations, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been awarded a $67,338,521 modification (P00211) to previously awarded contract FA8106-07-C-0001 for design and development of an E-4B low-frequency transmit system. The total cumulative face value of the contract, including the referenced modification, is $433,292,284. Contractor will provide engineering services to finalize development and deliver a prototype aircraft kit. Work will be performed at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2016. Fiscal year 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $819,098 are being obligated at the time of award.

January 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

 

Sailors collect and analyze weather observations at the Naval Aviation Forecast Center at Naval Station Norfolk. Information technology provides more valuable information to commanders than ever, but its users face challenges in exploiting it effectively without sacrificing key tenets of command and control.

Some badly needed basics are taking a back seat to electrons.

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The inertial navigation system (INS) market size is estimated to be $2.75 billion in 2014 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.98 percent to reach $4.63 billion by 2019, according to Research and Markets, a Dublin-based market analysis firm. Though North America and Europe have the largest market for INS in terms of commercial and defense aviation, military and naval applications, a lot of INS development programs have been launched in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

May 15, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The late Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski, USN (Ret.), looks over my shoulder as I work in my home office. His picture graced the May 2003 cover of SIGNAL Magazine, highlighting an article Clarence A. Robinson Jr., wrote based on an interview with the admiral. I was lucky enough to escort SIGNAL’s freelance photographer to take the photo of Adm. Cebrowski when he led the charge for change as the director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Force Transformation. I received a cover photo plaque that hangs in my home office for my effort, though it really wasn’t necessary.

August 9, 2013
George I. Seffers

SSB Inc., Fairfax, Va., was awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee, option-filled contract with a maximum value of $8,192,670 for technical support services in the areas of database and web development and maintenance for command and control applications. The Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-13-D-0014).

August 1, 2013
 

The new next-generation dispatch center for the San Luis Obispo County, California, Sheriff’s Office is one of the first in the nation to be completely Internet protocol-based, bridging its existing radio system with the latest smartphone and tablet technology. The new system turns a standard PC into a communications dispatch console and also turns a smartphone into a multi-channel land mobile radio handset for secure, on-demand push-to-talk communication.

May 21, 2013
By Max Cacas

When it comes to the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Environment (JIE), it's best to toss out old thinking about information technology programs.

“The JIE is not a program,” David DeVries, deputy chief information officer for information enterprise, Defense Department, stressed. DeVries oversees the effort to tie together the vast information technology resources of the military, providing crucial information to warfighters “at the point where they need it.”

DeVries delivered the opening keynote address at the AFCEA SOLUTIONS Series-George Mason University Symposium, “Critical Issues in C4I.”

April 10, 2013
George I. Seffers

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Carson, Calif., was awarded a $12,443,001 modification, to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract , for a four-month extension of services in support of Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar Command and Control System. The cumulative total face value of this contract is now $156,052,528. The Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity.

December 10, 2012
George I. Seffers

 
Northrop Grumman Information Systems, Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $49,618,000 cost plus fixed fee, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for information processing for data to decision making in support of the functions and customers of the Air Force Command and Control Integration Center and the 35th Information Squadron. The contracting activity is the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, N.Y.  

November 13, 2012
George I. Seffers

 

August 13, 2012
By George Seffers

Science Application International Corporation, McLean, Virginia, is being awarded a $9,686,538 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order under previously awarded basic ordering agreement for the mine warfare environmental aids and library, which provides the mine warfare commander and mine warfare forces with a single tool for the effective command and control of mine warfare. The order includes options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $13,530,185. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington DC, is the contracting activity.

July 2, 2012
By George Seffers

L-3 Communications Systems, Salt Lake City, Utah, is being awarded a $10,005,050 a firm-fixed-price contract to procure beyond-line-of-sight command and control for long lead common data link items parts and labor. Air Force Materiel Command, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity.

April 18, 2012
By George Seffers

L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded an $85 million firm-fixed-price cost-plus-fixed-fee indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the services in support of the beyond line of sight command and control quick reaction capability. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

March 23, 2012
By Beverly Schaeffer

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.

December 29, 2011
By George Seffers

The Missile Defense Agency is announcing the award of a sole-source, incentive-based, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation, Information Systems and Global Solutions, Gaithersburg, Maryland, with an estimated value of $980 million. Under this follow-on contract, the contractor will develop, model, fabricate, integrate, test, verify, evaluate, validate, document, deliver, field, train, operate, sustain, and support updates and new capabilities to the command and control, battle management and communications element.

December 29, 2011
By George Seffers

DRS Technical Services, Incorporated, Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $6,300,000 time-and-materials contract modification for the engineering and installation support to command and control information technology infrastructure capabilities. Work will be performed in Qatar, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Korea, Germany, Israel and various countries in South America, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 8, 2012. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Illinois, is the contracting activity.

October 7, 2011
By George Seffers

The Boeing Company, Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $13,666,395 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the development, integration and test tasks services in support of non-Command and Control Link 16 functionality. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

April 29, 2011
By George Seffers

Centurum Information Technology Incorporated, Marlton, New Jersey, is being awarded a potential $77 million contract for command and control systems support for new integrated systems/networks. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, South Carolina, is the contracting activity.

February 11, 2011
By George Seffers

ThalesRaytheonSystems Company has been awarded a $5 million contract to demonstrate a Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S) prototype system for the U.S. Marine Corps. ThalesRaytheonSystems will demonstrate its proposed CAC2S system in approximately eight months at Camp Pendleton, California.

January 12, 2011
By George Seffers

SRI International, Menlo Park, California, was awarded a nearly $10 million contract modification to develop software that will provide an enhanced military command and control capability that incorporates system state and operational requirements planning and execution management into a single enhanced capability. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York, is the contracting activity.

November 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific personnel and sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit ONE retrieve an unmanned underwater vehicle deployed to detect mines and improvised explosives in shallow water environments.

As the U.S. Navy modernizes information systems across the fleet, one organization is responsible for researching, developing and fielding the full range of technologies in the Asia-Pacific region, providing complete life cycle development and support for systems, from concept to fielded capability.

October 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
Unmanned air vehicles, such as the Global Hawk, can provide full-motion video and other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data directly special operators equipped with the NG-TacMN.

U.S. Defense Department and interagency special operators are scheduled to begin receiving new tactical mesh networking equipment this month. The kit provides a mobile, ad hoc, self-healing network that offers a full range of situational awareness data, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance feeds, blue force tracking and a voice over Internet protocol capability.

July 16, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab this week wrapped up an Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE) in the jungles of Hawaii, which tested a total of 16 systems including unmanned ground vehicles. The experiment was part of the July 9 -14 Rim of the Pacific exercise and could help determine how future Marine forces will fight and which technologies they will use.

The experiment included Marines aboard Navy ships as well as three company landing teams, a relatively new organization construct for the service. The company landing teams are altered rifle companies and represent a different approach to the Battalion Landing Team.

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army’s current tactical network delivers a wide range of capabilities for warfighters, including unprecedented communications on the move. But the complexity can overwhelm commanders who have countless critical tasks to complete and soldiers’ lives in their hands. Future tactical networks will automate many processes and may be smart enough to advise commanders, similar to JARVIS, Iron Man’s computerized assistant.

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
DARPA’s Advanced Radio Frequency Mapping (RadioMap) program seeks to provide real-time awareness of radio spectrum use across frequency, geography and time.

U.S. Defense Department officials intend to complete a departmentwide spectrum strategy road map this month, which will make more frequencies available to warfighters, provide greater flexibility—especially for international operations—and ultimately allow warfighters to conduct their missions more effectively. At the same time, however, some are suggesting a nationwide strategy to allow for more innovative and effective spectrum management and sharing across government and industry.