Marine Corps Technologies

June 10, 2018
 

FAAC Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, is being awarded a $17,720,486 firm-fixed-price, hybrid supply-and-services contract for the Combat Convoy Simulator (CCS). The mission of the CCS virtual trainer is to train small unit personnel, vehicle operators, and convoy commanders on immediate action execution in a combat environment while incorporating Marine Corps training standards and doctrine.

April 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
The U.S. Marine Corps is developing a private cloud computing environment to provide better information services to the tactical edge. Here, communicators set up a Support Wide Area Network System during a training exercise.

As they put the necessary pieces in place, Marines are mindful of tight resources and are seeking help from industry.

For the past year, U.S. Marine Corps technical personnel have been implementing a strategy to develop a private cloud. The initiative supports the vision of the commandant while seeking to offer better services to troops in disadvantaged areas of the battlefield.

May 22, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Just as the U.S. Navy initially resisted the transition from sail to steam-powered ships and elements of the Army dismissed air power and fought against the shift from horses to tanks, some parts of the military continue to resist the expansion of uninhabited systems into traditional combat roles. As a result, the U.S. Defense Department is failing to invest in game-changing technology that could increase efficiencies and save lives, according to a just-released report from the Center for a New American Security.

April 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy has successfully demonstrated the Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System (AACUS), which allows current, full-size helicopters to be remotely controlled by a tablet device. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, USN, chief of naval research, recently revealed that two young Marines at Quantico, Virginia, were able to land a full-size helicopter autonomously on an unprepared landing site with just one touch on a mini-tablet.

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Storming ashore from the sea is becoming increasingly difficult for the U.S. Marine Corps as it faces new missions on the heels of personnel cuts. The nature of Marine assault from the sea is changing, and its aging fleet of amphibious ships are losing their effectiveness both chronologically and evolutionarily.

New technologies and capabilities may be necessary to address both challenges. Gen. James F. Amos, USMC, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, told the audience at the West 2014 Thursday luncheon town hall in San Diego that the Corps needs connecting vessels to bring its force from the sea to the shore quickly and effectively.

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Marine Corps is considering a new relationship with special operations forces as it faces a personnel drawdown, said a Marine Expeditionary Force commander. Lt. Gen. John Toolan, USMC, commanding general of the I Marine Expeditionary Force, told a Wednesday panel audience at West 2014 in San Diego that the Corps is looking harder at how it integrates with special operations forces.

Gen. Toolan stated that the Corps has special operations force elements that tie into Marine forces directly when the Corps deploys. The next deployment of the 11 Marine Expeditionary Unit will feature these new ties, he said.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Military and civilian pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II praise its performance and are optimistic about its superiority in the future battlespace. However, even with fixes that have been made, some issues need to be addressed and support crew will need to adopt new ways of maintaining the flight line, these pilots say.

September 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
Fully packed, the device, measuring slightly larger than a carry-on piece of luggage, weighs 55 pounds and is easily transported.

A new mobile operations fusion kit that provides easy, rapid and on-the-go interoperability for mobile field operations and communications piqued the interest recently of the U.S. Marine Corps’ research and development community. It was impressed by the technology that proved successful in interoperability testing in June. Known as Operations Fusion Kit 2.0, the unit is a multimedia communications system bundled into a compact, lightweight, waterproof, ruggedized Pelican carrying case that enables secure voice, full-motion video and information sharing on a global, real-time basis.

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.

May 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
A  U.S. Navy sailor monitors communications aboard an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The Defense Department’s JIE builds on communications and networking advances within the individual services.

The Defense Department drive toward its Joint Information Environment is picking up speed as it progresses toward its goal of assimilating military networks across the warfighting realm. Individual services are developing solutions, some of which are targeted for their own requirements, that are being applied to the overarching goal of linking the entire defense environment.

Early successes in Europe have advanced Joint Information Environment (JIE) efforts elsewhere, including the continental United States. Some activities have been accelerated as a result of lessons learned, and they have been implemented ahead of schedule in regions not slated to receive them for months or even years.

April 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
The sensor data subsystem of the Common Aviation Command and Control System, which is being evaluated and tested by MCTSSA personnel, will fuse sensor input from a variety of sensors and weapon systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles and the F35B Joint Strike Fighter.

A tactical technology support organization that has been serving the U.S. Marines for decades is beginning to find a role in the cyber domain. The group offers a broad range of services, including test and evaluation, engineering and network integration. It also supports users across the Defense Department, U.S. government and allies.

April 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The rise of new global flashpoints along with a strategic rebalancing are presenting the U.S. Navy with a new set of challenges and obligations concurrent with significant force reductions. The sum of the budget cuts would be enough to tax the service under any circumstances, but they are being implemented against a backdrop of a broader mission set and increased activities by potential foes.

April 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
The U.S. Marine Corps is testing security options that will enable personally owned corporate enabled devices for use by personnel.

U.S. Marines are testing novel solutions to provide the necessary security and legal safeguards that will allow commercial, personally owned devices on their networks. If successful, the service could recognize a substantial monetary savings in mobile phone expenses and open the door to future cost decreases in other areas.

The government’s overall mobile strategy should reduce total ownership costs in the mobile space. The Marine Corps alone could save $3 million a year by changing the way it executes mobility in garrison. Those command operations and maintenance dollars then could be funneled to other needs such as training, fuel, ammunition or batteries.

April 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
The Tactical Signals Intelligence Collection System helps boots on the ground by giving units more flexibility with their communications while conserving increasingly constrained resources.

The U.S. Marine Corps has combined two signals intelligence programs as part of its efforts to drive efficiency and enhance expeditionary operations. Streamlining activities for manpackable and vehicle-borne versions of similar capabilities increases both flexibility and redundancy in the field for the users.

April 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory works with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node program, which seeks to develop an unmanned aircraft capable of launching from a small ship.

To address a changing mission amid broader challenges, the U.S. Marines are implementing the service’s future warfighting strategy this year through training, war gaming and experimentation. The strategy calls for forces to be dispersed over wide areas and will require technologies that enhance warfighters’ effectiveness over greater distances.

February 14, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
(r-l) Capt. Dale Rielage, USN; Capt. Stuart Belt, USN; Capt. David A. Adams, USN; Capt. James Fanell, USN; Dr. James R. Holmes; and panel moderator Rear Adm. James G. Foggo III, USN, exchange views in a panel titled “What About China?”

West 2014 Online Show Daily, Day 3

Quote of the Day:

“We have global responsibilities. We will not be able to do less with less. We will do the same with less.”—Gen. James F. Amos, USMC, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

February 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Navy officer communicates with the USS George Washington to coordinate airlift operations during Operation Damayan, the relief effort following the devastating Philippine typhoon in November 2013. Prepositioned equipment and early entry communications gear proved invaluable to rapid disaster relief in the stricken area.

The success of Operation Damayan, the massive Philippines typhoon relief effort by the U.S. Pacific Command, owes as much to preparation as to execution, according to a U.S. official involved in the operation. Military communications equipment designed for easy entry and quick activation provided essential networking capabilities. Longtime multinational and bilateral exercises laid the groundwork for interoperability, both technological and organizational, between U.S. and Philippine armed forces. Commercial technologies, such as local cell systems that survived the storm, proved invaluable for onsite communications. And, U.S.

December 20, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

A set of rapid entry communications systems formed the core of networking assets for U.S. military forces providing humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations in the Philippines in the wake of the devastating November typhoon. These systems provided scalable links that allowed U.S. forces to interoperate with the Philippine government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in sharing unclassified information.

August 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

 

The U.S. Navy’s Next-Generation Enterprise Network will introduce a host of new capabilities for users when it is implemented. These improvements will become apparent over time as the system’s flexibility allows for technology upgrades and operational innovation on the part of its users.

The network’s overall goals remain the same despite a protest over the contract award. However the protest is resolved, the program is designed to provide networking at less cost and with more flexibility to adjust for changes that emerge as a result of operational demand or technology improvements. These new capabilities could range from greater use of mobile technologies to virtual desktops dominating user environments.

August 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
Marine Corps communications operators link with their counterparts during an exercise. A major part of the Corps transition to NGEN involved seeking input from warfighters, officials say.

 

The steady march toward the U.S. Navy’s Next-Generation Enterprise Network underwent a leap ahead as the U.S. Marines undertook a full transition before the contract for the new system even was awarded. The multiyear effort saw the Corps methodically absorb functions of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet predecessor so the service was positioned for a smooth adoption of the new network.

June 27, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

 

The U.S. Navy has awarded the $3.45 billion Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract to replace the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) to a consortium headed by HP. Other team members include AT&T Government Solutions; IBM Global Business Services Federal; Lockheed Martin Services; and Northrop Grumman Services.

The ability to incorporate innovative technologies is a key element of the contract, according to Victor S. Gavin, program executive officer for Navy enterprise information systems. The government will have a much greater opportunity to transition to more innovative technologies—at cost—as they come into being, he says.

June 12, 2013
By Rita Boland

Cyberwarfare is a primary concern for the U.S. Marine Corps as it continues its rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region. With the growing involvement of cyber in every operation along with specific concerns of virtual attacks from large nations in the region, emphasis on the new domain is becoming increasingly important.

May 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officials describe the K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter as having met or exceeded requirements in Afghanistan, but they also report that the Marines have not yet developed requirements for the system to become a program of record and say they are unsure what effect sequestration will have on the system.

April 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Declining defense funds and the rise of China may hinder strategic rebalancing efforts.

Whatever the threat; wherever the conflict; whatever the mission; the future U.S. military largely will be defined by forced budget constraints. The ongoing fiscal crisis, haunted by the twin specters of sequestration and continuing resolution, will have a greater say in shaping the future force than either adversaries or advances in weapon technologies.

April 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
A radio operator for Combat Logistics Battalion-31, 31st Expeditionary Unit (MEU) communicates with the command element during a mass casualty evacuation exercise in Japan.

Looking past the alligators close to the boat, scientists prepare for the wars of tomorrow.

Distributed operations are the future of the U.S. Marine Corps, and its premier science and technology organization is laser focused on the capabilities to make such missions a success. Enabling communications for mobile troops across long distances is a priority as battles continue in Afghanistan while the focus shifts toward more maritime environments. Success will give lower echelons better access to command and control, enhancing the fight in any theater.

April 1, 2013
By Max Cacas
MARSOC Marines, above, prepare to board CH-47 Chinook helicopters as part of a two-day presence patrol with Afghan Commandos in Farah province.

After a special operations deployment, handling state-of-the-art communications technology tops the list.

Back from a nearly year-long deployment to Afghanistan, the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion already is working to apply lessons learned to training for the next deployment. As the battalion prepares for its next mission, it is reflecting on what its Marines learned about how they train, how their equipment worked and how they will prepare themselves for the future.

April 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
A modernized and fully digitized unmanned aerial system could be performing vital missions over the Asia-Pacific region in the coming years. The upgraded Shadow system fielded by the U.S. Marine Corps could potentially play a major role in the region.

The upgraded RQ-7 could play a significant role in the Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S. Marine Corps could potentially begin fielding newly upgraded RQ-7 Shadow systems as early as next year, according to experts. The new version of the combat-proven aircraft is fully digitized, improves interoperability, can be teamed with manned aircraft and provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to a broader range of warfighters, including manned aircraft crews. The upgraded system is intended to serve as an interim capability until the Marine Corps can field a larger, more capable unmanned aircraft.

January 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
John Smart, president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, tells the keynote luncheon audience that dramatic change is evolutionary and inevitable.

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day: “How can you help me make the least-dumb decisions quicker?”—Terry Halvorsen, chief information officer (CIO) for the Department of the Navy, requesting cyber security solutions from industry

February 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 3

January 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:“’Flat’ is the new ‘up’ in this defense budget environment.”— Robert O. Work, undersecretary of the Navy

The military services are facing potentially crippling constraints if sequestration takes place in March. Defense officials foresee the likelihood of draconian budget cuts being imposed that will cripple the force just as it is being counted on to assume new strategic missions. In most cases, the services will have to choose to sacrifice some capabilities so that others will remain part of the force. In worse-case scenarios, the U.S. military may be unable to meet its obligations when a crisis emerges.

January 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The shift of U.S. power to the Asia-Pacific will not be successful without an infusion of new technology and a dedicated effort to defeat a wide range of adversaries. The new strategic emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region poses a new set of challenges, mandating solutions that run the gamut from technological capabilities to cultural outreach and diplomacy.

On the military side, direct challenges range from dealing with cyberspace attacks to providing missile defense in a large-scale conflict. On the geopolitical side, centuries of conflict and confrontation among neighbors must be overcome if a region-wide security environment enabling economic growth is to be implemented.

December 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Marines communicate digitally over a network. The Next Generation Enterprise Network, or NGEN, will take a new approach to networking yet evolve from the existing Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

The program may be revolutionary, but its product is evolutionary.

Despite its sea-change approach to acquisition, the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network program is being designed to evolve from its predecessor, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, in bids submitted by the two teams vying for the multibillion-dollar contract. The two bidders are focusing their efforts on the transition between the two networks, which is a process that will take several years.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Existing forward-deployed U.S. military elements may be learning a new definition of the phrase as Pacific forces adjust to a new regional emphasis. The rebalancing that represents a new strategy for the Asia-Pacific region will be altering force structures that already represent forward deployments.

The U.S. Navy never left the forward deployment of its forces, said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, USN, deputy commander and chief of staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Speaking at a panel in TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the admiral allowed that forward deployment is essential for the force to be able to operate with an effective presence in the vast multinational region.

March 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

 

Marines in Afghanistan radio their patrol’s security element and observe a reconnaissance robot’s camera feed on a laptop. Cybersecurity professionals around the Marine Corps strive to ensure the confidentiality, availability and integrity of the information provided through Marines’ networks at all times in all locations.

March 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

 

A team of Marines from Marine Air Support Squadron 2 and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 test the Marine Air-Ground Task Force aerial pallet system/special airborne response system (MAPS/SABIR) while in flight over Okinawa.

Help from above aims to save lives on the ground by offering onsite capabilities.

March 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Magazine

  

MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) staff vehicle and an M2C2 PoP vehicle undergo testing at Yuma.

 
The Marines use commercial components to extend mobile capabilities to  remote battlefields.

March 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

 

The U.S. Marine Corps Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S) will help direct Marine Corps aviation activities in Afghanistan.

A once-troubled U.S. Marine Corps aviation program now is headed to the combat theater.

March 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

March 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

 

"Not only are the Infantry Immersion Trainers our newest training capabilities, they are also our knowledge base for creating mixed reality, immersive training environments."

March 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

 

Sgt. Sean Cain, USMC, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, performs a radio check during a security patrol in Afghanistan.

Top information technology officer tackles network challenges for the Corps.

April 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

 

Capt. John Helm, USMC, operations officer for Marine Aviation Training Systems Site (MATSS) Iwakuni, Japan, prepares for take-off in the F/A-18D Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT) 37.

Trainer offers much-needed concurrency updates while new processes promise future advantages.

April 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

April 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

 

The hands-free MilTrans Voice Response Translator (VRT) allows U.S. Marines to conduct operations and question locals in 52 different languages. The device has a voice-cued menu that allows warfighters to ask specific questions in the appropriate local dialect.

Commercial kit provides commander with equipment options.

April 2009
By Kathleen Bahr and Maj. Fritz Doran, USMC (Ret.)

April 2009
By Rita Boland

 
The Marine Corps is testing and evaluating Mojos—power sources that rely on sun and wind rather than fossil fuels. The Marines are testing the systems for use in applications from sensor suites to communications.
Rapid deployment, renewable energy systems could help keep troops safe.

April 2009
By Robert K. Ackerman

 
A U.S. Marine sergeant radios other Marines during an operation in Iraq’s Al Anbar province. The Marine Corps is extending network connectivity down to company level and below, and this is posing several techno-logical challenges.
A boost in civilian personnel changes the makeup of the Corps’ networking team.

April 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

 
Marines inside a light armored vehicle engage targets during the first major exercise with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Improved Thermal Sight System. The system is now being fielded in current operations.
Innovative technologies fill immediate needs while military prepares for shift in focus to Afghanistan.

December 2008
By Henry S. Kenyon

 
The U.S. Marine Corps is providing the wireless point-to-point link (WPPL) system to its deployed forces. WPPL features secure point-to-point line-of-sight or non-line-of-sight transmissions for voice, data and video communications.
Mobile transmission equipment provides forces with increased bandwidth, connectivity.

December 2008
By Rita Boland

 
The combat operations center (COC) capability set two shown here is the latest version of the centers. The new version is scheduled for delivery in 2010 and can accommodate 109 personnel. COCs are the cornerstone of future Marine Air Ground Task Force command and control. 
America's elite military branch focuses on standardization and easy integration for management and communications.