Statement of Lieutenant General John E. Rhodes
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am pleased to have this opportunity to discuss how the Corps is meeting the challenge of equipping Marines with relevant information systems and providing the skills necessary to use information as effectively as they do their rifles. Ill begin with an overview of Marine Corps warfighting concepts and how they shape our philosophy of command and control and our view of information. Ill then explain how these concepts fuel our Combat Development System to generate information-related initiatives. Categorized according to doctrine, organization, training, equipment, and support, these initiatives include both materiel and nonmateriel efforts for deployed and garrison Marines. Yet, all share the same conceptual foundation and support the same goal, "right information to the right Marine at the right time."
On 20 March 1997 my predecessor, Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, testified before the House National Security Committee on the same topic. I was his deputy and recall the significance of that event. It was a topic which captured his professional interest throughout his career: information and its relationship to command and control in war. Im pleased to report that in June 1997, his testimony reached a much wider audience when it was published in its entirety in our professional publication, The Marine Corps Gazette. Though nearly two years have passed, his words continue to be an accurate and relevant description of the Corps enduring view of command and control in war. I hope to build upon that foundation and warn you in advance that all similarities between his message and mine today are purely intentional.
Information Initiatives: Founded on Warfighting Concepts
Command and control, and its relationship to information, cannot be addressed in a vacuum. Command and control is a function that must be considered within the context of our environment, the nature of warfare, and all other warfighting functions. To quote from Lieutenant General Van Ripers testimony:
Since he made this statement, we have taken great strides toward institutionalizing the role of command and control in future Marine Corps operations. We dont do so arbitrarily, but through a carefully conceived mechanism we call the Concept-Based Requirements Process, which is part of our overall Combat Development System. Through this process, we analyze the anticipated future environment, identify potential challenges, and then determine the warfighting requirements needed to effectively address those challenges.
Our Warfighting Concepts for the 21st Century stand at the core of the process. These are formal documents which articulate our vision for future warfighting. They look forward in time beyond the concerns of todays programming and budgeting and provide the spark that initiates a focused process of proposal, debate and experimentation. We use this participatory dialogue as the means to shape these initial concepts, ultimately molding them into requirements that will provide the warfighting solutions needed. In the past two years, we have fostered, developed and published twelve warfighting concepts to establish the framework for an ongoing process of discovery and transformation.
Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS), approved in January 1996, is our capstone warfighting concept. OMFTS envisions a future environment characterized by "crisis in the littorals" and describes a new form of littoral power projection in which Marines will apply the tenets of maneuver warfare within the context of amphibious operations. In OMFTS, we will focus on an operational objective, using the sea as maneuver space to generate overwhelming tempo and momentum against potential adversaries. OMFTS offers us the promise of extraordinary leaps in operational flexibility through significantly enhanced capabilities for seabased logistics, fires and command and control.
Since its publication, a number of supporting concepts have followed. Each aims at expanding the foundations laid by OMFTS. Most significant among this "family of concepts" are Ship to Objective Maneuver, which expounds upon the tactical implementation of OMFTS; Sustained Operations Ashore, which outlines the inherent flexibilities of the MAGTF to serve as a seabased operational maneuver element in support of the JTF; Future Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain, which addresses the challenges the Marine Corps will face as we conduct operations in this expanding, evolving mission area; and Maritime Prepositioning Force 2010 and Beyond, which highlights the advanced prepositioning requirements to support OMFTS.
All of the concepts I have mentioned make assertions about the Marine Corps philosophy for future command and control but none is more relevant to todays discussion than, "Beyond C2: A Concept for Comprehensive Command and Coordination of the MAGTF," published in June 1998. This concept was initiated by a tasker from the Commandant of the Marine Corps in August 1997, in which he postulated the following future environment:
Also in that tasker, General Krulak formed the basis for what we now refer to as the "Three-Block War" scenario. Again, to quote from his August 1997 tasking order:
Clearly, he set the conceptual stage and pointed us toward previously uncharted waters. In response, Beyond C2 fully embraces this anticipated future environment within the context of the historically unpredictable, chaotic nature of war. It seeks to move future commanders away from technology-induced "mechanistic control" and toward the fundamental exercise of command. By focusing on the principles of adaptive learning, implicit communications, mutual understanding and intuitive decisionmaking, Beyond C2 addresses the powerful, positive aspects of human interaction that foster creative problem-solving. The aim of MAGTF comprehensive command and coordination is to empower commanders at every level to focus resources upon a mission while enabling the inventiveness and initiative of subordinates.
In pursuit of this objective, the concept anticipates access to a worldwide command information architecture that will provide commanders with the dynamic situational and cultural awareness they will require. This capability will empower them with the means not only to command their forward deployed forces, but also to "reachback" and coordinate with the entire spectrum of our national power in support of national objectives. The end result will be an integrated organic whole capable of crisis deterrence and response. It will combine a broad range of military capabilities with disparate, non-military forms of pressure and influence while preserving freedom of action at every level.
One final concept which should be mentioned in this forum is Information Operations, approved in May, 1998. This concept openly debates the current information technology explosion and examines its potential impact on military activities. It seeks to identify key information operations activities to enable and enhance all of our warfighting functions especially command and control. The recurrent themes of this concept directly support OMFTS and Beyond C2 and are in concert with our philosophy regarding the nature of conflict. Yet, the basic thesis differs somewhat from some conceptions of IO or IW. This is an integrating concept that facilitates the warfighting functions of command and control, fires, maneuver, logistics, intelligence and force protection, not simply another arrow in the MAGTF commanders quiver. It is, rather, a broad-based capability that "makes the bow stronger."
The ability to control, manipulate and safeguard information can provide a marked advantage but only as it is used as a force multiplier to support warfighting. Thus, the focus of Marine Corps IO will be upon the information-oriented activities that will best support the traditional application of combat power, not upon the information or technology -- itself.
In essence, information and its functioning within the process of command and control is very important to us. Important enough that we have devoted two full concepts -- and portions of many others -- to debate its relevance in future warfighting. In light of the future we anticipate, we believe our approach to information and command and control to be entirely prudent.
Information Initiatives: Developed through the Combat Development System
Fueled by these concepts, the Combat Development System generates information-related initiatives which cover a broad spectrum of personnel and equipment initiatives. This required mix of personnel and equipment is assessed by the pillars of Doctrine, Organization, Training and education, Equipment, and Support and facilities (DOTES). Using the DOTES categories, the appropriate resource allocation levels are developed to field integrated warfighting capabilities.
This process provides overarching control of numerous types of information systems. It helps us achieve interoperability between a wide mix of equipment initiatives through overarching requirements for compliance with a standards-based architectures built upon the Joint Technical Architecture (JTA) standards and the Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment (DII COE). It also ensures our information-related initiatives across all DOTES pillars have the necessary interoperability that our equipments possess.
The following sections highlight the measures we have taken with the addition and integration of information-related initiatives into each of the DOTES pillars. Together these measures represent our ongoing efforts to develop and institutionalize a secure, interoperable, standards-based equipment architecture which is captured in our doctrine, matched to our organizations, trained in our schools, and supported on our bases.
Doctrinal Measures supporting Information Initiatives
Our doctrinal perspective toward information is first encountered in Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1, Warfighting. MCDP 1 states our views on the nature of war. It describes the way we fight using maneuver warfare and provides the nucleus of our ideas about commander's intent, main effort, critical vulnerability and, most significantly, the role of information as it relates to command, control, and decision-making.
Upon that foundation, we have built MCDP 6, Command and Control, as the first floor for Marine Corps information-related doctrine. It presents the theory and philosophy of Marine Corps command and control. It describes how Marines can reach intuitive decisions and implement military actions at a tempo faster than an adversary in any conflict setting on any scale. Our approach to command and control addresses a war of uncertainty and friction and defines how we hope to function effectively despite them. MCDP 6 represents a firm commitment by the Marine Corps to a bold, even fundamental shift in the way the dynamic challenges of command and control in the information age are approached. It takes into account both the timeless features of war and the implications of the ongoing information explosion that is a consequence of modern technology. Above all, it emphasizes that systems are not answers, that information and knowledge are not the same as understanding, and that the foundation of command and control is trust between a commander and his Marines. Subsequent levels of information-related doctrine, though still under construction, represent necessary additions that are tightly tied to the overarching design of both MCDP 1 and 6.
MCWP 6-2, MAGTF Command and Control, presents doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures for the command and control of the Marine Air Ground Task Force. It establishes an overarching command and control architecture. This publication serves as the link between our doctrinal philosophy of MCDP 6 and detailed tactics, techniques, and procedures publications. MCWP 6-2 provides guidelines to assist commanders in organizing their staffs for the efficient and effective exercise of command and control throughout the MAGTF. It addresses the key role played by information management and assigns associated responsibilities. It also provides guidance for the employment of command and control centers and associated communications and information systems to support the MAGTF commander. Additionally, it addresses the need to protect MAGTF command and control and discusses emerging C2 concepts such as network-centric warfare. MCWP 6-2 is scheduled for signature in July 99.
On the drawing boards are Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 6-21 (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Command Echelons), MCWP 6-22 (Communications and Information Systems), MCWP 6-23 (Information Management), and MCWP 5-1 (Marine Corps Planning Process). Each of these publications will provide tactics, techniques, and procedures essential for leveraging command and control functions and technologies. However, we recognize that doctrine is never "done." It requires our continued deligence to ensure changes in function and advances in technology are matched with corresponding updates to doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures. With this goal in mind, we continue to evolve our doctrinal publications to ensure their content is informative, timely, relevant and compelling.
Organizational Measures supporting Information Initiatives
Information-related initiatives have impacted the organization of the Corps. A significant effort has involved the recognition that the chasm which once separated communications and computers has all but disappeared. This organizational change seeks to combine the military occupational specialties Operational Communications and Data Systems into a single occupational field. Entitled the Communication Information Systems field, this new core of multi-skilled Marines will be at the forefront of the battle to disseminate and safeguard the information commanders need on tomorrows battlefield. No longer fractionalized into path ("radios up; computers probably down") and processor ("computers fine, radios probably down") groups, these unified Marines will be trained in the same computer and communications disciplines. This concept has already enabled our schools to become more responsive to the rapid introduction of new equipment into our inventory. Combining these once separate skills has allowed our educators to build an occupational field and associated training plan that addresses emerging requirements without stovepiping critical tasks. The proper focus has been established and duplication of effort eliminated.
Training Measures supporting Information Initiatives
While information-related training and education exist throughout the Corps educational curricula, one of the most unique examples is the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Staff Training Program (MSTP). Operating from a home base in Quantico, Virginia, the MSTP provides training in Combined, Joint, and MAGTF warfighting skills to Marine Corps forces with a particular emphasis on senior commanders and their staffs. The program focuses on the pivotal role of the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) commander and the responsibilities of the MEF staff at the operational and tactical levels of war. Particular emphasis is placed on the actions required at the MEF level to employ information to integrate and synchronize the warfighting functions of maneuver, fires, command and control, logistics, intelligence, and force protection. The MSTP uses the Battle Staff Training Facility (BSTF) located at Quantico to develop processes that enable operating forces to use information technologies in an integrated manner to support MAGTF planning and operations. In addition to the battle staffs of the Fleet Marine Forces, the BSTF also provides command and control systems training to students of the Marine Corps University.
Equipment Measures supporting Information Initiatives
Our equipment measures support a standards-based architecture founded in the JTA and the DII COE. We believe this to be a crucial step towards achieving and maintaining joint interoperability. This belief is reflected in how we spend money for information systems. As predominantly a "buyer" and not a "developer" of equipments, including information systems, the Marine Corps uses compliance with joint standards as a major factor in its selection criteria. We view "better as the enemy of good enough" whenever a more technologically advanced alternative lacks necessary joint interoperability.
Rather than simply listing the numerous and varied equipment initiatives which support our concept of warfighting, they are better presented within the context of the events associated with a Marine operational deployment.
Pre-deployment. Information systems contribute to victory long before Marines actually deploy from their home stations. The Marine Corps Unit Operations Center (UOC) program will provide both deployable Combat Operation Centers (COCs) and supporting establishment Command Centers (CCs) for battalion sized and larger units. These supporting establishment Command Centers, "plugged in" to the information utility system, will allow unit commanders and their staffs to monitor world events, assess a crisis as it develops, and begin development of courses of action, potentially even before receipt of a warning order. Marines will have a facility from which they can communicate worldwide, draw on national intelligence assets, direct preparations for deployment, and coordinate support for forces already deployed. Also, because these Command Centers are functionally identical to their deployable COC counterparts, staffs will be able to routinely train in the same procedures and with much of the same technology they will use while deployed. The fielding of 20 Command Centers is scheduled for FY02 through FY05.
In support of the Command Centers, the Global Command and Control System (GCCS) will provide unit commanders and their staffs with the ability to manage Force Generation, Sustainment, Deployment and Redeployment in times of crisis. GCCS provides unit commanders with the means to work in a real-time collaborative environment with advanced decision support tools, modeling and support tools, and information management tools. GCCS enhances the commander's situational awareness by providing a fused, shared, near real-time Common Operational Picture (COP). GCCS also enhances the commander's decision making ability by providing a means to assess his force readiness and supports him with intelligence tools integrated with the COP to provide timely threat information. The Marine Corps has fielded 221 GCCS systems throughout the active and reserve forces.
While Forward Deployed. Whether embarked with a Marine Expeditionary Unit with Navy shipping or assigned to Okinawa under the unit deployment program, Marines who are forward deployed continue to use information systems to hone their professional knowledge, monitor events in their theater of operations, and prepare them for whatever courses of action they may be called upon to carry out. The Marine Corps and Navy have been working together to ensure that amphibious ships are equipped with communications and computer equipment necessary to support forward deployed Marines. For example, as part of the Navy IT-21 effort, the Navy is installing a variety of satellite communications terminals capable of communicating through both military and commercial satellites. While on ship, these Navy systems provide embarked Marines "reachback" into their supporting establishment information infrastructure. Soon, forward deployed Marines will enjoy access to information services and resources that were formerly only available within the continental United States.
During Pre-Operational Planning. The advantages of modern information systems become even more evident when a crisis erupts and forward deployed Marines are ordered to respond. For example, Marine Expeditionary Units, the smallest of Marine Air Ground Task Forces, must embark their supplies, equipment, commanders, and staffs across multiple amphibious ships. Upon receipt of a warning order and in response to a crisis, these commanders and their staffs must be prepared to assess the situation, identify alternatives, select a course of action, complete planning, issue orders to subordinate units, and commence combat operations within a matter of hours. Traditionally, all collaboration and communication between Marines embarked on separate ships had to take place via typewritten message traffic, single channel voice radio, and similar primitive, time-consuming channels. Too often, officers would even be forced to shuttle between ships by helicopter for face-to-face meetings. New information systems now promise to greatly improve the ability of these dispersed staffs to effectively and quickly carry out execution planning. Specifically, shipboard landing force operation centers will be equipped with modern software and computers to assist landing force staffs in the same way command centers do ashore. Also, in addition to the satellite communications terminals mentioned earlier, amphibious ships will increasingly be equipped as part of IT-21 with Digital Wideband Transmission Systems (DWTS), Enhanced Position Location Reporting System Radios (EPLRS), Single Channel Ground Airborne Radio System radios (SINCGARS) and, ultimately, Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS). These equipment items will allow time-sensitive collaborative planning between landing force staff elements dispersed across the ships within an amphibious ready group
On the Littoral Battlefield. Information is a powerful tool in the hands of a well-trained and well-armed Marine. Accordingly, the Marine Corps has undertaken a number of initiatives to provide our Marines with the best possible information technology. For example, as mentioned earlier, the Unit Operations Center program will provide battalion sized and larger units with highly mobile and modular Combat Operations Centers. These Combat Operations Centers will employ technological advances such as large screen displays, video teleconferencing, decision support tools, and wireless local area networking. As a result, commanders will be better able to assimilate information, develop situational awareness and an understanding of the tactical situation, and make rapid and appropriate decisions. And, because these Combat Operations Centers will be highly mobile, combat units will not be forced to wait for tent cities to catch up and their staffs to get back online. The fielding of 197 Combat Operations Centers is scheduled for FY02 through FY05.
The Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S) will do for aviation command and control what the Combat Operations Center will do for the command and control of ground combat units. Specifically, the CAC2S will provide tools for aviation command control planning and execution. Its equipment will replace existing tactical air command centers, tactical air operations centers, and the operations centers of air traffic control, theater missile defense, direct air support, and low altitude air defense units.
A number of other ongoing programs will provide much of the equipment and many of the mission specific software applications that will populate and feed information to both Combat Operations Centers and Common Aviation Command Control Systems. These include:
Tactical Combat Operations system (TCO) - a program for extending the Global Command and Control System, to include the Common Tactical Picture and mission area applications down to the regimental and battalion levels. The fielding of 753 TCO occurs from FY96 through FY99.
Intelligence Analysis System (IAS) - an all source intelligence fusion center providing intelligence analysts the capability to rapidly process information from a wide range of national, theater, and tactical intelligence sources. The fielding of 300 IAS began in FY95 and continues through FY99.
Technical Control and Analysis Center (TCAC) - a semi automated data-processing and analysis capability for reporting time sensitive signals intelligence information, including information from other services and national assets to the commander. The fielding of 6 TCAC is scheduled for FY99.
Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) - a multi-service integrated battlefield management and decision support system allowing commanders to rapidly integrate ground, air, and naval service fire support assets into the scheme of maneuver. The fielding of 619 AFATDS is scheduled for FY99 through FY02.
Joint Service Imagery Processing System (JSIPS) - a deployable system for receiving, processing, exploiting, and disseminating digital imagery and imagery derived intelligence from national, theater, and tactical sources. The fielding of 3 JSIPS is scheduled for FY00 through FY01.
Tactical Electronic Reconnaissance Processing and Evaluation System (TERPES) - a system for providing ground processing of electronic warfare data collected by EA-6B aircraft. The fielding of 5 TERPES occurs from FY98 through FY99.
Team Portable Collection System and Radio Reconnaissance Equipment Program (TPCS & RRE) - these systems provide the capability to perform command and control warfare, cryptologic, and signals intelligence functions against critical enemy command and control nodes regardless of their location on the battlefield. The fielding of 11 TPCS is scheduled for FY00 through FY05.
Mobile Electronic Warfare Support System (MEWSS) - a comprehensive and mobile signals intelligence and electronic warfare system installed in lightly armored vehicles. The fielding of 7 MEWSS is scheduled for FY01 through FY05.
Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Common Ground Station (JSTARS CGS) - provides the supported commander, afloat and ashore, with near-real-time access to moving target indicator, fixed target indicator, and synthetic aperture radar data from the Joint STARS aircraft. The fielding of 2 JSTARS CGS is scheduled for FY00.
Joint Tactical Terminal (JTT) - a multi-service UHF satellite communications terminal and intelligence broadcast receiver for delivering critical time sensitive battlefield targeting information to commanders at all levels. The fielding of 47 JTT is scheduled for FY98 through FY05.
Tactical Remote Sensor System (TRSS) - a family of monitoring equipment and remote sensors that may be emplaced by air or ground forces to provide commanders with unattended, semi-covert ground surveillance of distant areas of the battlefield using passive detection and remote reporting systems. TRSS is already fielded and is undergoing a product improvement program which will field repeaters, air-delivered sensors and specialized test sets from FY00 through FY01.
Of course, combat operations centers and their associated systems would be incapable of information sharing and coordinated action without a network of reliable high-capacity communications systems to tie them together. In the next few years, Marine Air Ground Task Force tactical communications will be revolutionized by the replacement of a number of outdated, bulky, and low capacity communications systems. In their place we will field a number of far more capable systems including:
Super High Frequency Tri-Band Advanced Range Extension Terminal (STAR-T) - a satellite communications terminal capable of using both military and commercial SHF satellites to provide high-capacity intra-theater communications as well as reachback to CONUS via the Defense Information Infrastructure. The fielding of 38 STAR-T is scheduled for FY01 through FY03.
Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T) - an EHF satellite communications terminal providing robust, low probability of intercept, and jam-resistant voice and data communications, not subject to terrain masking or distance limitations, using the MILSTAR satellite constellation. The fielding of 25 SMART-T is scheduled for FY01 through FY02.
Global Broadcast System (GBS) terminals - man-portable, very small aperture satellite receivers capable of receiving high data rate broadcasts from the Department of Defense GBS satellites. The fielding of 105 GBS is scheduled for FY01 through FY02.
Digital Wideband Transmission System (DWTS) - a secure, vehicle mounted multichannel UHF line of site radio used for intra-MAGTF and, in conjunction with its shipboard counterpart, ship to shore voice and data communications. DWTS is fielded and currently undergoing a product improvement program, known as the Shore Mount Accessory Kit (SMAK), to provide a suitable antenna for ship to shore communications, as well as an integral multiplexer to permit more efficient utilization of its bandwidth. These improvements are scheduled for FY99 through FY00.
UHF Tactical Satellite Communications terminal (PSC-5) - a small secure communications terminal capable of providing both satellite and line-of-sight voice and data communications to small vehicles and Marines on foot. The Marine Corps has fielded 589 of these terminals.
Single Channel Ground Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) - a family of lightweight combat net radios providing single channel secure jam resistant voice and low rate data communications throughout the battlefield. The fielding of 23,987 SINCGAR began in FY94 and runs through FY99.
Enhanced Position Location and Reporting System (EPLRS) - a small secure UHF radio providing on-the-move medium rate data communications to combat units down to the company level. The fielding of 1,187 EPLRS is scheduled for FY99 through FY01.
All of these communications systems provide joint interoperability. In fact, all but one are identical with Army systems. For the future, the Marine Corps enthusiastically embraces the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program and its goal of providing fighters with a family of high-performance DOD standard radios.
Collectively, these communications systems and combat operations centers will, together with Tactical Data Network (TDN) Gateways and TDN Servers, form the backbone of the TDN, a tactical internetwork capable of providing information support in a hostile combat environment and without reliance on host nation infrastructure. The fielding of 447 TDN gateways is scheduled for FY00 through FY02.
The Digital Technical Control (DTC) program will provide the TDN with a network management facility for troubleshooting the network as well as for interfacing to a variety of commercial and military communications devices. The fielding of 30 DTC is scheduled for FY00 through FY02.
Perhaps most significantly, the Vertical takeoff and landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) will, in addition to providing near real-time battlefield imagery, serve as an airborne communications relay to tie together warfighters in a geographically dispersed battle space. The TDN will not require operational pauses to secure terrestrial relay sites, nor will it require commanders to employ Marines from combat units to seize, man, or defend those relay sites.
The most important beneficiaries of advances in the information and communications technology will be individual Marines and their small unit leaders. The TDN will, in conjunction with Data Automated Communications Terminals (DACT), allow these Marines to enjoy large-scale situational awareness currently available only to higher echelon commanders. Specifically, Marines will be able to display a map of the battlefield overlaid by near real-time friendly and suspected enemy location information. Also, the DACT's embedded GPS, digital maps, and moving map display will free Marines to concentrate on winning battles. The fielding of 4,066 DACT is scheduled for FY99 through FY03.
Finally, the Target Location Designation and Handoff system (TLDH) will combine the DACT with the Joint Service Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder to allow forward observers, forward air controllers, and other Marines to simply point at a target in order to communicate its position to friendly fire support assets. This, combined with digital messaging, can reduce sensor to shooter times from minutes to seconds. The fielding of 442 TLDH is scheduled for FY01 through FY04.
The Marine Corps is also determining requirements for an Intra-Squad Radio. Recent experimentation by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory clearly showed that small unit leaders desperately needed compact low-cost radios for intra-squad communications while fighting in built up areas. When driving a determined and desperate enemy from a building, critical information consists of knowing whether the man in the next room is friendly or enemy. Previous military-unique squad radios have proven both ineffective and costly. But, our warfighting experiments showed that commercial off-the-shelf UHF radios, costing less than one hundred dollars and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, would satisfy this requirement. Consequently, the Marine Corps started moving to procure these commercial radios very soon after the requirement was initially identified. The moral of this story is that we can sometimes, but not always, make great strides using commercial information technology products in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional defense acquisition programs.
Support and Facilities Measures supporting Information Initiatives
The "S" pillar of DOTES covers the Marine Corps Supporting Establishments non-deploying infrastructure on bases, posts, and stations. While most are familiar with electricity, water, and telephones, the Marine Corps considers its growing network of computers as not only an information infrastructure but as an information utility. A utility connotes service. We believe managing and programming our computer networks as utilities will lead the way to achieving the same quality and dependable service that is synonymous with plugging in an appliance or turning a water spigot. We are striving for an information utility which, when you "plug in" your computer at your base, post, or station, you are on line.
Our information utility currently services 75,000 Marines, supporting their functional computer applications and network connectivity requirements across 24 time zones. Divided into eight regions, our information utility provides information technology support services and facilities across 32 major bases, posts, and stations. In addition to these areas of concentration, we also support our recruiting efforts and our reserve component of the Marine Corps Total Force. These smaller enclaves, while too numerous to specify, are all equally protected by state of the art information security solutions as they use the information utility to provide total force synergy throughout the Marine Corps.
As with a water utility, we are concerned about protecting our information utility against contamination and have focused our most recent efforts towards that goal. Over the last year, the major component of the utility, the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN), has been upgraded so that it is now completely protected by state-of-the-art firewall technology at all entry points. Though we believe this to be a significant beginning, more work remains to improve our supporting establishment information utility service.
As we increase the operational tempo and mobility of our deploying forces, the more important becomes the supporting establishment information utility. In addition to supporting garrison requirements, this information utility must be able to complete the highway for information "reachback" between deployed forces and virtual staffs at non-deploying supporting establishment locations. This capability is needed to reduce deployment lift and increase our speed of operational planning and execution. It is also needed to ensure Marines can access information regardless of application or location. Synchronizing the deployed and non-deployed infrastructures means Marines can "reachback" to an information utility ready to meet their needs. At this time, though, when deployed forces turn the reachback spigot marked "supporting establishment," all they get is a trickle.
Today the Marine Corps Enterprise Network architecture is not as robust, nor as survivable as required. Over the next 18 months, the Marine Corps Enterprise Network, the core of our information utility model, will grow from a fractured, 32 node, stove-pipe environment to a seamless virtual intranet that will provide a high speed end-to-end capability. We begin execution in June 1999. When completed, we will have the capability to conduct video teleconferencing between Headquarters, Marine Corps and III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan without having to go through a firewall. This rebirth of a large and responsive backbone capability is due in large part to our teaming with the Defense Information Systems Agency. Funding for the connectivity required for this fully meshed network as well the technology to protect this network is in place.
Improving the management of our information utility is also being addressed, though full funding does not yet exist. We intend to provide the Marine Corps Enterprise Network, presently controlled by the Network Operations Center located in Quantico, Virginia, with improved redundancy. An Alternate Network Operations Center is planned for establishment at Richards-Gebaur ANG Base south of Kansas City, Missouri during FY00. The Alternate Network Operations Center is not funded at this time but has been identified as a candidate for fiscal support beginning FY00. The commander of the Network Operations Center also serves as the Marine Forces Component Command to the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense.
Even though our enterprise network is fully protected and is undergoing a major rebuild, we are still two to three years away from full information utility capability. The significant infrastructure growth required to take the utility to the desktop, and not just to the base entry point, is identified in the Marine Corps Telecommunications Program Objective Memorandum (POM). There are four distinct aspects to this effort: outside plant (fiber between buildings), inside plant (fiber/wire inside habitable buildings), client-server architecture that supports all users regardless of functional requirements or geographic location, and the annual technology refresh of the information utility infrastructure.
The Marine Corps is looking to accelerate the Telecommunications POM by five years to implement the information utility by FY02 vice FY07. Once funds have been provided to a contractor, there is still a two year implementation process while the physical medium is placed in the ground and the regional information utility manager takes advantage of business process reengineering to gain efficiencies made available by the utility.
Once the physical utility is in place, the benefits of a standards based, centrally funded, decentrally managed information utility will start to show. Some examples of immediate benefits are distance learning, Defense Messaging System, Marine OnLine, and support of business process re-engineering. Distance learning initiatives can now be supported to the desktop as well as to regional schoolhouses at no additional costs to the utility. Defense Messaging System can be implemented across the Marine Corps without significant manpower impacts. Marine Online will allow a 33 percent reduction in administration personnel due to the ability of the individual Marine to use the utility to take care of much of his own administrative needs. The information utility provides smart card support across the life of the Marine, from the yellow footprints of recruit training, to the retired Marine telling the folks at home how it was when he was a Marine. Most importantly, the deployed warfighters access to needed information directly depends upon having a robust, defendable, survivable information utility in the supporting establishment infrastructure. When our deployed Marines turn the spigot marked "reachback," it must work.
Apart from the title, the term "Information Superiority" has not been addressed until now. This absence is not accidental but reflects our belief that information does not belong in the same category as a physical area on the battlefield. We view information not as a medium to be dominated, but as a control parameter which allows us to provide structure to our actions.
The intent is to convey a clearer understanding of what we mean when we say "every Marine a rifleman" and "we equip Marines, not man equipment." Each comes from the same source: a common view of maneuver warfare which puts at center stage the most lethal and effective weapon system on earth, the individual Marine. This is the context from which we view command and control. This is also the context from which we view information.
Our information-related initiatives involve all pillars of DOTES. The mental image of these pillars is important because it reflects our purpose and commitment. All five pillars rise from a single warfighting concept. All are of equal height. Together they support a single command and control philosophy. Our approach is therefore a balanced pursuit of materiel and nonmateriel information initiatives for our deploying and non-deploying forces. Together, these capabilities will enable our Marines to fight and win in any clime and place.