Logistical units from the Navy and Marine Corps trained together during the Expeditionary Logistics Wargame VI, an exercise that also tested a new data sharing environment. (U.S. Marine Corps)
Frustrated by logistics and command-and-control systems that can’t communicate with each other, a recent Marine Corps war game showcased a new approach that allows systems in a Marine Air-Ground Task Force to share information.
The Expeditionary Logistics VI exercise demonstrated a shared data environment that allowed logistics systems to communicate with MAGTF mission command systems through the prototype Tactical Service-Oriented Architecture and Sense & Respond Logistics Information Architecture.
“Previously, every individual system that wanted to do something with track information would have to connect with a system of record like CPOF [Command Post of the Future], and each of those systems would have to individually connect and establish a one-to-one connection,” said Mark Adams, a senior development analyst for Lockheed Martin.
TSOA and Sense & Respond act as a kind of middleman that receives data from C2 systems. Logistics systems can query them for vital information such as the location of friendly and enemy forces when dispatching supply convoys.
“What we have is utilizing Sense and Respond and TSOA to establish a kind of publish-and-subscribe system where all this track information is published, and now it’s available for any system to subscribe and receive that information,” Adams said.
The new systems were able to handle 1.2 million messages during the four-day exercise, which ran June 11 to 14. The war game, conducted by the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, featured a fairly vanilla humanitarian relief scenario that combined command post exercises at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Quantico, Va., in addition to live maneuvers. Though results are still being evaluated, Expeditionary Logistics VI validated the shared data concept, according to exercise coordinator Lt. Col. Mike Krohmer, Headquarters Marine Corps lead for command and control of logistics. In addition to eliminating point-to-point connections, the new approach means that each logistics and C2 system can be upgraded without having to modify the other systems they interact with.
The logistics war game is an attempt to address the problem of a multiplicity of systems — and not just logistics — that don’t play well together.
“A MAGTF has a bunch of standalone stovepipe systems that really don’t facilitate a good understanding of what’s going on the battlefield,” Krohmer said. For example, when an operator approves a supply request in the Common Logistics Command and Control System, the primary tactical request management system for the MAGTF, he also has to enter the same data into the Transportation Capacity Planning Tool. A shared data environment allows the operator to use the supply request data to automatically generate a transportation movement request.
“What we’re attempting to do is make each system interoperable so that we provide the right information for the commanders,” Krohmer said.