MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- style="margin: 0in 0in 8pt;">The Marine Corps fielded its first tactical command and control information system to come standard with Windows 10 in February. The Combat Operations Center software release 6.0.4 and accompanying Marine Expeditionary Force hardware delivery enhances security and efficiency for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
This upgrade is part of the Defense Department’s January 2017 transition to the WIN10 operating system in order to improve cybersecurity and lower the cost of information technology throughout the military.
“The COC technical hardware and tactical data systems work as an integrated C2 platform used to produce a common tactical picture in the field,” said Maj. Jon Mohler, team lead for the COC Project Office at Marine Corps Systems Command. “Standardized software across the four COC variants, from battalion to Marine Expeditionary Force, is especially helpful for Marines, so that no matter where they go in the MAGTF, they can work efficiently with consistent platforms at each echelon.”
The 6.0.4 release refreshed client computers and tactical server software used in Marine combat operations centers. COCs are expeditionary tent facilities that serve as a hub for command and control for Marine Corps operations ashore. They enable Marines to collect, process and share tactical information in a secure, collaborative environment.
One feature of the system refresh is the Wide Area Voice Environment. The WAVE software works in conjunction with the COC Tactical Radio over Internet Protocol Inter-Communications System, or TRICS, allowing COC users to access tactical radio networks right from their client laptops. The TRICS radio gateway and WAVE software provide the RoIP capability that enables the integration and dissemination of tactical radio traffic on IP networks. Additional 6.0.4 updates include upgrading to Windows Server 2012 R2, VMWare 5.5, MS Office and SharePoint 2013.
As part of the release, Marines were issued laptops operating WIN10 and equipped with a full suite of C2 applications ranging from common tactical picture and Microsoft Office to tactical chatting software. The standardized laptops deliver ease of use to Marines working in the field.
The COC software package, hardware and tent facility were originally fielded in 2004, as a turn-key solution to integrate and streamline C2 capabilities across the MAGTF.
“Before COCs, each unit took different software and hardware to the field that was not always interoperable,” said Wally Sorensen, lead systems engineer for the COC Project Office. “Now each unit has the same system to ensure commanders have the best operational picture in battle.”
The system can be scaled to meet the requirements of the unit’s mission.
“This system allows units to only take the network infrastructure they need depending on a particular mission,” said Sorensen. “For example, the largest COC tent facility can support up to 160 client computers intended for the MEF, but can be scaled down to 16 computers for battalions.”
The upgrade is provided on a set of disks for easy installation, and a 24/7 COC Help Desk is available to assist Marines with any technical challenges they encounter.
“This upgrade will improve Marines’ command and control, intelligence [sharing], force protection and logistics efforts,” Sorensen said. “It helps ensure they maintain a fighting edge.”