Key leaders meet to view present and future communications assets

25 Apr 2003 | Capt. John Payne, DACT Project Officer and Capt. Chad Walton, Systems Command PAO

Key Marine decision makers met in April to view a demonstration of the Data Automated Communications Terminal and discuss the future of Marine Corps communications technology used by the Ground Combat Element.

The purpose of the demonstration was to educate the key decision makers on the current command and control, communications and computer assets that were fielded to the Middle East before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom and other equipment that will be fielded to the rest of the operational forces in the very near future.

"I think our demo goals were accomplished," said Capt. John G. Payne Jr., Marine Corps Systems Command Ground Command and Control Project Officer.  "We showed key Marine decision makers our current and future Ground Situational Awarenes systems that bring Marine commanders a clearer picture of rapidly-changing battle spaces."

"Instantly knowing unit locations on the battlefield has several advantages, one of the most important being it reduces the risk of "friendly fire" incidents in hostile situations," said Payne. "It also allows commanders to automate and greatly accelerate the process of identifying potential enemy targets and getting them prosecuted with combined arms."

The DACT is a subnotebook-sized handheld computer with an embedded Global Positioning System and a dual-channel tactical modem for tactical radio communication, said Wes Ahlgren, a DACT program manager from Ocean Systems Engineering Company. The DACT is a rugged terminal for use in a tactical combat environment.

General Catto summed up the DACT's successful fielding to Marines headed for war.
"Our guys are the only ones on the battlefield with digital systems down to the company level," said Catto. "In the fall we'll have it (digital systems) down to the platoon level.?

The attendees at the demonstration included Systems Commands' BGen. William Catto, BGen. Frank Panter, CG Warfighting Lab, BGen. Kenneth Glueck, Director, Expeditionary Force Development Center, BGen. John Thomas, Marine Corps Chief Information Officer, SES-2 Robert Hobart, Deputy Commander, C4I Integration, MCSC, and SES-4 Michael Decker, Assistant Director, Intelligence.?

Marine Corps Systems Command