At that moment, Marine craft (e.g., the advanced amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV)) must transition to their own, organic wireless communications for their maneuver to land. Their wireless networks must enable the Marines to remain in close contact with naval, theater, and even national systems that can supply the requisite knowledge to commanders.
During their drive across the sea toward land, commanders in transit (e.g., in AAAVs) must receive accurate, detailed, up-to-the minute intelligence on enemy dispositions and the current locations of the Marines. They must also be able to give commands to their dispersed forces with high probability of success.
Those Marines that penetrate deep inland must rely on some kind of overhead relay, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or satellites, in order to maintain communication with Marines ashore and the naval forces afloat, to call for fire, and to continue to receive timely intelligence and situational awareness that permits the informed maneuver called for in Chapter 2’s overview (pages 14-15).
While maneuvering inland, these Marines may need to enhance their information superiority by conducting deception and information operations or by having others conduct such operations on their behalf.
Finally, once other land forces such as the Army appear on the scene, the Marine units may need to plug their C4I systems into the Army’s in preference to relying on the purely naval systems. This will allow them to become an integrated part of the Army’s situational awareness picture.
Each of these challenges is unlikely to be adequately addressed by another Service but must be successfully resolved for OMFTS to work as envisioned. Each is therefore a natural priority for Marine Corps R&D in C4I.
In the judgment of the committee, the Marines have done a good job of experimenting with prototype C4I systems in OMFTS-type exercises. The Extending the Littoral Battlespace (ELB) advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) is an excellent case in point. Here the Marines have made a prototype of the C4I network needed for OMFTS and have employed it in their exercises. The ELB prototype, although by no means an operational system, allows a glimpse of the future world in which new, radio-based networks will provide data communications for dismounted Marines, very agile command centers, and long-haul communications for forces deep inland via airborne relays back to ships afloat.
As discussed in Chapter 8, the committee applauds this experimentation despite the severe limitations of the prototype. The Marine Corps is also urged to take this approach one step further. The committee recommends that ONR Code 353’s main focus in C4I should be closely tailored to those Marine Corps-specific requirements imposed by both OMFTS and Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) scenarios. This general philosophy has guided the committee both in its critiques of the existing Code 353 programs and in suggestions for new directions.
This program aims to help the Marine Corps procure commercial off-the-shelf computer equipment that will better withstand the harsh environment in which Marines’ C2 equipment must operate. It intends to proceed along a number of fronts: collect basic environmental information about a number of Marine Corps programs, identify current and emerging families of technologies that might be used in C2 equipment for such programs, perform modeling and analysis to derive environmental guidelines and/or