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CHIPS Articles: Elite USMC lab hosts technology demonstration

Elite USMC lab hosts technology demonstration
By Sky Laron, Marine Corps Systems Command - September 8, 2017
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.—Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity hosted elements of the Agile Bloodhound 2017 integration and demonstration event Aug. 7-17 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Agile Bloodhound is an annual Office of Naval Research event that highlights science and technology efforts supporting expeditionary warfighters.

“The pace of modern warfare requires the ability to rapidly and reliably communicate information between all levels of command,” said Maj. Thomas Haakensen, Marine integration officer for ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combatting Terrorism (Code 30). “At Agile Bloodhound 17, we were able to demonstrate many new technologies that enable us to send and receive information more efficiently to and from the tactical edge of the network.”

The intent of these technologies is to enable information dissemination in the bandwidth-constrained environments often seen in tactical communications, said Haakensen.

The assistance provided by many organizations aboard Camp Pendleton through the use of facilities, Marine expertise and communications equipment made this possible, said Haakenson.

“Some of the unique capabilities that MCTSSA provides, such as technical expertise, enhanced our demonstration,” he said.

“Additionally, MCTSSA subject matter experts benefited through what was often hands-on exposure to new technologies and capabilities that are helping shape the future of C2 on the battlefield,” said Mike O'Neil, MCTSSA senior principal engineer.

“Our team supports field testing being conducted by the technicians and experts who will create the next generation of devices, sensors, programs and applications,” said Col. Robert Bailey, MCTSSA commanding officer. “[These technologies] must integrate seamlessly with Marines on the ground—at the tip of the spear—who are bringing the fight to the enemy. Improving how we communicate and share information from the fire team upwards, and how that information is shared with the Combat Operations Center and vice versa, is really at the heart of what we are supporting for this exercise.”

Participants included personnel from the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, various University Research Labs, MCTSSA engineers and Marines from the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

During the event, 1st LAR Marines used specialized Android-based tablets called the Kinetic Integrated Low-cost SoftWare Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld (KILSWITCH).

“We’ve been using [KILSWITCH] for the past few days and it has worked really well and has a lot of capability,” said Cpl. Timothy Visoskas, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion driver.

These new capabilities will provide more information across the battlefield, informing Marines and making them more agile, flexible and adaptable.

“It’s pretty cool once you learn it,” said Visoskas.

MCTSSA, the only elite full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

To learn more about MARCORSYSCOM, visit www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil and www.facebook.com/marinecorpssystemscommand.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ben Major (far-right), 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion platoon sergeant, tests a handheld device during Agile Bloodhound 2017 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 11. The Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, or MCTSSA, hosted elements of the Agile Bloodhound 2017 integration and demonstration event Aug. 7-17.  U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sky M. Laron
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ben Major (far-right), 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion platoon sergeant, tests a handheld device during Agile Bloodhound 2017 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 11. The Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, or MCTSSA, hosted elements of the Agile Bloodhound 2017 integration and demonstration event Aug. 7-17. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sky M. Laron
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