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CHIPS Articles: MCTSSA trains Marines on Networking On-the-Move

MCTSSA trains Marines on Networking On-the-Move
By Sky Laron, Marine Corps Systems Command - September 19, 2017
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.—Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity communications analysts provided Marines over-the-shoulder training on the unique Networking On-the-Move, or NOTM, Command and Control capability Sept. 12, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

"Communication on the battlefield is a force multiplier," said Col. Robert Bailey, MCTSSA commanding officer. "We send analysts and experts from our Operating Forces Support Group into the field and ensure units that request our technical expertise get the support they need."

NOTM extends command and control capabilities from rear Combat Operations Centers to commanders and their staffs while they are on-the-move and beyond line of sight in tactical vehicles.

The Marine Corps began fielding the system in 2013 on the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle platforms, and following rigorous amphibious testing by MCTSSA and the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at Camp Pendleton, NOTM was also fielded on the Assault Amphibious Vehicle in 2014.

“Our primary mission is to help with any questions and provide assistance when needed,” said Olin Kirkland, a NOTM analyst supporting MCTSSA’s OFS Group. “We make sure everything is functional and upgraded according to the latest maintenance instructions.”

With NOTM, wideband satellite communications and redundant transmission paths enable mobile forces to collaborate, access information, and exchange voice, video, email, chat and common operational picture information while on-the-move at the tactical edge.

Although some units have had NOTM capability for several years, the technology is new for others. For many junior Marines, this could be the first time they are using the specialized equipment.

“I like being in the field and getting the hands-on experience with what we are going to use in the real world,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Harned, a cyber networking operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group.

Harned said the biggest take away from the event was the knowledge being shared by MCTSSA personnel.

“They have taken the time to go through everything with us and really show us what to do,” said Harned. “You can’t just shake your head and say you got it. You have to know it, and they’ve been very helpful.”

Having as many Marines as possible trained on the system is a priority, said Dylan Cummiford, a NOTM analyst supporting MCTSSA’s OFS Group.

“Anytime we can get fresh minds spun up and trained, it’s only going to help the NOTM program,” Cummiford said.

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.

U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Kirsten Adams (right), a radio operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, receives over-the-shoulder Networking On-the-Move training from Dylan Cummiford (left), a NOTM analyst supporting MCTSSA’s Operating Forces Support Group, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 12.  U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sky M. Laron
U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Kirsten Adams (right), a radio operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, receives over-the-shoulder Networking On-the-Move training from Dylan Cummiford (left), a NOTM analyst supporting MCTSSA’s Operating Forces Support Group, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 12. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sky M. Laron
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