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CHIPS Articles: Multinational Board Provides “More Than Just Words” for U.S. and Allied Navies

Multinational Board Provides “More Than Just Words” for U.S. and Allied Navies
By Warrant Officer 2nd Class (Yeoman of Signals) Royal Marines, GBR Trevor Austin, USFF/ Lt. Synlethia Bagwell, NAVIDFOR - December 16, 2014
SUFFOLK, Va. -- The Multinational Maritime Information Services Interoperability Board (M2I2) works to ensure that U.S. and allied navies can share information seamlessly and securely. The last meeting took place in September 2014 in Suffolk, Virginia, to review the latest network capabilities for combined and joint maritime operations. Information exchange is critical in today’s maritime operations and the M212 forum delivers reliable networking and data sharing services to the naval warfighter.

Sponsored by the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6), the M212 mission supports maritime exercises and operations around the world . M2I2 enhances situational awareness and facilitates secure and reliable information exchange. The vision is to provide interoperability across multinational fleets, using network-enabled capabilities sufficiently agile to respond to contingencies and robust enough for sustained naval combat operations.

The core M212 community was established in 2001 after the initiation of Operation Enduring Freedom as a venue for solving interoperability issues. In 2006, M212 was tasked with developing and implementing an operational and technical solution for all CENTRIXS-M enclaves, communities of interest (COI), and other networks deemed a priority for U.S. and coalition forces. CENTRIXS-M is a series of enclaves or networks providing chat, email and instant messaging, with database functionality that allows the U.S. and allied navies to share information in a joint environment. Semi-annual meetings in alternating host countries allow group members to showcase their naval capabilities and their rich national cultures.

M212 membership includes representatives from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, NATO, Netherlands, New Zealand, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

U.S. participants include personnel from the combatant commands and numbered fleets, as well as the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations(OPNAV), U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF), U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) and Navy Information Dominance Forces (NAVIDFOR). Currently there are three primary working groups in the community; the Executive Steering Group (ESG), the Technical and Information Assurance working group (TIAWG), and the Operations and Training Working Group (OTWG).

The ESG is comprised of senior representatives from each member nation and acts as the governing body for M2I2. The Technical and Information Assurance working group is directed by the ESG and is responsible for technical, network and security issues. The the Operations and Training Working Group develops, validates and recommends tactics, techniques and procedures to make the most of M212 capabilities. The OTWG also develops training materials and coordinates with the TIAWG to suggest capability improvements.

Warrant Officer 2nd Class (Yeoman of Signals) Royal Marines, GBR Trevor Austin, U.S. Fleet Forces Command N6 Coalition Communications Officer, said, “M2I2 provides a unique forum that enables the technical and network engineers to solve many issues for the warfighter, in that it keeps CENTRIXS-M up and running in support of day-to-day naval operations. The forum also supports information sharing during large-scale naval exercises such as RIMPAC and Bold Alligator. This forum has the added benefit of increasing your professional network, as many times I used contacts from the M2I2 board to reach out to a partner nation to resolve an interoperability problem.”

M212 continues to improve our ability to deliver joint capabilities precisely, where and when they matter; it is dedicated to achieving unparalleled information sharing and information dominance in the maritime environment. Future plans will continue to support and broaden interoperability, as well as building partnerships and alliances to support combined and joint maritime missions worldwide.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 25, 2014) The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), front, the guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111), the guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) and an unidentified partner ship are underway in a close formation during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 20,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC Exercise from June 26 to Aug.1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dustin Kelling.
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 25, 2014) The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), front, the guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111), the guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) and an unidentified partner ship are underway in a close formation during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 20,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC Exercise from June 26 to Aug.1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dustin Kelling.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 25, 2014) Royal Australian Air Force Air Commodore Chris Westwood, Combined Forces air component commander, tours the control tower aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark El-Rayes.
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 25, 2014) Royal Australian Air Force Air Commodore Chris Westwood, Combined Forces air component commander, tours the control tower aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark El-Rayes.
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