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CHIPS Articles: U.S. 2nd Fleet Successfully Tests Modular Approach to Joint Task Force Capability During JTFEX 08-4

U.S. 2nd Fleet Successfully Tests Modular Approach to Joint Task Force Capability During JTFEX 08-4
By Cmdr. Eric Johnson - October-December 2008

U.S. 2nd Fleet was the first numbered fleet to successfully test a modular command and control (C2) suite, commonly known as the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator (2FD), during July's Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 08-4.

The 2nd Fleet Demonstrator was derived from the Deployable Joint Command and Control (DJC2) concept. (See the textbox.)

The 2nd Fleet Demonstrator, built by the DJC2 Joint Program Office as a cooperative venture with 2nd Fleet, was an important step in demonstrating a maritime variant of the DJC2 system.

Additionally, the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator met the commander's immediate requirements for a maritime joint task force (JTF) headquarters (HQ) to train and certify as a JTF, as well as performing the JTF afloat mission.

In 2006, 2nd Fleet was tasked to begin the certification process of becoming a designated JTF Capable Headquarters to perform as a JTF or functional component headquarters staff, on behalf of a combatant commander (COCOM).

With assistance from U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and utilizing their DJC2 system, 2nd Fleet successfully certified as a ready JTF Capable HQ in September 2007 during the SOUTHCOM-sponsored multinational exercise, Fuerzas Aliadas/PANAMAX.

Following certification, 2nd Fleet partnered with the DJC2 Joint Program Office to develop and demonstrate a modular version of the DJC2 system and its joint C2 capabilities for use on a maritime platform of the commander's choosing.

Once completed, the modularized DJC2 maritime variant, the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator, was to be tested during JTFEX 08-4 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5).

In July 2008, the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator was delivered, installed and completed successful testing aboard Bataan.

During JTFEX 08-4, 2nd Fleet's C2 capability provided the primary means for the commander to fight the war, and resulted in the completion of four objectives, that included the commander's JTF Capable HQ certification sustainment event, certification of the deploying strike group and 2nd Fleet's Maritime HQ accreditation.


The demonstrator's capabilities included a fully certified and accredited network architecture, which supported 120 laptops, with back-end capacity capable of supporting more than 700, on four networks: NIPRNET, SIPRNET, the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS), and the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Internet.

Capabilities included: VoIP phones with Defense Switch Network (DSN) access, video teleconferencing and collaboration tools: SharePoint; IBM SameTime with buttons 1 and 2; DocuShare; a Jabber server supporting chat; Global Command and Control System-Joint (GCCS-J 4.1)/Internet Common Operational Picture; and all the associated joint planning tools needed to support a JTF commander.

Flag Ship-2nd Fleet Configuration

The 2nd Fleet Demonstrator included four climate-controlled ISO (shipping) containers/modules. Two 8 by 10-foot technical control modules and two 8 by 20-foot staff modules (10 seats each) were placed in the hangar bay aboard Bataan, requiring approximately 650 square feet of space.

Due to limited funding and the proof of concept approach to the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator build, the full complement of six staff modules, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) module, a command module, and standalone power to mirror a standardized 60-seat DJC2 system, were not built.

Instead, the staff leveraged existing “green” spaces to accommodate the additional seating requirements by running a fiber connection to switching equipment located in the Landing Force Operations Center (LFOC) and other spaces on the O-2 level.

2nd Fleet utilized intelligence assets and electrical power provided by Bataan. Furthermore, while the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator was equipped with two gyro-stabilized Sea Tel Ku Band antennas, mounted forward and aft on the flight deck, a fiber connection was run to the ship’s Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) Enhanced Bandwidth Efficient Modem (EBEM) to provide an alternate path for connectivity.

This turned out to be a valuable endeavor and worth the coordination required with Naval Network Warfare Command to get a TEMPALT (temporary alteration) for the installation.

Not only did the TEMPALT provide a reliable secondary path, but it provided NETWARCOM some testing data that proved you can bypass the ship’s Automated Digital Network System (ADNS) entirely, connect directly to the (satellite communications) WSC-6 antenna, and pull Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) services from a Teleport/ Standard Tactical Entry Point (STEP) site.

It is important to point out that the objectives of the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator experiment assigned the primary connectivity path for the demonstrator to be via the two Sea Tel Ku Band antennas provided by Combat Direction Systems Activity, Dam Neck. These Ku-band antennas were not the engineering choice of the Joint Program Office, but borrowed as an acceptable solution and cost-saving measure.

Shore-based testing at the Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding and Carrier Integration Center, prior to the underway period, showed the Sea Tel antennas to be a reliable option; however, once underway, the reliability was less than expected.

As a result, the aft Ku-band antenna was turned off in favor of the alternate path using the Defense Satellite Communications System, leaving just one Ku-band antenna operational.

Bandwidth/Wideband Configuration

Bandwidth for Bataan and the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator was allocated autonomously. The allocation of resources for the exercise is provided below in Figure 1. Bataan was given 1.536 Mbps on the Defense Satellite Communications System, 2.048 Mbps on Commercial Wideband Satellite Program (CWSP) and 512K on the extremely high frequency (EHF) Time Division Multiple Access Inter¬face Processor (TIP).

The 2nd Fleet Demonstrator was allocated 2.048 Mbps on the Defense Satellite Communications System and leased two 2.048 Mbps shots on Ku.

Bataan’s connectivity followed traditional paths via Northwest Teleport Facility/Holmdel Commercial Land Earth Station to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic (NCTAMS LANT) to pull in IP and Defense Information Services Network (DISN) services that included: SIPRNET; NIPRNET; VTC capability; the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System; and plain old telephone service (POTS).

The 2nd Fleet Demonstrator, on the other hand, pulled IP and DISN services via Northwest from the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE). In this instance, the joint 2nd Fleet Demonstrator was autonomously bypassing organic Navy network systems — Bataan’s ADNS via its connection to the Defense Satellite Communications System Enhanced Bandwidth Efficient Modem — to pull DISN services for SIPRNET, NIPRNET, CENTRIXS, NGO Internet and DSN from the Joint Communications Support Element.

This is important because it proves interoperability among the services and provides a means to allow any service to board an X-band capable platform, with portable baseband and network equipment, and pull DISN services from resources supported by that service, without interfering with the ship’s network configuration.


The 2nd Fleet Demonstrator delivered what the commander asked for: a modular C2 suite capable of providing the joint tools and connectivity necessary to fight the war in a maritime environment.

While the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator was space constrained, it was sufficiently robust and scalable enough, without a fully modularized 60-seat DJC2 equivalent, to be effective.

The combination of internal modular seating inside the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator and externally connected green space seating aboard Bataan proved the demonstrator’s adaptability while maintaining a consistent, homogeneous environment from seat to seat regardless of location.

The 2nd Fleet Demonstrator provided a cost-effective, scalable option for the commander with significant operational flexibility, capable of deployments aboard any ship able to host its space requirements.

While the demonstrator was used to test its maritime feasibility, it could easily be moved ashore, and used as a continuity of operations enabler, during contingency operations, or during exercises to provide the commander the ability to maintain training and certification as a JTF HQ.

All in all, the 2nd Fleet Demonstrator delivered the necessary joint tools, collaboration environment and IP services needed to successfully accomplish mission objectives and prove there is value in having a modular DJC2 maritime variant to perform JTF afloat missions.

Cmdr. Eric Johnson was the deputy director of the communication and information systems directorate and a member of the Second Fleet staff during JTFEX 08-4 prior to deploying as an individual augmentee to Afghanistan.

Deployable Joint Command and Control Program

The DJC2 program is a Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff priority transformation initiative that is providing a standardized, rapidly deployable, scalable, and reconfigurable joint command and control (C2) and collaboration combat operations center (COC) system to geographic combatant commanders (GCCs) and component commands.

The joint force commander can use DJC2 to execute operations ranging from a first responder or small early entry forward component up to and including full joint task force (JTF) combat operation center operations. The DJC2 system provides a unique capability required by the joint warfighter that did not exist prior to its development.

The DJC2 system is net-centric from inception, has an open architecture and is fully certified (including transportability and interoperability).

More information is available at

Deployable Joint Command and Control (DJC2)
The DJC2 system design is based on a "Core" 60-seat configuration using open systems architecture. The system is "reconfigurable" to permit the flexible addition of new capabilities with minimum interruption to the operational sys¬tem. Key components of Core system configurations may be combined for large-scale operations.

The delivered system includes four configurations:
• Rapid Response: 5/15-seat standalone, light, highly mobile C2 capability transported by 1-2 persons as carry-on/checked baggage. Provides C2 for first responders and small control teams.
• En Route: 10/20-seat pallet, with airborne C4, basic situational awareness, essential mission planning and execu¬tion. Provides C2 capability while airborne.
• Early Entry: 20/40-seat sheltered fully capable C2 with additional limited C4 capability; 72-96-hour package sup¬porting COC operations prior to arrival of full JTF (i.e., main body). Set up and operational in less than 6 hours.
• Core: 60-seat sheltered; small JTF scales to larger JTF. Set up and operational in less than 24 hours.

The components of a fully fielded DJC2 system include: shelters; infrastructure; power; environmental control; trailers; limited communications equipment (to support en route, early entry, and rapid response operations only); gov¬ernment off-the-shelf (GOTS) C2 and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) office automation and collaboration software applications with operator workstations; displays; intercommunications; local area networks; and access to wide area networks.

DJC2 enables a geographic combatant commander (GCC) to rapidly deploy and activate (in less than 24 hours) a JTF headquarters equipped with a common C2 package with which to plan, control, coordinate, execute, and assess operations across the spectrum of conflict and domestic disaster relief. The DJC2 system provides a unique capability required by the joint warfighter that previously did not exist.

Service: Joint program with Navy as Acquisition Executive.

General Characteristics:
Primary Function: C2 solution for JTF Headquarters
Bandwidth: X Band 6.0 Mb; Ku Band 2.0 Mb
C2 Applications: GCCS-J 4.0.2 (containerized)
Collaboration: Collaborative Information Environment (CIE); Defense Collaboration Tool Suite (DCTS); Information Workspace (IWS)
VTC with plasma video display system
Intelligence: Containerized Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (C-JWICS)/Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System (JDISS)
Communications: USC-60A and -68, Global Broadcast System (GBS), DRSN Phones, Intercom
Infrastructure: Tentage, tables/chairs, generators, environmental control units, cabling
Information Technology: Servers, workstations (laptops), printers, shredders, fax
Tech Support: DJC2 Operations Support Center (DOSC)
Manned 24/7 when system deployed by COCOM
Fly-away teams available for troubleshooting
DJC2 Support Portal with online access to DOSC products/processes,
Training: Delivery and Web-based training
25 days hands-on training at COCOM
75 Web-based training modules (through portal)
Job Aids: More than 60 laminated aids and interactive electronic technical manuals available online or by CD with search feature
– Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition

Figure 1.  Flagship Wideband Configuration.
Figure 1.
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