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.