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MCOTEA tests new command, control system

28 Oct 2006 | Pfc. M. Daniel Sanchez

The Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity recently finished a month-long operational assessment of a new command and control system, deemed Common Aviation Command and Control System, Oct. 28 at the Barry M. Goldwater training range.

About 100 Marines from several aviation units throughout the Marine Corps joined forces to evaluate the effectiveness of the first model of the new system during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course.

“(This system) is designed to completely modernize how the Marine Corps does aviation command and control,” said Maj. Lorna Mahlock, Marine Air Command and Control Squadron X officer-on-charge.

The system is also one of three precursors to the development of the Marine Air Ground Task Force command and control system, she said.

The other two systems are the Combat Operations Center, from the ground side, and the Joint Tactical Common Operation Fixture Work Station, from the wing element of the MAGTF.

Once fully operational, the CAC2S is scheduled to replace the programs and single-function section-specific equipment used in the Tactical Air Command, Tactical Air Operations and Direct Air Support Centers, and the Low Altitude Air Defense and the Marine Air Traffic

Control Landing systems with equipment that has a common design with common hardware and software.

In the first assessment, the CAC2S was tested to see if it performs the functions needed to run the TAOC and DASC, said Maj. William Hall, CAC2S test director.

Changes will be made to this initial model based on input from the Marines and data gathered from this assessment, said Hall.

Then, the CAC2S is scheduled to undergo an initial operational test and evaluation involving the two previous centers and the TACC during the next WTI.

During that evaluation, the Marines will give suggestions on improving the system and input on the changes that have been made to that point.

With the common equipment and training, the Marine Corps hopes to realize improved efficiency, better mobility and a smaller overall footprint with deployments, said Mahlock. In fact, the envisioned system can be compacted for laptop use if needed, or be set up as a full operational facility.

It will also allow the Marine Corps to do multiple command and control functions from one location, said Lt. Col. Matthew Sieber, Headquarters Marine Corps Aviation Transformation Task Force.

However, the system is only in the first assessment phase and therefore the primary function of this operational assessment is to gather information about the system and find out what problems the Marines encounter using it, said Mahlock

“The biggest challenge we have right now is the Marines learning how to operate the new system,” said Hall. “(The Marines) have had difficulties learning the specifics on how to
operate and maintain the new system. But that will come with time and experience.”

“We want to make sure we get the right system for the Marine Corps and the Marines who will operate it,” said Sieber. “We won’t accept it unless it does what we want it to do.”

And with this team of outstanding Marines, the Marine Corps will surely get the best system possible, said Mahlock.

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