Defense

Marines want industry help with mobility

Shutterstock image: mobile enterprise. 

The U.S. Marines have always been an expeditionary force, and as their reliance on technology has grown, they are finding that their IT systems are not as mobile as they need to be.

That's why Brig. Gen. Dennis Crall, CIO of the Marine Corps, told industry members at the AFCEA Warfighter IT Day that he needs their help.

"We've outrun our communications in many cases," Crall said. "We've got to be able to change on the move. The idea of planning a static mission and then expecting to execute it without a change order is no longer a reality."

And that's why the Marines are focusing on four areas to increase their IT and data mobility to keep up with tactical operations.

First, he said, the Marines must "tame the wild west of applications."

"It is the single number one killer and enabler of what we do and don't do," he said. "When they work, they work well. When you need to have them work in austere environments, at times  they don't work at all."

In particular, he said the Marines want joint standards for applications so the Corps doesn’t  have to reverse-engineer applications used by other services when they conduct joint operations.

Next, Crall said, the Marines are looking for a replacement for the satellite internet standard VSAT, which he said industry has so far shown little interest in providing.

"Mobility involves a post-VSAT world," he said, adding that there is technology out there, but the Marines have yet to find a solution for a heavy-throughput, lightweight and easy-to-power communications technology.

"Anything that's proprietary in that mix -- not interested," he said. "If Marines can't fix it in the middle of Africa, I don't want it."

About the Author

Sean Carberry is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence. Prior to joining FCW, he was Kabul Correspondent for NPR, and also served as an international producer for NPR covering the war in Libya and the Arab Spring. He has reported from more than two-dozen countries including Iraq, Yemen, DRC, and South Sudan. In addition to numerous public radio programs, he has reported for Reuters, PBS NewsHour, The Diplomat, and The Atlantic.

Carberry earned a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and has a B.A. in Urban Studies from Lehigh University.


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Reader comments

Mon, Apr 3, 2017

You report the General has four areas to improve, I only see three: Applications - need to develop a standard across the military, VSAT needs to be updated or replaced again need standards and three no propriety technology. I must have missed the fourth ?

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