Special delivery: Marines dial up faster logistics at tech demo
Marines in Hawaii recently demonstrated that handheld devices and automation software could speed delivery of critical supplies to the front lines and even help planners determine when and where items will be needed ahead of time.
Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the fourth annual Agile Bloodhound demonstration took place Oct. 15-16 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with help from several partner organizations and Marines from the 3rd Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion 3.
Last year at Agile Bloodhound, Marines showed how the integration of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets—such as imagery from an unmanned aircraft sensor—and command-and-control (C2) capabilities could get the right information to Marines on the front lines at the right time.
This year's demonstration added logistics to the mix, with Marines using a mobile network, handheld devices and other technologies to share information in real time with personnel in multiple locations about who needs what and the best supply routes to use.
"Logistics are a vital component of warfare," said John Moniz, program manager in ONR's Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department. "Integrating logistics C2 into the common operation picture will provide commanders with a more complete situational awareness thereby improving decision-making."
Marines at Agile Bloodhound used distributed information systems that link operations, logistics and intelligence assets, allowing planners to adapt to changing situations in real-time and even anticipate demands from the front lines.
Agile Bloodhound included both live and simulated scenarios in which Marines were faced with unforeseen obstacles such as a downed tree blocking a roadway. In that instance, personnel received automatic alerts on handheld devices and quickly determined an alternate route to deliver supplies.
"This kind of seamless, real-time exchange of information is critical to providing effective support to Marines at the tactical edge," said Capt. Benjamin Pimentel. "These technology demonstrations continue to present the art of the possible to the operational, requirements and acquisition communities in order to shape the future of C2 technologies."
Some of the many technologies used during this year's Agile Bloodhound include:
Serverless chat, group messaging and content-sharing systems that allows person-to-person and group communications, as well as large file transfers, even for those not connected to infrastructure network and servers.
Mobile Modular Command, Control and Communications that uses a tactical vehicle to provide networking capabilities on the move. Command and Control for Logistics technologies that include a mobile app for company-level units to generate and submit daily logistics status reports that can be viewed by planners on a secure website.
The Navy and Marine Corps continue to move to a data-centric strategy to enable development of more interoperable and cost-effective technologies. Agile Bloodhound supports the Marine Corps' Information Enterprise Strategy to develop a "knowledge-based force" that uses seamless communications to improve decision-making and mission execution.