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U.S. Marine Modernising Communication to Enhance Electronic Preparedness

Over the past few years, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) has begun acquiring new, cutting-edge communication technology to support future battlefield objectives, particularly those that may affect the Indo-Pacific battlespace. Due to future naval warfare that will require increased mobility and active communication to circumvent difficult situations, improving battlefield communication is a major aspect of the Marine Corps’ modernisation efforts to meet this future fight.

The modernisation investments provide Marines capabilities with redundancy and resiliency across the electromagnetic spectrum so Marines can communicate, conduct command and control, increase situational awareness and enable informed decision-making in the battlespace.

The electromagnetic spectrum encompasses the entire range of wavelengths or frequencies of electromagnetic radiation emitted through communication devices, such as radios and tablets. Marine Corps intends to operate effectively in this complex and dynamic environment against adversaries looking to do the same.

To support this goal, the Marine Corps has invested in capabilities that improve communication and increase situational awareness. They ensure that Marines’ communication and navigation systems can continue to operate in a denied, degraded and low-bandwidth electromagnetic environment.

Navigating this environment requires providing the right set of command and control, communication, and situational awareness applications and services when disconnected from the Marine Corps Enterprise Network.

In recent years, MCSC has focused its efforts on providing Marines with ways to securely and effectively transmit data while on-the-move in an ever-evolving battlespace. Networking On-the-Move (NOTM) is a mobile, satellite communication system that enables Marines to connect to networks and communicate while mobile or stationary on the battlefield, enabling flexibility when portions of the electronic spectrum are denied.

The NOTM capabilities provide Marines with internet on the move, similar to inflight internet or cellular service while driving. Marines can employ NOTM to securely transmit critical information to commanders and increase situational awareness in hostile environments. The vehicle kit, which began fielding in 2015, comprises both air and ground capabilities Marines to seamlessly share data and communicate over video and by voice. NOTM can be used on most ground and air platforms.

Navigation systems are also important when operating in electromagnetic environments. The Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) is a next-generation, handheld navigation capability that provides positioning, navigation and timing capabilities to warfighters while executing missions. MGUE enables Marines to operate in an increasingly contested electromagnetic environment. MGUE is effectively a GPS modernisation program designed to increase resiliency and PNT capability in the current and future contested environments. It reflects a natural evolution of GPS technologies.

MCSC has also been developing a family of systems to create an advantage for Marines and joint forces in electronic warfare. In 2020, MCSC began developing the MAGTF Electronic Warfare Ground Family of

Systems (MEGFoS), which helps Marines sense, attack and defend against electromagnetic threats.

MEGFoS is a series of portable technologies that can be used at fixed sites, on tactical vehicles or while dismounted to manoeuvre effectively within the electromagnetic spectrum. It includes common, multiservice interfaces to share information across the joint forces.MEGFoS helps Marines sense, attack and defend against electromagnetic threats, said Bailey. These capabilities comprise a vehicle-mounted electronic technology and counter radio-controlled improvised explosive devices.

This family of systems will enable Marines to command the electromagnetic spectrum against a peer adversary, providing the Marine Corps with the ability to manoeuvre effectively inside the spectrum and deny their adversaries that ability. MCSC also oversees intelligence systems that will help the Marine Corps achieve future goals.

Increased, effective communication is a catalyst in meeting future objectives on the battlefield, said Bailey. This cannot be accomplished without innovative equipment and modern wargaming analytical tools tailored to a 21st-century battlespace.

MCSC is delivering modern capabilities designed to communicate data, support critical decision-making and enable action. The purpose is to deliver the information to Marines in a usable way that makes sense, so they can make decisions that render desired outcomes in communications-disadvantaged environments. Their goal is to make sure the Marines are never in a fair fight and they hope that these investments will give Marines that competitive advantage.

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