ities come at a high cost in bandwidth. Using a hybrid of
commercial and tactical communications, we have
pushed that capability further down the chain of command so the Marine who needs the time-sensitive information can receive it and quickly act.
A lot of technological advances mean more
gear. How do you keep from stacking the
Marines with more stuff while at the same
time providing them with the best capabilities?
ALLEN: As we move forward, the Marine Corps will
continue to look for technologies that take advantage of
smaller circuitry and form-factors that compliment a
Marine’s equipment. Increased capabilities will not necessarily mean more gear to the individual Marine. As
we move toward net-centric warfare, integration of a
variety of communications systems and improved user-interfaces will help ease this burden.
Networking the individual Marine is a weight-saving
measure that will make the Marine more lethal on the
battlefield. However, we need to be mindful of the fact
that increased capability can also mean increased complexity. The challenge will be to identify a balance
between capability, weight and complexity and ensure
the individual Marine receives the training he needs to
execute the mission assigned.
the Marine Corps. There are numerous worldwide
hacker threats to defend against to include criminals,
terrorists, “hacktivists,” insiders and nation states.
To stop this, we’re doing everything we can. In order
to prevent disclosing too much information on specific defensive initiatives, I will simply say that we have
increased user-awareness training on the different
threats to the network, continue to aggressively patch
vulnerabilities, and update antivirus definitions and
network sensors to keep intruders out of the Marine
What are some of the top technological challenges of the irregular warfare in Iraq and
ALLEN: Because of the dispersed nature of the battlefields in Iraq, the requirement for lower-echelon units to
access the DISN for data, voice and, in some cases, video
services has grown exponentially over the last few years.
For example, the advances in UAVs, with streaming real-time video and biometrics, has greatly increased ability
to quickly execute missions based on near-real-time
actionable intelligence, yet both of these critical capabil-
What are some “leap-ahead” technologies
you’ve spoken about?
ALLEN: Our leap-ahead technologies for our tactical
network primarily focus on two things — increased
capacity and improved mobility. These two areas
enhance the Marine Corps’ ability to conduct Ship-to-Objective-Maneuver operations in a net-centric environment.
To that end, we are currently looking at radio and
wireless technologies that can support an IP-based
mobile ad-hoc network. This RF terrestrial layer, along
with advancements in satellite modems, both commercial and military-developed, will be expected to fill the
need for that high bandwidth on-the-move/over-the-horizon network supporting a multitude of applications to include real-time services such as streaming
video from ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platforms.
Industry continues to move the technology forward,
which eventually increases our capability of providing
the type of communications and networking backbone
that can make advanced operating concepts, such as
Distributed Operations, a reality. What we need to focus
on is taking that technology and fitting it to the military
unique features that we require, like advanced transmission security, acceleration and prioritization of traffic,
and operation within military frequency bands. ■