ONR, Marines blend logistics into Agile Bloodhound

Mobile battlefield networks are largely seen as data-sharing tools—a way to get critical information to warfighters at the right time. But they’re also a way to get critical supplies to them in just as timely a manner.

The Marines demonstrated that this month in Hawaii during Agile Bloodhound, an annual exercise sponsored by the Office of Naval Research that tests new technologies in an integrated environment. For this exercise, the fourth in the series, ONR and the Marine Corps added logistics to its workout of mobile devices, collaboration tools and automation software.

“Logistics are a vital component of warfare,” John Moniz, program manager in ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department, said in a release. “Integrating logistics [command and control] into the common operation picture will provide commanders with a more complete situational awareness, thereby improving decision-making.”

In live and simulated scenarios at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Marines tapping into a mobile network worked to get supplies delivered quickly, despite dealing with unexpected hurdles, like a tree blocking a road way that forced them to collaborate to find an alternate route. ONR said. With a tactical vehicle service as mobile network command node, Marines used serverless chat, group messaging and content-sharing systems for both person-to-person and group communications. The systems also allow for large file transfers, regardless of whether users were connected the infrastructure network and servers.

Agile Bloodhound also includes Command and Control for Logistics technologies that allow company-level units using a mobile app to generate daily logistics status reports.

“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.”

Like other editions of Agile Bloodhound, this year’s exercise builds on existing technologies in an effort to move the Marine Corps toward the “knowledge-based force” outlined in its Information Enterprise Strategy.

Past exercises have worked on integrating such things as self-adapting radios, location technologies, smartphones, tablets, and streaming real-time feeds from unmanned aerial aircraft.

In addition to ONR and the 3rd Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion 3, Agile Bloodhound is supported by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, Marine Corps Systems Command, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and the Naval Research Laboratory.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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