Command post of the future is now
Lt. Col. Gregory Coile, previously of the U.S. Army Project Management Office for Battle Command, conducts an operational vignette in a demonstration of the CPOF's battle command and communications capabilities at Fort Monmouth, N.J., in March of 200... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- With nearly 6,000 systems currently fielded, the Command Post of the Future, or CPOF, empowers warfighters to visualize the battle space and synchronize the elements of combat power while simultaneously collaborating and sharing data in near-real time.

It enables users to see and interact with another's workspace, tools, data, and maps as if they were interacting with their own workspace. The CPOF received the 2009 Network Centric Warfare Award for Outstanding U.S. Government Program.

"The ability to have immediate situational awareness of activities occurring in the battlespace, regardless of geographic location, is a very powerful tool," said Lt. Col. Richard Hornstein, Product Manager for Tactical Battle Command.

When a Significant Activity (SigAct), such as an IED occurs in theater, a patrol can send the information through an FM radio to a division operations center where it can be posted onto CPOF's Common Operational Picture, Hornstein said. Instantly, that information is available to each individual in the battle space viewing the same digital map display.

With near real-time awareness of SigActs, units in the vicinity can either move in to provide support or they can steer away to avoid danger, Hornstein said.

In geographically dispersed locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan, CPOF allows commanders to provide updates to either subordinates or superior commanders on a regular basis through battle update assessments.

They can also communicate, collaborate and brief each other without leaving their tactical operation centers. This keeps commanders off of the roads and allows them to provide information on daily activities at the tactical and strategic levels, Hornstein said.

Paired with Voice over Internet Protocol, which enables the user to make and receive telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection, CPOF possesses a potent combination of shared information and voice communication that allows its users to rapidly process, prioritize and respond effectively.

CPOF can be compared to a modern day instant messenger, said 1st. Lt. Sean Calleja, a CPOF operator from the 3/17th Field Artillery, Fort Lewis, Wash. Soldiers can get instant feedback, and hook up headphones to speak directly to a brigade. However, the preferred method is through the chat capability, which prevents people from talking over one another.

"As a CPOF operator, essentially you are going to save lives, because you are a resource manager," Calleja said. "You're managing all of the resources from brigade and all of the things that you need to request, such as close air support."

(This article appeared in Spectra, the magazine of the CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. To access the full issue in PDF format, 3.2 megabytes, click on the link appearing in the Aca,!A"Related LinksAca,!A? box at the start of the article.)