John Bowyer (right), project lead and senior network engineer for Security Applications International Corporation, explains the Mission Command Configuration Center (MC3) layout to Brandon Strait, program manager, SAIC, at Fort McCoy, Wis. The MC3 will allow deploying brigade-sized elements to update mission command systems to align with the area of operations where they will be operating.
John Bowyer (right), project lead and senior network engineer for Security Applications International Corporation, explains the Mission Command Configuration Center (MC3) layout to Brandon Strait, program manager, SAIC, at Fort McCoy, Wis. The MC3 will allow deploying brigade-sized elements to update mission command systems to align with the area of operations where they will be operating. (Photo Credit: Zachary Mott) VIEW ORIGINAL

In May, the Fort McCoy Mission Command Configuration Center moved into Phase 3 of construction in preparation for support of large-scale mobilization operations on the installation.

The MC3 will work with pre-mobilized brigade’s mission command systems to ensure those systems are updated for the brigade’s upcoming mission.

“The purpose of the MC3 is to take their current configurations and update them to what specific area of responsibility they’re going to, so whatever mission partner environment they’re falling into, that environment may require changes to the mission command system,” Brandon Strait, the program manager for Science Applications International Corporation, said.

Once configurations and updates to command systems have been made, the MC3 will then ensure that the command systems of brigades and partner nations will be able to communicate seamlessly.

“The purpose of the MC3 is to not only make those changes but to then connect to their theater downrange and actually test and validate that their systems are operational on their network,” Strait said.

Fort McCoy was chosen as one of the nine locations to begin construction of an MC3 by First Army because of the installation’s role in large-scale pre-mobilization training.

“Soldiers will be flowing through Fort McCoy to exercise their Mission Essential Task List, their Soldier Readiness Program process and at the same time they need a facility that is going to support placing their mission command systems and their warfighting functions onto a mission partner network,” John Bowyer, the MC3 senior network engineer for SAIC, said.

Bowyer further explains how the MC3 will satisfy that need.

“The MC3 serves a need due to the fact that during a large-scale mobilization operation there is little to no time to exercise the ability to take the equipment and place their mission command systems on a network to operate with coalition forces,” he said.

As a concept, the MC3 was identified as a need based on the U.S. Army Forces Command digital integration guide, with proofs of concept executed last year at Camp Shelby, Miss., and Camp Atterbury, Ind.

“Based upon lessons learned from those proofs of concepts, FORSCOM developed the digital integration guide and they developed a four stage process of what it would take to digitally integrate systems onto another network,” Bowyer said. “That digital integration guide drives the requirement and tells us what we need to perform.”

With the beginning of Phase 3, the Fort McCoy MC3 moved into the phase that Bowyer describes as where things really start to pick up.

“Once the units have the equipment they need to convert their systems onto a coalition network, they start the Joint Membership Existing Instructions process and they start the coordination process with the theater they are going to,” Bowyer said. “When they arrive to the MC3, we give their systems that final push to get them onto the new coalition network. This is solely based upon lessons learned and the recommendation from the FORSCOM digital integration guide.”

The Fort McCoy MC3 is slated to be completed in the summer of 2021.