FORT EUSTIS, Va., Sept. 19, 2011 -- Knowing the contents and locations of multiple supply vessels at sea provides land commanders the flexibility to adapt to changing missions, and a new deployable logistics center will soon provide that needed situational awareness.
"Harbormaster Command and Control Center (HCCC) enables and speeds the supply chain by allowing the commander to have a Common Operating Picture (COP), to see where his supplies are and help prioritize the delivery," said Lt. Col. Terry Wilson, former product manager for Command Post Systems and Integration, or CPS & I, to which HCCC is assigned. "The digitized process allows the commander and his harbormaster detachment to see farther in distance and time by using the tools HCCC provides to see where vessels are worldwide."
The HCCC Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, or IOT & E, was conducted at Fort Eustis, Va., from Sept. 12-16. HCCC was fielded to its first unit for the IOT & E, with the remaining six systems to be fielded by the end of fiscal year 2013. This deployable and tactically mobile system is used to manage harbors, ports and beaches -- the littoral environment -- in Overseas Contingency Operations.
Fielding the new Harbormaster Command Post Systems, provides logistics Commanders the ability to command and control within harbors, ports and shipping, ensuring route security as Army logistics transitions by sea from blue water to brown. It provides the Army logistician the sensors and knowledge management tools to establish and maintain situational awareness and mission command.
"Where there's a harbor and a mission, wherever the military wants to go, that's where the harbormaster will go," said Maj. Michael J. Williams, assistant product manager, Harbormaster Command and Control Center, or HCCC. "It can conduct a humanitarian effort, or go into a full-spectrum operation where Marines fight and take the beach. The harbormaster can follow quickly behind, an operation D-day type of role, bringing in follow-on forces and supplies."
The sensors and communications capabilities of HCCC provide situational awareness of vessels and shore logistics, allowing the operator to direct shipping or receiving assets. The harbormaster provides the operational picture of current and future operations on the sea and can utilize that information and provide it to the commander when necessary.
"It's going to enable the supply chain and speed delivery of equipment from sea to shore," said Gerald O'Keefe, project leader HCCC.
Wilson, who has accepted the position of Research, Development and Engineering Command , or RDECOM, III Corps' Science and Technology Officer, said that HCCC was created from the integration of existing Army and Navy systems, which reduced the cost of developing new systems and software, and saved time, effort and taxpayer dollars. It is also supportable with the Army's existing infrastructure.
Although the harbormaster program initially lacked full funding and a clear path forward, the CPS & I team was able to work with the requirement offices and other Army organizations to propose a course of action for harbormaster detachments. The proposed kit was a combination of currently fielded Army and Navy systems pulled together as a system of systems that would shorten the fielding timeline while meeting all of the necessary requirements.
It also minimized risk, since the integrated systems were already fielded and only needed minor adjustments. Not only did the Army fully fund the program, but it made sure that the funding was in near term years so the system could be built and fully fielded to the seven harbormaster detachments.
"At the end of the day the Army won, because it will be a system that automatically transitions to sustainment. It already is leveraging existing systems and it reduced the cost by more than $20 million," Wilson said.
Because of the situational awareness harbormaster will provide, supply chains from sea to shore will be more fluid and flexible. As land-based commanders' intent changes, or if the mission changes, they will be able to more easily modify and support various efforts.
"If the commander anticipates two weeks of fighting to capture a capital city and it only takes three days, the Harbormaster will provide the situational awareness that allows the commander to quickly switch from a kinetic fight to a humanitarian mission," Williams said.
HCCC will also reduce the error factor in the supply chain and allow supply to be prioritized based off of the combatant commander's intent, Williams said.
"For the first time, the harbormaster will be able to take the ground commander's intent and run with it," Williams said. "It allows him to be more proactive in a command and control mode and to meet the commander's intent without having to take up his time."
At its core is the Rigid Wall Shelter, or RWS, which mounts on up-armored Humvees. The RWS is based on a Standard Integrated Command Post System, or SICPS, Command Post Platform, or CPP, modified with different radios and applications. The RWS contains the Global Command and Control System, or GCCS, which provides mission command at the highest levels of the Army and interfaces with Joint systems.
RWS also connects to Secure Internet Protocol Router/Non-secure Internet Protocol Router, or SIPR/NIPR, Access Point, or SNAP, satellite system which provides Ku and Ka band satellite connectivity to the Army's WIN-T communications network and to commercial providers. Another component of the system is Battle Command Sustainment Support System, known as BCS3, a sustainment mission command system that provides actionable logistics information to Commanders in near-real time.
The Trailer Mounted Support System-Medium, or TMSS-M, is a tent with a trailer supporting 18 kilowatt generator and an environment control unit.
Based on the Navy Trailer-mounted Sensor Platform, or TSP, system, the Harbormaster TSP, or HTSP, has a hydraulic mast mounted radar with dual mast mounted video cameras -- video and infrared. Commercial off the shelf based software controls the radar and video.
Harbormaster can communicate through NIPR/SIPR, and multiple military and commercial radios. It was created to work in a Joint environment with GCCS databases enabling a shared common operating picture. Since the Harbormaster works in Joint logistics over the shore operations, the Harbormaster rarely works alone. Usually the Army, Navy, and other organizations such as the Military Sea Lift Command are on location working side-by-side to coordinate traffic in the ocean and littoral environment.
"We're supposed to be the second group on the beach," O'Keefe said. "The first guys are the Marines or the Army Soldiers who secure the beach, and then we go on, set everything up, and say, 'this is where you land, and this is where you go.'"
The harbormaster has a requirement to operate in two geographically separate areas. Because terrain features often block communications or sometimes the operating picture is just too large, harbormaster has a main and a remote configuration to cover multiple mission requirements.
"As we progress down the road of a network-centric warfighting capability, with harbormaster we have now tied in a piece of the supply chain, which gives commanders that much more information, flexibility, and situational awareness," said Lt. Col. Carl J. Hollister, PdM for CPS & I.