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A logistics common operating picture for Millennium Challenge 2002.

Information Age technologies are changing the way the joint force collects, processes, disseminates, and displays information. New command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) technology provides combatant and joint task force (JTF) commanders with a common relevant operating picture (CROP), or situational awareness, of the battlespace. The CROP enhances operational and tactical command of joint forces across the full spectrum of conflict and enhances survivability, lethality, and mobility.

The CROP for Millennium Challenge 2002, which was conducted last summer at the Joint Training and Analysis Center in Suffolk, Virginia, included a logistics common operating picture (Log COP) display. The Log COP emulated a technical capability envisioned for 2007 that will be able to fred and present only the most relevant information that logisticians need to make informed decisions and act speedily.

The Experiment

Millennium Challenge 2002 (MC02) was the Nation's premier joint integrating event that brought together live field exercises and computer simulations. Sponsored by the U.S. Joint Forces Command, MC02 focused on how to wage rapid, decisive operations against a determined enemy existing in 2007. The individual services also folded their specific transformation experiments into MC02 and evaluated a number of emerging joint concepts, objectives, warfighting challenges, and technologies to support the joint force in an upper-end, small-scale contingency.

In preparation for MC02, the U.S. Joint Forces Command Joint Logistics Transformation Center developed a joint vision of a fully integrated information presentation that would provide situational awareness and operational planning assistance to the warfighter. That vision was the basis for the MC02 Log COP display.

Transformational Log COP Display

The transformational Log COP display presents timely, integrated, accurate, and relevant information that is tailored to meet the combatant and joint force commanders' requirements. Its purpose is to display common information for every organization at every echelon and to provide a common situational understanding and awareness across the logistics community vertically (through echelons) and horizontally (across functions and components).

The Log COP display is a Web-based, "information-centric" environment that contains a virtual warehouse of data and joint logistics decision support tools. Sophisticated information management and dissemination tools reveal dynamic, shareable, real-time, actionable information. Once the Log COP is fully developed, individuals at each echelon will be able to access all of the data and update information directly from their locations.

In an operational environment, the combatant commander's staff logisticians will build an initial Log COP for each of the regional combatant commander's focus areas. The initial Log COP is based on concept plan information. The objective is to have an initial Log COP on the shelf ready for any contingency operation within the commander's theater. With a Log COP designed and built before activation of a JTF, the commander can use it to the best advantage and gain control of the logistics pipeline early. During crisis action planning and execution, the combatant command Log COP is updated continually and is available to the JTF and service or functional components for use and refinement. (A functional component is a command normally composed of forces of two or more military services that is established across the range of military operations to perform particular operational missions.)

The MC02 Log COP was developed using the Joint Logistics Transformation Center's Log COP vision as a guide and the Share Point Portal Server (SPPS) from the Experimental Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (XC4I) System as the software application. The SPPS is a new Intranet application from Microsoft that allows users to store, search, and manage documents. With SPPS, users can develop their own unique common operating picture.

During MC02, the designated "knowledge manager" provided the basic SPPS pages to the primary participants from the combatant command, the JTF, and service or functional components. The logisticians took on the task of customizing an SPPS page to use as the Log COP.

Log COP Operations

The MC02 Log COP provided users access to current relevant logistics data, information, and tools. The one-page Log COP portal had four sections: the Log Watchboard, the Tools Section, the Workspace and Map Section, and the Information Section. The displays in each section were based primarily on the information and tools essential to logisticians.

The Log Watchboard provided near-real-time monitoring of the flow of critical classes of supply across critical nodes and lines of communication.

The Tools Section contained a full range of integrated decision support tools and joint information systems that provided visibility, planning, and a course of action analysis for the joint theater logistics manager. Among the "tools" available were the Global Combat Support System, Global Command and Control System, Global Transportation Network Exercise System, Joint Total Asset Visibility, Joint Forces Capability Register, Joint Logistics Tools, Port and Airfield Collaborative Environment, Integrated Consumable Item Support Module, Logistics Planning Generator, and Transportation Distance Planning Tool. The Joint Operational Planning/Execution System, Joint Flow and Analysis System for Transportation, Sustainment Generator, and Theater Medical Information Program also were available to MC02 logisticians but not directly through the Log COP.

The Workspace and Map Section provided integrated collaborative tools, which enabled real-time planning and execution from one end of the pipeline to the other, and a common operating picture, which provided operational situational awareness along with relevant port and infrastructure data. Planning information stored in this section included aircraft bed-down sites, combatant command distribution and support plans, component links, U.S. Transportation Command and Defense Logistics Agency links, and map Web sites such as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.

The Information Section provided current data for various logistics functional areas. Relevant common information was stored, displayed, and archived there for access by multiple users, which reduced the need to maintain the same information at several locations while increasing overall system efficiency and reducing bandwidth requirements. Information stored there included strategic airflow schedules, ship manifests, and data on strategic-sustainment cargo flights, common-user land transportation assets, pre-positioned stocks afloat, planned contract support, and available host nation support.

During MC02, all joint effects-based planning meetings were held in a collaborative information environment. (At the operational and tactical levels, "effects-based planning" means that the desired effects, not the identification of targets to attack, guide planning. Planners derive targets from the desired effects, not the other way around.) The relationship between development of the course of action and planning for deployment started with the assignment of effects-based missions from the prioritized effects list to the service or functional components. The components, collaborating with the JTF, developed their courses of action and selected the best means to accomplish the assigned tasks. The JTF synchronized and sequenced the force flow based on the prioritized effects list and time-phased force and deployment data.

As planning progressed, the prioritized effects list, course of action, and all of the deployment and employment data were kept current and available on the Log COP. Resulting products, such as a logistics staff estimate and logistics and transportation feasibility assessments, became part of the logistics portion of the effects tasking order and also were posted on the Log COP.

After the first effects tasking order was published and execution began, the process became iterative and the Log COP became the source of all execution and planning materials. For example, the engineers continually updated the distribution plan as road conditions and transporters changed and as requirements and destination shifts occurred. The Log COP was the central location for a single, real-time plan, prepared and maintained by several different functional area logisticians for warfighters.

The Logistics Action Response Board, a JTF-level board composed of key logisticians from the combatant command, the JTF, and the service or functional components, was tasked to ensure a smooth and complete exchange of information; achieve synchronized sustainment, employment, transportation engineering, and medical operations; and address issues that exceeded the ability of routine staff work to resolve. Relevant common information about the board, including its daily schedule, agenda, current issues, and meeting minutes, was posted on the Log COP.

Future Collaborative Information Environments

During MC02, the participating logisticians assessed the Log COP by responding to a questionnaire about navigation, features, utility, and layout. Feedback from all levels was positive.

One of the greatest single challenges in the development of a Log COP is ensuring that its basic structure is common across all the regional combatant commands, JTFs, and service or functional components. This eliminates the need for many disparate systems that do not communicate with each other and establishes common points for planning and decisionmaking. The concept for a Log COP begins with a clear understanding of the warfighters' logistics information needs and includes the capabilities of the various logistics functional areas to provide information (always keeping in mind that access is never more than "two clicks away"). A standard design also reduces training requirements when users transfer from location to location.

The MC02 Log Watchboard emulated a year 2007 real-time reporting system. Although the reporting system was technologically limited during MC02, the conceptual requirement for the Log Watchboard was validated. An enterprise solution that embraces all of the services is needed now to make the Log Watchboard viable in the future. Many of the data sources and tools also require separate passwords and public key infrastructure authorization. Log COP must be a one-password system.

Through a great deal of collaboration, the participants in MC02 refined and improved the Log COP. The MC02 Log COP, which continues to evolve, is the prototype for future collaborative information environments.

The final Log COP, expected to be available during the 2020 to 2025 timeframe, will--

* Provide visibility of all personnel and assets in the pipeline.

* Eliminate separate logistics reporting.

* Automatically generate and assess supply requirements.

* Gather and manipulate information.

* Allocate optimal routes and carriers.

The Log COP will enable seamless information processing and will have multilevel security partitioning so allied and coalition forces can participate. It will compare information from disparate sources and resolve inconsistencies and ambiguities before they become actionable. The Log COP of the future will be able to project actions or activities 48 to 96 hours in advance.

The joint planning and execution community should support an effort headed by the Joint Staff, J-4; the U.S. Transportation Command; the Joint Deployment Process Office; and the Joint Logistics Transformation Center to continue development of the Log COP. Every possible venue should be explored to gain information on applications and technologies that would further its maturity and get it into the hands of the regional combatant commanders.

Harry E. Waters is a senior military analyst with Alion Science and Technology, which provides contract support to the Joint Futures Lab, J-9, U.S. Joint Forces Command, in Norfolk, Virginia. He has a bachelor's degree in biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a master's degree in management from Webster College in Missouri. A veteran of 21 years of Army service, he is a graduate of the Field Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Airborne Course, and the Army Command and General Staff College.
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Author:Waters, Harry E.
Publication:Army Logistician
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:1821
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