Marine Corps Systems Command recently launched the Technical Management and Analysis Directorate – or TMAD – in an effort to modernize the Marine Corps Enterprise Network, or MCEN. The MCEN is an interconnected “network of networks” that connects service personnel, architecture, processes, physical and logical topology, and cyber operations. In accordance with planning directives from Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger—which stress the need for enterprise computer engineering and the fundamental importance of meeting peer competitors on a complex future battlefield—this decision further supports the commander’s Force Design 2030 goals. .
“I would say that the modernization of the network is essential to obtain a deterrent effect. This is our role in the larger ‘whole of government’ effort, ensuring that our ability to project power on future battlefields is unmatched,” said Keegan Mills, MARCORSYSCOM’s highly skilled expert and chief information and technology officer. cybernetics for TMAD.
“The MCEN allows the combatant working in a tactical environment to stay connected to the garrison. We provide them with an authoritative source of data that they can access in future battles. This increases their capability and lethality as they fight future combat,” explained Luis Velazquez, Chief Technology Officer at MARCORSYSCOM’s Systems Engineering and Acquisition Logistics Branch.
Currently, TMAD – formerly known as Task Force Aquila – is responsible for undertaking a process-driven approach to tracking significant enterprise-level changes to MCEN, ultimately providing technical assessments, performance and threat of proposed changes to the network and ensuring that network modernization decisions are well-informed. More than 50 Department of the Navy organizations and supporting agencies regularly contribute to the MCEN, often implementing changes without having a good understanding of the corporate network. The monitoring that TMAD provides for these contributions or changes is invaluable.
“I would say we took the issue of configuration management and architectural understanding of the MCEN out of the park,” Mills said. “The process our team has developed to maintain the network architecture in the data is phenomenal.”
Still, with the prospect of a program-specific lab where experiments can be conducted on MCEN’s digital twin on the horizon, the engineering manager believes his team’s impact will be even greater in the future. coming.
“When you think about the digital twin, it helps to think about the car you’re driving,” Velazquez explained. “Imagine you have a model in a computer that shows all the parts of your vehicle – including tires, battery, engine, etc.”
“We’re not just modernizing to solve what ails us today, we’re making sure we’re ready for the challenges of tomorrow.” Luis Velazquez, Chief Technology Officer at MARCORSYSCOM’s Systems Engineering and Acquisition Logistics Branch
“If you wanted to make changes to your car’s engine, you would first need to access the digital twin and see how the changes would affect your system. After running a simulation, you might find that changing the weight of your engine could change the way your brakes react. In a nutshell, this is what the digital twin does; it helps to make interdependencies apparent and thus enables a better decision-making process.
Yet, as the team focuses on modernizing the network, they never lose sight of future threats, striving to understand the technical risks present in our ever-changing cyber world.
“While it behooves us to determine what the future battlespace will look like, historically, we don’t always get it right. So what we’re doing is building a capacity that can adapt to whatever the situation throws at us. It’s about building deterrence to make sure we can handle this,” Mills said.
“We’re not just modernizing to solve what ails us today, we’re making sure we’re ready for the challenges of tomorrow,” Velazquez said. “We are working on future interoperability, future extensibility and future extensibility. It gives us capacity and capacity.
After all, in an age where battles are won and lost through an army’s ability to communicate on the battlefield, the ability to maintain robust, seamless, and secure end-to-end communications – from establishing support to our forward deployed forces – is an invaluable capability.
“We’d like to be able to get to a place where connectivity can be built in real time for a specific purpose and then removed once it’s no longer needed,” Mills explained. “The MCEN must ensure that critical messages sent over the network are accurate, have not been tampered with, and have not been intercepted.”
As the United States continues to face threats – both at home and abroad – modernizing the network will ultimately help ensure that the US Marine Corps remains the world’s preeminent combat force.
To listen to the latest episode of “Equipping the Corps” featuring Mills, click here: https://www.dvidshub.net/podcast/542/equipping-the-corps.