CHARLESTON, S.C., Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic is enabling Marines’ success in combat by providing a continuous stream of reliable, command and control (C2) information through the Tactical Service Orient,ed Architecture (TSOA).
The TSOA program, managed by Marine Corps Systems Command, is an open-architecture collection of software services and applications for command, control and communications within the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). A team from SSC Atlantic’s expeditionary warfare department is leading the development, testing and fielding of TSOA for the Marine Corps.
SSC Atlantic’s MAGTF C2 services and applications integrated product team (IPT) spearheads the TSOA effort with integration and configuration management, cybersecurity and accreditations, test and evaluation, and training and field exercise support.
TSOA establishes a framework that enables seamless exchange of intelligence across multiple systems and networks that is being enhanced with the increased availability of data within the battlespace. It provides a user-friendly, common operational picture that gives Marines the most secure, efficient and reliable information available to make accurate decisions “in context” during operational missions. This software-based system will allow Marines to get mission-critical information by linking independent, sometimes incompatible, tactical data systems.
“The difficulty in describing TSOA is that is doesn’t create any information. It’s an enterprise service bus doing all the work in the background,” said Alexandra Hahn MAGTF C2 IPT lead. “It is the back-end piece that connects many systems. It allows you to access all of this information; and you can get it all, or subscribe only to a subset or a single piece of information. It’s very customizable.”
With new emphasis on TSOA, SSC Atlantic was the logical place for further development and coordination given the center’s experience providing Marine Corps information warfare solutions through the Combat Operation Center (COC), Network-on-the-Move, Joint Tactical COP Workstation (JTCW) and other programs.
Hahn and her team have already demonstrated TSOA success in Agile Bloodhound and Island Marauder, annual Office of Naval Research events that highlight science and technology efforts supporting expeditionary warfighters. The SSC Atlantic team was also part of the 2018 Urban 5th Generation (U5G) Exploration and Experimentation Exercise. A series of exercises held between March 2018 and February 2019, U5G is assessing the operational utility of emerging technologies and engineering innovations that improve the Marines’ survivability, lethality and connectivity in complex urban environments.
“It was a big win for the command that the work was sent here,” Hahn said. “As the overarching systems integration experts for TSOA, we have our hands in everything. We are working in each functional area and doing more interface with users,” she added.
While TSOA is the “backbone” that gives Marines the ability to discover, subscribe, shape, filter, modify and visualize data, it is the specialized applications that give a more tangible illustration of how TSOA helps Marines make timely and accurate decisions in context.
Agile Application Development (A2D) increases speed to capability without compromising engineering rigor for tactical applications faster than traditional acquisition methods. Four apps have already been fielded and accredited for use via a partnership between SSC Atlantic and SSC Pacific.
Leveraging the A2D process, SSC Pacific develops apps for TSOA, while SSC Atlantic performs cybersecurity and accreditations, test and evaluation of the apps, as well as training and field exercise support. Constant interaction with Marine C2 operators throughout the development process has given the feedback software developers need to adjust and sharpen the effectiveness of the software and the architecture. The apps are available through the Marine Corps Software Resource Center app store, which enables faster software deployment to the field.
One such application, Patrol Planning, lets Marines visually map out their patrol routes, build their warning orders and search patrols from previous squads. They can display their actual patrol routes instead of trying to recall where they traveled using a two-dimensional map.
“TSOA is a game changer for Marines on the tactical edge,” said SSC Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Heller. “Our experience with Marine information warfare systems and our proven technical capabilities are enabling us to address the chief of naval operations’ goals of interoperability, scalability and rapid acquisition through our TSOA efforts.”
With another Island Marauder exercise in this month, and as more command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR) programs of record become TSOA-compliant, the SSC Atlantic TSOA team expects to remain very busy.
“Next year will be big for us,” Hahn said. “We are already starting to ramp up our interface with users. We will be doing more training. This will be changing the culture a bit for how Marines do their day-to-day jobs.”
SSC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable C4ISR, cyber and information technology capabilities.