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Commander 2nd Fleet, Teams with Air Force to Test Technology

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071111-10
Release Date: 11/11/2007 5:03:00 PM

From Commander U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander, 2nd Fleet's Battle Laboratory, simulating portions of a Maritime Headquarters with Maritime Operations Center (MHQ with MOC), is linking up with Air Force Air Operation Centers across the country to participate in the Air Force's Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2008-1 (JEFX 08-1) Nov. 5-16.

JEFX 08-1 combines virtual and constructive air, space, naval, and ground force simulations, and technology insertion into a near-seamless joint and warfighting environment. The experiment is a venue for establishing groundbreaking command and control technology and fine-tuning processes that can be provided to the joint warfighter.

"The experiment is a discovery process that encourages leading edge thought," said Dr. Tom Forbes, technical director for JEFX 08-1 and 2nd Fleet's science adviser.

"The Navy must continue to invest in and test technologies that can facilitate our ability to assess, track, and prosecute threats in the joint environment, whether abroad or in the name of homeland defense."

Second Fleet's participation in the experiment primarily focuses on the MHQ with MOC and its ability to interoperate with other operation centers around the world.

A MOC consists of the organizational elements of the MHQ that conduct service and joint operations as required by the MHQ commander, and is inclusive of the personnel, processes, methods and systems supporting those operations.

Through the MHQs with MOCs, the Navy is creating a global network of naval-maritime organizations. This network will offer the combatant commanders a sustained state of maritime readiness, while giving MHQ commanders the agility to smoothly transition from peacetime operations to disaster relief operations and major combat operations, yet still handle fleet management functions.

JEFX 08-1 leaders will test the operation centers involved in the experiment with fictional scenarios in a Pacific-based operation and evaluate the issues faced when they conduct command and control as both a supported and supporting commander.

The MHQ with MOC is intended to reduce inconsistencies at the operational level between fleet and naval component commands, which often confuse other services and regional commands.

"I like to emphasize, it's an experiment not an exercise," said Forbes. "It's purely an opportunity to experiment with new processes, procedures and new technologies. We expect to evaluate our ability to do our maritime fires tasks faster, better, more efficient and evaluate the specific tools we're using. The tools allow for online collaboration, greater use of the Web and greater use of network technologies."

"When you're working on military operations against an effective adversary, everything has to be thoroughly tested. Systems must be proven to a probability better than 99 percent that it's going to function as designed," continued Forbes. "When you come right down to it, tremendously valuable equipment and human lives are at stake."

Forbes and Capt. Mike Smack, MHQ with MOC director for commander, 2nd Fleet, agree the processes and systems being tested in this experiment could be available to the fleet within the next few years. Once implemented in the fleet, the effects of these systems will be felt all the way down to the deckplates.

"Sailors will have better situational awareness because they'll have a broader, richer view on their environment due to a rapid delivery of information," said Smack. "Sailors will also be able to make more accurate decisions, because of higher information volume and assurance delivered via systems they can trust due to the thoroughness of the experimentation and testing."

"The Navy has a great team of people working on this experiment series," said Smack. "It's well attended and resourced by different commands in the Navy: Navy Warfare Development Command, Navy War College, Naval Network Warfare Command, Second Fleet and the Navy Reserves. Everyone is doing a great job contributing a lot of expertise and innovative ideas. All of the maritime headquarters will benefit tremendously from the work going on here."

"As we go further in this series of experiments, JEFX 08-2 and JEFX 08-3, each experiment becomes more complex and we bring more Navy assets into the mix," said Forbes. "Of particular note during JEFX 08-3 in April 2008, Navy Network Warfare Command is going to join the experiment with their Network Operations Information and Space Center capabilities. We're looking forward to integrating them into the over-all maritime commanders force mix."

JEFX 08-1 is the seventh in a series of highly focused, multinational, multi-service experiments designed to rigorously assess and make recommendations on selected capabilities that fill identified gaps or produce desired effects in the battle space.

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