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CALL Newsletter 04-13
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Chapter 4: Combat Service Support
Topic D: CSS C3I

Subtopic 3: Range Capability of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below System (FBCB2) to Support the CSS Force Structure

Observation Synopsis

CSS elements of the BCT often are required to travel extended distances outside of the BCT and, in some cases, the division AOR in order to move supplies or personnel. A majority of the CSS platforms are equipped with the FBCB2 system. The FBCB2 system provides CSS commanders and staffs real time situational awareness of logistics platform movement anywhere within the range of the system or supporting enhanced position location receiver system (EPLRS) network. The system also provides a redundant means of communications from the platform to neighboring platforms, units, or owning headquarters with a free text messaging or preformatted reports capability. The limitations to the system are that of the range of the supporting EPLRS networks. CSS units are routinely required to travel beyond the range of the supporting EPLRS networks to execute logistics missions. Once beyond EPLRS range, situational awareness is lost, the CSS unit is beyond FM communications range of its headquarters, and on its own during movement. The Blue Force Tracker, a similar system to the FBCB2, provides the situational awareness range extension required of CSS units when forced to travel/operate outside of the division AOR.

Lessons Learned

  • The EPLRS network, in support of the lower tactical internet and FBCB2 system, is not designed to provide the adequate range extension required for CSS units to maintain continuous situational awareness when executing operations throughout a non-linear battlefield.
  • Blue Force Tracker provides the situational awareness range extension required of CSS units when operating outside the division AOR.
  • The satellite-based connectivity utilized by the system is not limited by range. The system unfortunately lacks a secure means of exchanging message traffic and does not provide real-time updates to unit location. CSS units could benefit from a hybrid of these two systems with the real time situational awareness and C2 messaging capability of the FBCB2 combined with the satellite-based range extension afforded by the Blue Force Tracker.

DOTMLPF Implications

Materiel: Design infrustructure to support access to FBCB2/Blue Force Tracker, providing an understanding of current battlefield operations and future CSS requirements.

Force XXI Battlefield Command Brigade and Below
Force XXI Battlefield Command Brigade and Below

Table of Supporting Observations

Observation Title CALLCOMS
File Number
Insufficient Range Capability of FBCB2 to support the CSS Force Structure 10000-29668

Table of Contents
Chapter 4-Topic D-Subtopic 2: Long-Range Communications for CSS Force Structure
Chapter 4-Topic D-Subtopic 4: Communication Challenges in the Logistics Community in OIF

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