TRADOC ISSUES JOINT BATTLE COMMAND PLATFORM DOCUMENT
By Julian Nettlefold
08 Oct 08. In September 2005 the U.S. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Capability Manager for Platform Battle Command and Combat Identification (TCM PBC/CID), Program Manager Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (PM FBCB2), combat system developers, and engineers from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines began discussions to eliminate the capability gaps created by incompatible and non-interoperable Command and Control (C2) and Situational Awareness (SA) platform level battle command and blue force tracking (BFT) systems. This was in response to extensive platform battle command and CID lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and exhaustive research on platform battle command requirements across the joint team. The Joint Requirements Oversight Counsel (JROC) approved Joint Battle Command–Platform (JBC-P) requirements are the result of a 2003 JROC memorandum that directed the US Army and USMC to converge on a single joint platform C2/SA capability.
JBC-P is Increment II to the current FBCB2 program. This ‘purple’ version of the Army’s FBCB2 system is being re-designed to meet a broader set of requirements. Funding in 10-15 POM period has been set aside to provide the installation of JBC-P systems into the majority of U.S. Army and USMC ground vehicles, aviation platforms, and for dismounted application by 2015. It is designed to be interoperable with the Future Combat System (FCS) Battle Command System being developed for FCS.
The JBC-P Capabilities Development Document articulates the operational requirements for a full platform (mounted, dismounted, aviation), partial, and beacon family of systems for C2/SA to be used by joint warfighters. JBC-P will establish standards to achieve interoperability among land platforms, which includes ground vehicles, helicopters and dismounted Soldiers, Marines and Airmen. Interoperability between the systems will help commanders and troops achieve enhanced C2 and SA.
Background to JBC-P
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, PM FBCB2 installed more than 1,200 of its FBCB2 BFT (using a celestial based network and commonly referred to as BFT) and FBCB2 enhanced position locating and reporting system (EPLRS) (using a terrestrial based network) systems on Army, Marine, and United Kingdom vehicles. Each equipped vehicle had a computer map display with their location pinpointed on the map as well as the location of other FBCB2 BFT-equipped vehicles. Each system fed data via satellite transmission into secured Internet servers so that various command centers could display current troop locations. Troops with the system, command centers, even the Pentagon, thousands of miles away, had a minutes-old computer displayed update that marked ground platform locations to within 800 meters down to the company level.
A number of other devices with similar functionality were also used in OIF. The Army’s logistics community used the Movement Tracking System (MTS) to track the locations of supplies and supply vehicles. Marines relied on the Mobile Data Automated Communications Terminal (M-DACT) and the Command and Control Personal Computer, while the Air Force used its initiative called Talon Reach. Other commercially available products were also in use, according to Al Mosher (COL, USA (RET) and former TCM PBC/CID). FBCB2 (EPLRS), used by units in III Corps, has software nearly identical to FBCB2 BFT (currently both systems use software version 220.127.116.11 and either a EV4 or JV5 HW system), although its communications systems are based on line-of-sight radios rather than satellite.
The systems accomplished more than just battlefield tracking. Platform C2 capabilities allowed troops to send and receive free-text and formatted-text messages, and share graphical representations to mark the locations of various observed