Future is now for II MEF Marines

19 Jul 2006 | Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre

Knowledge is power. This is a reality commanders face as they lead troops onto the battlefields of the 21st century. Leaders who process critical, real-time information and quickly decide the next move gain the advantage over their battlefield adversaries.

Marine commanders, meet the computerized platform known as the Command Post of the Future. To users, CPOF looks like a computer with three screens, a processing unit, keyboard and mouse. According to its manufacturer, the platform is described as an executive-level decision support system providing situational awareness and collaborative tools to support decision making while reducing training time for its users.

“CPOF is a tool that a commander can use, unlike many systems we have now,” said Lt. Col. Michael A. Kies, Information Management Officer, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “The user can go right to work sharing his ideas and sharing his story to other CPOF users without having to receive extensive training.”

As technology progresses, the flow of information through radio, telephone, Internet and satellite communications becomes ever greater. More data coming into the command and control systems of battlefield commanders is beneficial for leaders seeking situational information. At the same time, information can tie down resources, manpower and valuable time if there isn’t an efficient way of processing the data, said Kies

“There is a tremendous amount of information being received,” said Kies, a Newport, N.C., resident.  “The challenge is to understand data, turn it into information, use it to create knowledge and then share the knowledge with others.”

Bringing together vital personnel in a shared online workspace, CPOF allows commanders to transmit and share multi-dimensional data from different locations, saving resources and time which would be needed if they had to be physically present.

“It’s a great way to track information,” said Lance Cpl. Warren T. Peugh, 25, a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical inspector with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, who is tasked with operating a CPOF. “I can compile information much quicker and the workload is much less.”

With CPOF, information can be shared through a wide range of visualizations ranging from charts to textual presentations and specialized maps showing points of interests.

“It’s a tool that allows commanders to share information easily, efficiently and without redundancy,” said Peugh, a Cerritos, Calif., native. “Everyone can share information who’s operating a CPOF. Rank or billet, it doesn’t matter.”

Marines eager to maintain their battlefield edge look forward to the increased application of CPOF stateside and in the fight overseas.

“It won’t replace every system but it will increase our situational awareness.” said Peugh.