A new highly mobile and tactically deployable system is being fielded by the Army to manage the often chaotic maritime supply traffic at harbors, shipping channels and beaches, ensuring route security as Army logistics transition from sea to shore.
The Harbormaster Command and Control Center, or HCCC, provides the Army logistician with the sensors and mission command tools needed to establish and maintain situational awareness even in hectic shipping environments.
“Where there’s a harbor and a mission, wherever the military wants to go, that’s where the Harbormaster will go,” said Maj. Michael J. Williams, former assistant product manager for HCCC. “It can conduct a humanitarian effort, or go into a full-spectrum operation where Marines fight and take the beach. The Harbormaster can follow quickly behind, in an Operation D-Day type of role, bringing in follow-on forces and supplies.”
HCCC will be part of an extensive Army, Navy and Marine training operation for a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS, exercise scheduled for mid-August at Fort Story, Va. During JLOTS, a ship-to-shore cargo delivery operation, flat-bottomed boats are used to drop connecting ramps into the water that meet up with larger deep-draft vessels stationed further out from shore in order to shuttle cargo back and forth.
Since the Harbormaster is intended to work in JLOTS operations, it rarely works alone. Usually the Army, Navy and other organizations such as the Military Sea Lift Command are also on location working side-by-side to coordinate traffic in the ocean, harbors and beaches that make up the littoral environment. The August JLOTS exercise will help Joint forces to rewrite the JLOTS operating manual to incorporate the HCCC system.
As of July, five of the seven Army units identified to receive HCCC will have been fielded, with the remaining two systems to be fielded by the end of fiscal year 2013. For their efforts in bringing the system from concept through to fielding, the HCCC team recently accepted a C4ISR Center of Excellence Team Award at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
“Like an air traffic controller manages and coordinates the movement of air traffic to ensure that planes stay safe distances apart in the sky, this system will help Harbormaster Detachments manage the incoming flow of vessels and cargo needed in intense overseas contingency operations,” said Lt. Col. Carl Hollister, product manager for Command Post Systems and Integration, known as PdM CPS&I, which manages HCCC.
PdM CPS&I is assigned to Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, part of the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical.
Early in the year, the HCCC team trained and fielded to two Harbormaster Detachments, both Army Reserve units, at Port Chicago Calif. It was the first time the team provided new equipment training and Mission Command Systems Integration Training to two units at the same time. The training went off without a hitch, Williams said.
“The common operating picture provided by HCCC will help commanders synchronize the supply chain, speeding the delivery of cargo,” said Tonnesha Lewis, HCCC product lead. “Commanders will know the exact location of their ships at sea and when they will be arriving, enabling them to prioritize delivery of critical cargo.”
At the core of HCCC is the Rigid Wall Shelter, or RWS, which mounts on up-armored Humvee. The RWS is based on a Standard Integrated Command Post System,or SICPS, Command Post Platform, modified with different commercial, military and maritime radios and applications. The military radios in the RWS are self-enclosed, allowing instant connection as soon as the shelter is parked. The RWS connects to the Trailer Mounted Support System-Medium, or TMSS-M, that is comprised of a tent with a trailer supporting an 18 kilowatt generator and an environmental control unit. Together, the digital systems within the RWS and TMSS-M allow a commander to visualize the overall common operating picture.
Inside the HCCC tent, Soldiers leverage systems such as Global Command and Control System, known as the GCCS, which provides mission command at the highest levels of the Army and interfaces with Joint systems; and Battle Command Sustainment Support System, which provides actionable logistics information to commanders in near-real time. Outside the tent, a SIPR/NIPR Access Point satellite terminal provides satellite connectivity to the Army’s WIN-T tactical communications network and to commercial providers.
The Harbormaster Trailer-mounted Sensor Platform, or HTSP, system is part of the Harbormaster’s radar sensor. It has a hydraulic mast-mounted radar with two video cameras, one for day and an infrared for night. The HTSP can be placed high up on a hill for maximum view to monitor the movement of friendly and potentially unfriendly vessels, said Gerry O’Keefe, SICPS project lead and former HCCC project lead.
Because terrain features can block communications, or because at times the operation is just too large, HCCC also has a main and a remote configuration to cover multiple mission requirements. It is flexible in its ability to support the Harbormaster mission in a variety of operational environments, O’Keefe said.
“This system provides the communication and mission command tools needed in the littoral environment to manage the scores of vessels that bring in supplies to Joint watercraft operations,” Hollister said. “Together the elements of HCCC give commanders a real-time picture of the activities on the sea and shoreline, increasing their situational awareness and ability to make timely decisions that enable successfully managed logistics operations.”