“The Value of an Extra C – The New C5ISC” –MyCG

An old Deepwater Concept illustration, but you get the idea

Passing this along, because it looks like an important reorganization. It appeared on the MyCG website that I recently added to the “Recommended Blogs” list. This seems to be putting a greater emphasis on cyber. The “Brochure” linked at the bottom of the story gives a nice breakdown of the organization and responsibilities.


The Value of an Extra C – The New C5ISC

By Shana Brouder, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard has completed the single largest organizational restructuring of a unit in the past decade. In June, the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, and Intelligence Service Center (C5ISC) was established. It replaced its counterpart, the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Information Technology Service Center (C4ITSC) as well as assimilated the three centers of excellence: the Command, Control, and Communications Engineering Center (C3CEN), Telecommunication and Information Systems Command (TISCOM), and the Operations Systems Center (OSC).

The reorganization encompasses over 800 military and civilian personnel. The alignment promises to improve the Coast Guard’s ability to deliver technology solutions at the “speed of need” for mission success. The functional structure of this new unit will underpin and enable the Coast Guard’s Technology Revolution’s five lines of effort: Cutter Connectivity; Modernizing C5I Infrastructure; Cyber Readiness; Software, Mobility and Cloud; and Data for Decisions.

“The commissioning of the new C5I Service Center represents the culmination of over six years of effort from personnel across the Coast Guard to transform the C4ITSC into an organization that will more effectively and efficiently deliver technology solutions for mission success,” explained Capt. Russell Dash, the new C5ISC commander. “Our new structure supports the Coast Guard directly through our six Product Lines, which serve as the focal point and center of gravity for our service delivery. Our robust Shared Service Divisions are designed to make our Product Line Managers successful by providing consistent, standard support including business operations, engineering and infrastructure services, workforce and facilities management, budget and finance, and asset and logistics services. The new organization is now poised to make the Commandant’s Tech Revolution a reality and deliver C5I mission support at the speed of need.”

By standardizing processes and creating intentional mission alignment with other Coast Guard units who also work in the informational technology space (e.g. Surface Forces Logistics Center [SFLC], Aviation Logistics Center [ALC], Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center [SILC], Health, Safety and Work-Life Service Center [HSWL], and Coast Guard Cyber Command [CGCYBER]), the new C5ISC structure enables faster, more nimble responses to technology-related problems.

This fundamental shift in how the Coast Guard delivers C5I capabilities, unifies efforts under a single leadership structure and follows industry-proven standard processes, which will drive efficiency and consistency in every action moving forward.

The few months since the C5I Service Center’s establishment have already reaped successes. For example, the Fleet Logistics System Mobile Asset Manager (FLS-MAM), the supply management tool used by cutter maintenance and supply personnel, was rewritten to ensure this vital program would stay safe and secure from outside threats, such as spyware or other malicious software. Another example includes the delivery of essential satellite communications equipment to the medium endurance Coast Guard Cutter Bear. Members of the C5ISC worked with other offices to provide the Bear, the important backup Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) system it needed to deploy on-time, despite tight time constraints.

Additionally, the C5ISC shared services divisions and product lines partnered with cyber operations and the Eighth District to provide a unified C5I response, which supported contingency operations for Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, Sally, and Tropical Storm Beta.

The C5ISC workforce has been aggressively working to improve the Coast Guard’s information technology infrastructure. More specifically, they have been working to identify the constraints within our external network connections that impact our capacity in the information technology arena and overall cyber resiliency. This became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent increase the Coast Guard workforce’s teleworking. This dramatic increase in using the Coast Guard’s external network highlighted gaps that the C5ISC is now better placed to resolve, thanks to a more streamlined and cohesive set up. Through various partnerships, including Cyber and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the C5ISC has made significant headway improving the Coast Guard’s ability to meet missions and strategic goals as outlined in the Technology Revolution Roadmap.

If you have access to the Portal, more information on the C5I Service Center can be found here.

Resources:

“MYCG – MODERNIZING COAST GUARD ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS” –ALCOAST

Below is an ALCOAST quoted in its entirety. I have added a link to “MyCG,” the web site mentioned here, to my recommended blog page. It is right at the top.

united states coast guard

ALCOAST COMMANDANT NOTICE                                              CANCEL DATE 25 AUG 2021

R 260950 AUG 20
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-092//
TO ALCOAST
UNCLAS//N05700//
ACN 098/20
SUBJ: MYCG – MODERNIZING COAST GUARD ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS
A. Coast Guard External Affairs Manual, COMDTINST M5700.13 (series)
1. Purpose: This ACN announces updates to the Coast Guard’s organizational
communications program, to include the launch of MyCG. MyCG is a publicly
available web interface that will serve as an authoritative source for
organizational news, announcements, and information. These changes will be
codified in the upcoming change 2 to REF (A).
2. Discussion. Over the past several years, Coast Guard senior leaders have
dedicated significant effort to advancing the readiness of our workforce.
MyCG is a continuation of this effort. In order to achieve the Commandant’s
vision of a mission ready total workforce, we must modernize our approach
to organizational communications to ensure that enterprise-wide initiatives
and program updates that are important to our people and their families are
clearly communicated via an easily accessible system and targeted to reach
intended audiences. With these goals in mind, the Coast Guard is restructuring
its organizational communications to improve personnel readiness and mission
execution, and to reinforce a world-class military service that empowers
people as our most crucial resource.
    a. To centralize, streamline, and enhance enterprise-wide organizational
communications through MyCG, COMDT (CG-092) will implement a communications
planning and execution process, and provide continual service-wide and regional
communications/updates via the MyCG platform. The MyCG site is intended to
reduce duplicative information from multiple sources; to centralize key
information into a common location; to provide that information in a way that
is easy to access; and to be interesting, timely, and relevant for our people.
    b. In order to maximize information accessibility, the MyCG site will be
available on the public web at: https://www.work.uscg.mil/mycg/, enabling
everyone’s access via mobile phone, personal computer, or work station. The
site will focus on news, features, and resources that support workforce readiness
and resilience.
    c. MyCG will serve as a centralized, authoritative source for enterprise-wide
organizational communications, to include announcements that impact the entire
Coast Guard workforce and their families.
3. Responsibility. COMDT (CG-0922) will manage MyCG, and coordinate the
organizational communications planning, development, and distribution process
for content shared via MyCG. Critical to the success of this initiative will be
integration of communications best practices, and sustained coordination between
COMDT (CG-0922) staff and communications liaisons designated by Headquarters,
Area, and District staffs.
4. Point of contact: Christie St. Clair, COMDT (CG-0922), 202-372-3021 or
Christie.E.StClair@uscg.mil.
5. Released by RDML Jon Hickey, Director, Governmental and Public Affairs.
6. Internet release is authorized.

Phone based Data Link?

A Beechcraft AT-6B Wolverine experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., July 31, 2017. Aircraft like the AT-6B and Embraer A-29 Super Tocano provide close-air support to U.S. allies and partners and can also be outfitted with commercial off-the-shelf command and control units like the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network, or AERONet, increasing their combat effectiveness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan D. Wagner)

AirForceMag.com has an article about the purchase of four light attack aircraft that contains an intriguing little side note:

AEROnet is a fledgling air-to-air and air-to-ground radio system that would let the U.S. and foreign militaries share video, voice, and chat communications as well as command and control via tablets, smartphones, and mobile apps for less than $500,000.

Secure communications between Coast Guard units and other armed services, particularly in the case of a rapidly developing terrorist attack, has been one of my regular concerns. This goes back to an exercise I planned and supervised some time ago. We had two Air Force aircraft included in a counter terrorism exercise, but when they got on scene we could not effectively identify the target for them.

This system might be useful both within the Coast Guard and between the Coast Guard and other services. This lead me to look for more information “AERONet prototype could provide combat insight to allies.”

“The Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network, or AERONet, digitally links friendly forces, providing them with their own location, the location of other friendly forces and real-time enemy movement updates. It will be showcased to partner nations at the Bold Quest exercise in Finland this month. AERONet is a version of systems already used by law enforcement to patrol borders and track and combat smugglers. First responders use similar systems while fighting wildfires in the mountain states.”

There is more here, “AEROnet Gets an Audience.”

Lt. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, dons the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-the-Horizon Network concept combat tactical vest with the help of Steve Brown from the Tactical Data Network Laboratory at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Sept. 26, during Bunch’s tour of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks division. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Aerial Network Division at Hanscom will bring AERONet to production, after the Air Force Research Laboratory prototyped the system. It is designed to support U.S. and partner nation operations as a tactical data network, as outlined by the Chief Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

“34 VHF towers are down in AK; CH 16 not being picked up by USCG” –Alaska Fish Radio

BALTIMORE Ð A digital selective calling VHF-FM marine-band radio, set to channel 16, is shown energized for operations at Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay, Md., Dec. 9, 2010. DSC radios allow for a digital transfer between radios versus voice transmission which allows mariners to instantly send an automatically formatted distress alert to the Coast Guard, provided the radio is registered with a Maritime Mobile Service Identity number and connected to a compatible GPS unit. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandyn Hill.

A disturbing report from Alaska Fish Radio that a third of the VHF towers in Alaska are down and in many cases the Coast Guard is not monitoring channel 16 where it would be expected that we would.

Curious how we got in this situation?

Thanks to Eric for bringing this to my attention. 

Coast Guard Commander Craig Allen talks about challenges with national security cutter connectivity.

HMAS Success (AOR-304) refuelling probe goes in for a hook-up with the US Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751) as the Royal Australian Navy Auxilliary Oiler Replenishment Ship conducts a dual RAS (Replenishment at Sea) off the coast of Hawaii during the Sea Phase of Exercise RIMPAC 2014, 19 July 2014. (RAN Photo by Leading Seaman Brenton Freind RAN)

The 8 Aug. 2019 US Naval Institute podcast features Cdr. Craig Allen, currently XO of USCGC Waesche discussing the topic of his winning USNI Coast Guard Essay contest.

Despite the title, connectivity on other Coast Guard platforms was also discussed.

The discussion on cutter connectivity doesn’t actually start until about time 10:05. Earlier in the podcast they talk about the Midshipmen and Cadets Essay Contest (deadline 31 Oct. 2019).

He mentions specifically difficult to share UAS data and images. Even so it sounds like the most significant difficulty is that operational data is crowding out administrative data that now can no longer be done offline. 

Sounds like there are three paths that might be pursued that might ease the situation.

First of course is to increase band width, but if that were easy I presume it would have already been done.

There was not discussion of tactical data links, like Link 16, but this is one way to a common shared tactical picture. Reportedly Link16 “supports the exchange of text messages, imagery data and provides two channels of digital voice (2.4 kbit/s and/or 16 kbit/s in any combination).” I am pretty sure the NSC has Link 16, but most Coast Guard units including Webber class, aircraft, and District and Area Commands do not. Moving the tactical information to data links could free bandwidth for administrative tasks. In addition if we ever want our district and area commands to be able to call on DOD assets to respond to a terrorist attack, having access to data link could make it a lot easier.

Third, it sounds like we may have shot ourselves in the foot by eliminating previously acceptable ways to handle administrative matters. Sounds like we are forcing operational units to make it easy for administrative support units, instead of the other way around, as it should be. The extreme measures he describes as required to get the job done should be an embarrassment to the Coast Guard. The administrative system worked before internet. It can work without it. There are ways around these problems.

“Connectivity Maketh the Cutter” –USNI

In the August 2019 issue of US Naval Institute Proceedings, their annual “Coast Guard focused” issue, you will find the three prize winning Coast Guard themed essays. First prize went to Cdr. Craig Allen, USCG. The essay contrasts the promise of Networked assets, that was a major feature of the Deepwater Program and still being touted, with the disappointing reality he sees in the actual implementation.

Put bluntly, in the past several years cutter connectivity has climbed in urgency from concern to crisis. The negative impact of poor connectivity on current mission execution already is cause for alarm, but the more important concern is the constraint it will place on the Coast Guard’s ability to shape future operations.

The whole essay is well worth the read.

The common operational picture promised is no where to be found.

As I have been pointing out since at least 2011 (also here), there is no reason our units should not have Link 16. The Navy puts it on helicopters, and I believe on the 85 foot MkVI patrol boat, so it would certainly fit on Coast Guard patrol boats, fixed wing aircraft, and our helicopters. It would improve interoperability not only with other Coast Guard units but also other US armed forces and Allies. It is a proven, widely used system. Link 16 would be very useful if we ever do become part of the US Fleet’s distributed lethality or if we need to call in Navy assets to assist the Coast Guard.

NAIS for Command and Control/”The USCG RDC & Electronic Aids To Navigation”–Marine Link

Marine Link has an excellent overview of the increasingly useful Nationwide Automated Identification System (NAIS) and the R&D Center’s role in its development.

As for the Coast Guard’s own use of the system, we have this press release from FLIR.

WILSONVILLE, Ore., October 16, 2018 – FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced today that it has been awarded a contract from the United States (U.S.) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in support of the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) Second Generation Automatic Identification System (AIS-2) program. The indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract has a ceiling value of $9.9 million to provide second generation Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders, associated peripherals, and spare parts for nearly 1,774 boats and 282 cutters in the USCG’s active fleet.

The government anticipates the purchase of vessel class-specific kits and spare parts to equip all USCG vessels with AIS-2 over the next five years.

“We are pleased to provide AIS hardware and software technology to support the US Coast Guard’s mission,” said Jim Cannon, President and CEO at FLIR.  “Our technology will provide enhanced levels of secure communication and coordination between Coast Guard boats, cutters, and shore stations (emphasis applied–Chuck). This award further extends our technology partnership with the Coast Guard, providing next-generation communication capabilities to complement their Raymarine SINS-2 navigation systems.”

I was a little surprised to see reference to secure communications in conjunction with AIS because I don’t associate those two things, but it is apparent we are finding new uses for the system, including as a blue force locator.

It looks like we will be putting these systems on even our smallest boats. Ran across a study that may provide an indication (Note this is apparently a Russian URL) of where we are going with this.

Icebreaker Communications Requirement

A 4ISRnet report confirms that the Coast Guard intends to have a full range of communications equipment on the new Heavy Polar Icebreaker, up to an including military secure satellite communications.

“Communication is severely degraded at higher latitudes, beyond 65 degrees north and south,” said Eric Nagel, a spokesman for the Coast Guard’s acquisition directorate. “Coast Guard polar icebreakers need to be able to communicate in Polar Regions with a wide range of groups from commercial shipping and recreational boaters to scientific researchers. The polar icebreakers also need to maintain network connectivity with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and other federal and international partners.”

 

 

JPALS landing aid for Coast Guard?

US Navy Photo. JPALS tactical prototype

The Navy has already chose Joint Precision Approach & Landing Systems (JPALS) and BreakingDefense reports Raytheon is offering it to the Air Force and Army. Perhaps the Coast Guard should take a look. Like the Navy, the Coast Guard operates aircraft from moving ships, with perhaps even more  “pitch, roll, surge, sway, heave, yaw, and translation”

JPALS fills the role of a TACAN, giving bearing and range to the landing area, but does it with much greater accuracy, directing the aircraft to a 20 cm (7.8″) square area, using differential GPS. It does it all in any weather and zero visibility with very low probability of intercept and in an encrypted format by data link, minimizing the need for radio communications.

Every time we turn on TACAN we broadcast the position of ship. 

Potentially it can provide a autonomous recovery for aircraft and UAVs.

“What’s more, Raytheon is finishing development of a capability for JPALS to take over the flight controls and bring the aircraft in for an automated landing with no input from the pilot – or potentially with no pilot on board at all. That is why the Navy has contracted with Raytheon to put JPALS on its future MQ-25 carrier-based drone.”

Maybe our over-the-horizon boats could use it too.