DOD to shelve GCCS, roll out new system

The Joint C2 system will use Web services and dovetail with Defense's demand for network-centric warfare capabilities.

'DISA's Dawn Meyerriecks

Henrik G. de Gyor

SALT LAKE CITY'The Defense Department has begun developing plans to replace its Global Command and Control System beginning in 2006.

In place of GCCS, the department's main joint battlefield C2 system, the Defense Information Systems Agency will deploy a new set of applications known as the Joint Command and Control system. Dubbed JC2, the new system will use Web services and mesh with DOD's demand for network-centric warfare capabilities, DISA chief technology officer Dawn C. Meyerriecks said last week.

GCCS cannot scale well to handle new applications, runs obsolete'and unsupported'versions of Sun Microsystems Solaris and Oracle Corp. databases, and does not mesh with the department's enterprise architecture requirements, Meyerriecks said at the Systems and Software Technology Conference.

The new C2 system must give 'shared situational awareness, self-synchronization, mobility and composability to rapidly reconfigure' during battle, she said.

Translation: DOD wants to give troops and field commanders the ability to draw from many information sources to create detailed battle pictures on an ad hoc basis.

Noting that DISA has released 27 updates of GCCS since Sept. 11, 2001, Meyerriecks said, 'We can do this only one more time.'

Bernal Allen, chief of DISA's Enterprise Application Division, said one final full version of GCCS, Version 4, will come out in early 2006 and the first block of JC2 later that year. Allen promised the shift to JC2 wouldn't be a headache for users.

'JC2 will sneak up on you like a little kitty cat. It won't be a big bang but an evolutionary event,' he said.

A chief reason for the new system is that to change one part of GCCS, such as the operating system, requires that the whole thing be recompiled and retested, Meyerriecks said.

Component path

The technology path DISA and the armed services are on now, she explained, is to build a system in separate components: data transport infrastructure, operating system, Web services, applications and data. DOD then can update each part independently, Meyerriecks said.

Additionally, GCCS' client-server architecture can't be extended to individual warfighters the way officials envision they will be able to with JC2, she said.

DISA's Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion acquisition is how the agency will ramp up a transport backbone for the new C2 system.

As part of GIG-BE, DISA is also overseeing the Net-Centric Enterprise Services project to build a Web services infrastructure for DOD.

The applications for JC2 will be built on re-engineered versions of the military services' existing C2 apps; they will be Web-based and interoperable.

A request for proposals for JC2 projects is still a bit down the road. First, DISA will issue a concept document. It should be ready next month, Allen said.

When fielded, JC2 will be the third-generation C2 system for use throughout DOD. GCCS was the successor to the Worldwide Military Command and Control System, which DOD replaced in the early 1990s.

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