Army tests thin-client system for common operational view

The Army is testing a new command-and-control system designed to give units a better picture of the battlefield by allowing them to access and view data residing on headquarters-based equipment.

Command Web is a Web and thin client-based system that gives warfighters access to the Army’s Command Post of The Future (CPOF) system. CPOF is a thick-client battle management system that is heavily networked with other clients to share data among commands, said Lt. Col. Thomas Bentzel, the Army’s product manager for Tactical Mission Command.

The challenge was that there are relatively few CPOF units available, and commanders without the systems couldn’t look at the common operational picture, he said.

What Command Web does is provide a thin-client, Web-based environment that lets commanders view CPOF data. Built around the Army’s standard Battle Command System Interface, Command Web mimics the functionality, naming conventions and other aspects of the service’s common operational picture viewer. Command Web can be accessed by the military’s secure and nonsecure Internet networks and provides a set of common applications and tools that can be used on the network and shared with CPOF systems. “It’s a window into that operational picture,” he said.

The environment allows users to develop and access a variety of applications for areas such as logistics, maneuvers, aerospace control and fire control. Commanders also can access two- and three-dimensional maps. “We’ve got a bunch of different stuff that we’re sharing here,” Bentzel said.

Another key feature of the Lockheed Martin-developed system is a third-party programmers’ kit that enables units to develop their own applications and widgets. The Command Web program manages and vets its own applications repository, Bentzel said.

A beta version of Command Web is currently undergoing operational tests with units in Afghanistan and the United States.

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