DOD gets ready to abandon old WWMCCS

The Defense Department is planning the mother of all system
cutovers for December.


^^DOD will pull the plug on its most critical joint-services data network, the
Worldwide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS), and replace it with the Global
Command and Control System (GCCS).


The transition is so sensitive that DOD won't disclose the exact date of the switch,
lest an opportunistic foe try to exploit any hitches.


If all goes well, GCCS will provide DOD with the equivalent of a smarter central
nervous system. It will allow commanders to analyze a threat and get instant answers to
logistics, readiness and intelligence questions for planning and launching a joint
military response.


"GCCS will aid commanders in executing this process faster and with fewer
errors," Lt. Cynthia Grant, a GCCS requirements officer with the Defense Information
Systems Agency, said at the Joint Interoperability Warfighter Demonstration in Arlington,
Va., last week.


But if capabilities previewed at JWID ('MDUL'see story, Page 41'MDNM') are any
indication, speed is but one of the new system's advantages over the text-based,
mainframe-driven WWMCCS.


In a simplified command center with two projection panels and 10 workstations, Grant
showed how GCCS applications might be used to respond to a military crisis in a fictitious
region otherwise known as the Southern Coast of California.


Commanders would start by tapping into the Joint Defense Intelligence Service to get
detailed information about enemy troop placements, weapon capabilities and the like.


Using the DOD Intelink, a graphical intelligence network interface resembling the World
Wide Web, commanders can view detailed photographs of enemy tanks, recent satellite
imagery of their movements and thousands of other bits of intelligence pulled from DOD's
Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET).


For the bigger picture, users can turn to the Joint Maritime Command Information
System, which displays regional maps with icons representing the location of both enemy
and U.S. military assets. Clicking on an icon produces a screen with detailed descriptions
of troops, equipment and the location of those assets. This data overlays digital maps
downloaded from Defense Mapping Agency databases.


After the overall tactical picture is well in hand, a second set of GCCS applications
helps commanders develop a course of action by calculating the comparative merits of
hundreds of different strategies and scenarios. The Global Status of Resources and
Training System indicates which U.S. troops and weapons are ready for deployment, while
the Scheduling and Movement System determines the most expeditious way of getting them to
the theater of war.


Other GCCS applications, such as the Logistics Anchor Desk and the Medical Anchor Desk,
will serve as funnels for coordinating more detailed activities with thousands of offices
and units in the field. Meanwhile, the Meteorologic and Oceanographic Support systems will
provide constant updates of satellite imagery such as cloud cover matched precisely to the
DMA maps.


Most GCCS applications are enhancements of existing best-of-breed systems submitted by
each of the services [GCN, June 5, Page 68]. While the applications that
will be ready for the cutover represent the core required for joint operations, Grant said
additional service-specific applications eventually will be integrated into GCCS, which is
built on Unix with common application program interfaces.


GCCS hardware consists of Sun Microsystems Sparcserver 1000 machines as servers, Sun
Sparcstation 20 for user workstations, and a mix of other Intel-based and Hewlett-Packard
Co. workstations running Sun's Solaris operating system.


Basic network configurations of been installed at 37 initial operational sites, Grant
said. A combination of Oracle Crop. and Sybase Inc. databases at 16 of the sites will host
redundant sets of the entire GCCS database, which is being rehosted from WWMCCS Honeywell
mainframes.


According to Col. David Fitzgerald of DISA's Joint Interoperability Engineering
Organization, the top-secret portion of WWMCCS data, which accounts for about 10 percent
of all the system's data, will continue to be hosted on separate Honeywell mainframes
until GCCS develops a full multilevel secure file transfer capability.


The rest of GCCS initially will operate at a maximum level of secret, "because
that gives us a great deal of additional flexibility in exchanging information,"
Fitzgerald said.


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