Web browsers will help steer IT course

GCN: Pacific Command is
planning to build a brand new state-of-the-art command and control headquarters at Camp
Smith. What are the details?

BRYAN: We are building a new Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC)
headquarters that we will break ground on in 2000 and occupy in 2003. We’re very
proud of it. The building we’re occupying right now was built as a hospital in World
War II. CINCPAC has made great utility of the facility, but buildings get old.

It’s been 50 years now in this building, and what we’re looking for is an
opportunity for this big, busy command of ours to occupy a state-of-the-art command and
control headquarters that will be a model for C2 headquarters in the 21st century. We are
benefiting from the R&D efforts of the Office of Naval Research, and the procurement,
acquisition and systems integration expertise of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems

The C4 piece of the new headquarters will cost $25 million. When you’re building a
major, unified command headquarters—like we are—that’s not very much money.
But it’s a sufficient amount of money.

There’s a great program ongoing at SPAWAR called Command Center of the Future. If
that meets our needs and satisfies our vision of what we believe our command center ought
to be, why would I want to respend money to copy the same work that’s already been
performed in San Diego at SPAWAR’s Systems Command? It’s very futuristic in its
use of video and visual technologies, including 3-D displays used to envision situational

Clearly, the centerpiece of the command center of the future is this idea of being able
to provide accurate, real-time representation of the situation in a given area. We also
have our own vision of the what we call the virtual staff of the future, which includes
not only our own headquarters but the components’ headquarters.

If we’re talking about a deployed joint task force, the expert for the local
resupply ammunition capacity may be a Marine Corps major sitting on the Marine Forces
Pacific staff. That major needs to be integrated, from a technology and business process
perspective, with other headquarters to answer questions from other staffs. That’s
how I view the virtual staff of the future.

We’re about to move with the Navy’s Pacific Fleet to a more modern future.
Our next step will be asynchronous transfer mode to the desktop with a standard
configuration of 400-MHz PCs—very fast, very powerful state-of-the-art machines. We
will be adding not only the normal data services that PCs provide but also
videoconferencing capabilities.

I believe that the addition of video and visuals to staff officers will be the most
revolutionary advancement in staff processing that we’ve seen since e-mail. We are
also creating an archiving capability to do the kinds of browsing that we need in a
knowledge-based environment.

To have a knowledge-based environment, you need a source for people to find that

The ability to research vast amounts of information and get good answers fast to tough
questions will be the business process of collaborative planning.

GCN: The command is also
creating a theater C4 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance coordination center
that will provide around-the-clock bandwidth management for all command networks. What is
the status of that project?

BRYAN: I think of myself mostly as a field soldier. As a combat signal officer, I
became accustomed to walking into my command post and having arrayed before me a complete
and up-to-date representation of exactly what the health of the network is: a situation
awareness display of the network.

I still have a need to know what the health of the network is. Right now, people know
what that health is, but I have to go out and collect that information. We don’t have
a central reporting facility to which all our networks—sensors, switches, undersea
cables, satellites—report. All of these bits and pieces collectively form the C4ISR
situation awareness.

We’ve coined the phrase “theater C4ISR coordination center.” The word
coordination is important because in my job I don’t need to track what is already
being tracked somewhere else.

The Defense Information Systems Agency manages and controls long-haul and certain
Defense Department-wide networks on our behalf. Space Command operates the major satellite
systems for us. The Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station provides a
tremendous amount of communications support to our headquarters here on Oahu.

GCN: Does the command
establish its own standards for hardware and software?

BRYAN: We abide by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff
policy guidance.

The Joint Technical Architecture is our encyclopedia of standards. We also follow the
Defense Information Infrastructure’s Common Operating Environment as defined by DISA
and endorsed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control,
Communications and Intelligence.

We accept the JTA and DII COE as the gospel, and we do not endorse technical standards
that are not captured within those two constructs. But, as far as the systems architecture
for the PACOM theater of operations, we do need to contribute. I have a division here
whose primary responsibility is systems architecture work.

We don’t need to create technical standards; they’re there. Creating systems
architectures, at least to the level of detail where we show how things fit together, is
an important contribution that we can make.

Systems architectures are the blueprints, and in every theater the blueprint is a
little different. There’s no way that DOD can have a system architecture to serve as
a single solution.

GCN: Do you have a
standard software configuration for your PCs at the headquarters level?

BRYAN: Yes. We have a pretty standard environment. We use a combination of Microsoft
Windows NT, Exchange and Outlook. Our headquarters now has centralized acquisition. We are
the ones who buy the machines and the software for everybody to use, and we maintain
configuration control.

GCN: As a joint unified
command, how does your office ensure interoperability between the different services?

BRYAN: Interoperability is difficult on the joint side. But interoperability on the
coalition side of the equation is as difficult, perhaps even more. The spectrum is central
to interoperability on the coalition level.

Spectrum is a national resource to which every nation is giving a lot of attention
because of increasing competition for spectrum resources. Those parts of the spectrum that
are most highly sought are the ones becoming the most crowded.

GCN: How are the
command’s year 2000 efforts going?

BRYAN: I was pleased when I arrived here this past summer to see that this command was
addressing Y2K aggressively. We just activated a year 2000 task force—with the deputy
commander in chief taking the lead—situated in our command center that is doing the
operational evaluations and contingency planning.  


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/Shutterstock.com)

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected