Command unites Marines' IT operations

Who's in charge

Brig. Gen. (Select) George J. Allen


Sharie Bourbeau

Deputy CIO

Col. Paul Hilton

Director of network plans and policies

Col. Lyle Cross

Director of command, control, communications, computers and strategic issues

Col. R.G. Baker

Marine Corps deputy director and technical director of the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet

Col. Eric Rolaf

Commander of the Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Command

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'This gave the Marine Corps the ability to observe, orient, decide and act with great speed across its network environment.'

'Col. Eric Rolaf

The military's smallest service branch has become the first to house network management, operations, system defense and its own Computer Emergency Response Team all under one roof.

The Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Command in Quantico, Va., operates and protects the Marine Corps Enterprise Network, which integrates classified and unclassified applications and connects Corps users to Defense systems.

Before the command began integrating its operations, various IT functions were carried out by several different commands. But the Marine Corps saw greater utility and speed in merging the roles.

'This gave the Marine Corps the ability to observe, orient, decide and act with great speed across its network environment, which is critical to success on the cyberbattlefield,' said Col. Eric Rolaf, head of the command. 'The MCNOSC mission and functions are derived from the emerging need to network computers in a cohesive manner as well as the need to provide for their defense through a secure operational framework.'

NMCI integration

The command has also integrated help desk capabilities for the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet Enterprise Management Facility into its daily operations. This has helped to improve responsiveness and enterprise network service and defense as the Corps moves users onto the NMCI network, officials said.

NMCI is a single network that will link roughly 411,000 sailors and Marines at 300 shore sites via a common voice, video and data portal.

'What we've done is put everything into one command so we can deal with enterprise management and network defense and the ability to operate and defend the Marine Corps information space,' said Col. R.G. Baker, a former MCNOSC commander who now works as deputy director and technical director of NMCI.

Rolaf said the command established and expanded expeditionary support, sending teams to offer technical assistance to Marine Corps forces participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As commanding officer, Rolaf's role is to help defend the MCEN against cyberattack, following the example of the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations, which carries out the mission across the Defense Department.

The move to consolidate Marine Corps computer assets started in December 1994, when Marine Corps Operating Force and supporting telecommunications, network, acquisition, and management functions for the IT infrastructure began merging under the Marine Corps Systems Command.

This was part of a broader realignment of Marine Corps IT functions, officials said.

Network defense

In 1998, the deputy secretary of Defense for command, control, computers and intelligence set up a joint task force to defend military networks against cyberattacks.

Under the mandate, each service was called to develop a supporting organization capable of protecting and defending its networks.

The Corps created the Marine Corps IT and Network Operations Center (MITNOC) by merging the Marine Corps Network Operations Center and the Marine Corps Computer and Telecommunications Activity.

In 2003, MITNOC was folded into the Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Command. MCNOSC serves as the Marine component of the Strategic Command's Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations.

More than 220 Marines, civilians and contractors currently work for the network and security command, which supports 33 major installations with a user base of 160,000 on the classified and unclassified networks.

Since MCNOSC was established, other military agencies have moved to integrate network management, operations and defense to protect their networks as well.

'This model allowed the Marine Corps to be both efficient and effective in both the delivery of network services and the defense of the network. The other services have seen the benefit of organizing in this manner and have done so,' Baker said.

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