IT and Networks

How the Marines want to provide information on demand

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps wants to provide information on demand. However, sensing, harnessing and acting upon the vast amounts of data produced daily is an enormous challenge and now the Corps is turning to its 2019 blueprint for the information environment.

“If you were building a house, you would never just hire plumbers, framers, roofers and say build me a house,” Jennifer Edgin, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Information, said Sept. 22 during a virtual panel as part of Modern Day Marine.

Rather, she noted, most would start with the design of the house and how things connect.

“That’s how we began with our journey in the Marine Corps Information Environment Enterprise, by publishing a blueprint. That outlined our future state vision, our case for change and the major muscle movements that we were tackling with that,” she said.

Published in March 2019 and classified as “controlled unclassified information,” the blueprint is a unified technical, physical and business model that documents the design of the Marine Corps Information Environment, Edgin told C4ISRNET in written responses to questions. It connects users with data to support a mission and codifies the policies, standards, services, infrastructure, technical design and architectural elements required to deliver capabilities to Marines.

Extremely technical in nature, the blueprint is meant to guide the development and employment of capabilities needed and provides acquisition officers guidance and constraints while also conveying a common language. The first iteration covers five key areas to include digital transformation, governance, transitioning to the cloud, standardization and information dominance.

“The future state of warfare requires the Marine Corps to think differently, encourage innovation, and embrace new business models for change that focus on enhancing the access, capabilities, and user experience throughout the Information Environment,” Edgin said. “This blueprint unites and aligns efforts to digitally equip Marines for the future … The benefit of the blueprint is that it articulates information that cannot easily be visualized. For example, it is very easy to see physical assets like trucks or planes however, it is difficult to articulate information technology assets and visualize how they are employed.”

Edgin noted yesterday that the Marine Corps Enterprise Network modernization plan followed the blueprint, taking the blueprint and breaking it down into action plans.

Taken together, both documents are meant to guide a transformation the office of the Deputy Commandant for Information is seeking to realize, one that provides secure information on demand leveraging technologies such as cloud computing, resilient mesh networks and emerging technology such as machine learning.

“Information doesn’t have a geographic boundary,” she said, “you’re seeing more of that cross functional team, cross functional approaches where we can really harness all of the best and brightest of authorities and ideas so that we can provide that information on demand.”

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