|New Portal Improves Command, Control|
New Portal Improves Command, Control
By Chuck Paone, Electronic Systems Center Public Affairs.
Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts – March 25, 2002 (AFPN) -- The Electronic Systems Center here is developing a Web-based information system designed to let managers track the progress not only of individual command and control, or C2, systems, but of the entire C2 enterprise.
The C2 enterprise is made up of all the systems that gather, synthesize and deliver data commanders need to make critical battle decisions.
The new system uses portal technology to enable coordinated planning and execution of C2 acquisition and development.
A portal, in the simplest sense, is a Web-based information technology gateway that allows direct access to various information sources, officials said. Unlike a simple Web site, a portal permits registered users to do more than view material; it allows them to add, manipulate, cross-reference and view data in myriad ways.
"Everyone from the chief of staff on down acknowledges that delivering integrated, interoperable C2 systems to the warfighter has to be a top priority for the Air Force," said Col. Bradley Butler, ESC’s deputy commander for C2 enterprise integration. "Now we’ll have a common system that really lets us figure out where the challenges lie and helps us decide how best to allocate our resources to make it happen."
The C2 enterprise portal has three fundamental functions: it captures and displays program and interoperability metrics; it tracks and displays enterprise-level calendar items; and it serves as a repository for detailed program schedules and documents that support C2 enterprise integration, officials said.
The program and interoperability metrics allow managers to measure how programs are doing in terms of schedule, budget, interoperability and compliance with critical capability statements. Specialists at the Air Force Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center, at Langley Air Force Base, Va., compile those statements on behalf of the user community.
"These metrics provide a top-level picture of the health of the enterprise," said Capt. Dave Buchanan, the acting C2 enterprise portal program manager.
The calendar feature provides a comprehensive listing of all significant events C2 managers need to be aware of. The calendars are layered, so both top-level and individual organization calendars are available.
The third major feature, the schedule service of the portal, captures program office-maintained schedules and consolidates them into a single database, allowing users to see a program’s development progress as it relates to delivering warfighter critical capabilities.
The program offices will maintain the schedules, and users will have the ability to review the information and see if there are any schedule, budget or other considerations that would impact on their ability to acquire needed capability, officials said.
"Our C2 portal is an exciting next step for not only ESC but also for our collective customers, who will depend on this tool for decision making on a daily basis," said Lt. Col. Bill Nelson, chief of the planning and integration division. "It’s a living snapshot of our programs."
That snapshot is expected to expand and have greater definition as time goes on, according to those managing the portal’s development.
"The portal is really a large-decision support system," said Lt. Col. Donna Warner, deputy for the enterprise integration branch. "The end goal is large and complex. We are using a spiral development approach to deliver useful functionality one piece at a time."
The team will introduce the latest spiral of the C2 enterprise portal to a top-level audience at the C2 Summit in late April.