The latest trend in C2 tech is Command Post Of the Future (COPF), a
system currently deployed at division level, enabling division and
brigade commanders to discuss and collaborate when processing
information, share ideas, and attend virtual meetings without
assembling at one place. As of
over 500 units are operational with US forces in Iraq.
CPOF runs on a commercial off-the-shelf computer workstation with
three screens that provide a shared environment that distributes,
manipulates and displays, current operational information about the
locations of all friendly units, known enemy forces, and relevant
operational plans. Information, including images and data, is seen
in two and three dimensions across the distributed workspace.
Commanders can be better informed and thus make better decisions, by
sharing situational awareness and collaborating with headquarters.
Commanders attending the virtual meeting do
not have to attend in the same location, or even the same country,
to discuss and draw on the same map. CPOF was developed as a
technology demonstration by DARPA. The prototype was deployed with
the 1st Cavalry division and is currently operating in Baghdad,
connecting the division HQ and five brigades. DARPA is expanding the
system with the introduction of advanced visualization tools
such as multi-screen video wall, video and audio conferencing and
online collaboration tools, allowing brigade commanders to communicate, collaborate and share
information. The first unit receiving the enhanced CPOF was the 3rd US Infantry Division.
The program transitioned from DARPA to the Army in February 2006.
CPOF is now managed by PM Battle Command at Ft. Monmouth, NJ, which
directs the program's deployment, sustainment and feature
development for the Army. In May 2006, the U.S. Marine Corps
launched an engineering design to determine how CPOF could be
integrated into its Combat Operations Centers. CPOF was also used in
the U.S. Air Force's Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 06 (JFEX
06) at Langley AFB, Va., and the U.S. Joint Forces Command Urban
Resolve 2015 series of experiments in October 2006.
CPOF enables forward command elements to reduced staff to operate C2
systems. In the distant future, advanced CPOF systems will eliminate
parts of the brigade's Tactical Operations Centers (TOC) primarily
the forward and assault TOC which could be transformed into virtual
TOCs. COPF relies on wideband data-communications links currently
available to the Army, via military and commercial satellite
communications services. The commander's battleboard is interfaced
to the system supporting all communication, collaboration, and
information feeds he needs.
The system is maintained as "liquid information" in database format,
which separate the data from the viewing space. This method enables
faster visualization and optimal maintenance of large volumes of
constantly changing information. The system gathers real-time and
near-real-time feeds from multiple C2 applications. Constant
monitoring of the battlefield is provided, by tracking the combat
elements on maps or satellite photos and video feeds from
battlefield sensors, following enemy forces through intelligence
reports, ground observations, forward units or UAVs. Commanders no
longer have to call on the radio to check the status of each unit.
CPOF support commercial presentation style briefings, including map, photos and video. The participants can respond, sketching out
their comments on the shared "Battleboard" presented in
each location and at the central CP's video wall. The Agile Commander
program provided a scalable, reconfigurable operator environment
which enabled commanders to access all command post information and
functions anywhere, anytime, utilizing advanced MOSAIC and Global