News: Secured communications controller bridges gap between nations
Story by Cpl. Matthew Manning
POHANG, Republic of Korea – When two nations take part in a combined operation, there are often barriers which must be overcome for operational success and for the Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines taking part in Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise 2014 at the 1st ROK Marine Corps Division Base in Pohang, Republic of Korea, the barrier of communication technology is being broken the secured communications controller.
“The SCC is a technical transitions development effort sponsored by Marine Forces Systems Command,” said Jason Reynolds, senior systems engineer with Trident Technology Solutions. “We were sent out here to field test the SCC during this exercise, get feedback from the Marines, learn how we can improve the system and see if the system would be useful for future operations between the ROK and U.S.”
The system works with the whole inventory of U.S. Marine Corps radios, and is even able to be connected to cell phones and smart phones.
“I never expected to see a system like this,” said Sgt. Crystal A. Dodson, native of Bend, Oregon, and radio operator with 7th Communication Battalion, III MEF Headquarters group. “With the different encryptions and programing each radio system has, we are not able to talk directly to another military on their radio systems. This will increase the Marine Corps’ capabilities with our allies as we continue to train in exercises like MEFEX, or in any real-world operations we take part in with partner nations.”
The SCC has been a common point of interest between the ROK and U.S. Marines taking part in MEFEX, according to Staff Sgt. Seung Lee, team leader with Intel and Communication Battalion, 1st ROK Marine Corps Division.
“With all the recent technological advances, I was not surprised to hear that this system existed,” said Lee. “What I did not expect was to be involved in the field testing of this system.”
Initial testing of the SCC gives both ROK and U.S. Marines high hopes for easier communication during future exercises and operations, according to Dodson.
“The best thing about this system is that neither the ROK nor the U.S. Marine Corps has to get new radio systems,” said Dodson. “Both sides are able to keep the systems they currently have, the encryption and security that the Marines know how to use will stay the same and we will still be able to talk to one another. There are so many different uses for this system, both with partner nations and within the Marine Corps. I look forward to seeing how this system will be used in the future.”
The skill of the Marines as radio operators has greatly contributed to the Marines’ ability to understand how operate the SCC, according to Reynolds.
“Working with this group of Marines has been a joy for me,” said Reynolds. “This command has done an excellent job of training the Marines. They learned how to set up and take down this system very quickly and have become both knowledgeable and proficient in operating the SCC.”
Both ROK and U.S. Marines look forward to the benefits a SCC will bring to the combined Marine Corps team, according to Lee.
“I hope that we can continue to test this system, identify any compatibility issues and fix them so the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps can increase our combined capabilities,” said Lee.