DVIDS – News – Communications: a shared language
CATC CAMP FUJI, Japan (March 26, 2022)—Communications Marines supported a bilateral assault of an objective during a phase called Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise during the Maritime Defense Exercise Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. This exercise, organized by the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, took place between US Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and soldiers from the 1st Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment.
Communications Marines with the 31st MEU played a critical role within MDX-ARDB and was responsible for the design, installation, connection, operation and maintenance of major communications networks.
However, during MDX-ARDB, the Marines of the 31st MEU were able to do something spectacular: they were able to bilaterally command and control a tactical scenario in a very innovative way.
“Normally, Marine communications are used to support one-way communications networks, which are inherently complex,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Morales, the naval integration communications officer for the 31st MEU communications section. “However, the ability to integrate bilaterally in an exercise such as this is a testament to the interoperability between the United States and our Japanese allies.”
Through the use of a device called the Mini Secure Communications Controller (Mini – SCC), the 31st MEU Marines were able to successfully command and control alongside their 1st ARDR counterparts. This system, specifically designed to provide an encrypted audio bridge between US Marine Corps radio systems and partner nation radio systems, is a key asset that is lightweight and portable.
“Due to the lack of similar radio systems, the Mini-SCC allows us to bridge this gap by linking our radios together to share a voice communication capability. In doing so, we can enable bilateral command and control for US commanders and Japanese in order to synchronize the maneuvers of the units taking an objective,” Morales said. “The procedures and standards by which we operate are still being worked out, but in laying the groundwork, we have put ourselves in a good position to begin codifying bilateral techniques for controlling units in the field.”
Communications Marines play a critical role in modern Marine Corps operations and are the pinnacle of command and control. They serve as conduits to transmit critical information and key components in the synchronization of accurate and timely information.
Morales has played a key role in the relationship between the two organizations. The Naval Integration Communications Officer is responsible for the integration of Marine Corps communications systems aboard Navy amphibious ships and serves as the lead communications planner for the 31st MEU for exercises and operations. In early November 2021, he facilitated a high-frequency ship-to-shore communication exercise between the MEU and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
“We are able to enable distributed operations of forces over long distances. It adds capacity to our toolbox and gives us the opportunity to build understanding and synergy,” Morales said.
Communications networks are the cornerstone of the common foundation upon which the United States and Japan have thrived.
“Although we don’t share the same language, communication tools are able to bridge this gap,” Morales said. “Our mutual efforts have led our service members to not only grow together in friendship, but also as a cohesive team that can respond to crisis when called upon.”
Although MDX-ARDB has ended, the 31st MEU looks forward to future iterations of training with its Japanese counterparts to promote peace, stability, and a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps‘ only continuously forward deployed MEU, provides a flexible and lethal force ready to perform a wide range of military operations as the premier crisis response force in the Indo -peaceful. The 31st MEU has strict health protection measures in place and will continue to provide essential training in support of regional security and stability.