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U.S. Marine Cpl. Kyle Bougeno with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, explains the use of a laptop and its various video feed capabilities to Royal Thai counterparts at Camp Ban Chan Khrem, the Kingdom of Thailand, Feb. 19, 2018.Bougeno, a Pevely, Missouri native, serves as an intelligence analyst and a small unmanned aerial systems operator. Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand and runs from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Robert Arellano)

Photo by Sgt. Robert Arellano

Intel Marines take the guess work out of information operations

20 Mar 2019 | Lance Cpl. Kaleb Martin III Marine Expeditionary Force

Information superiority over the enemy is a vital aspect of war; a commander with a constant feed of real-time intelligence could be the difference between a successful operation or a catastrophic failure.

U.S. Marine Corps Imagery Analysis Specialists with Imagery Interpretation Platoon, 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, sharpened their abilities to eliminate the commander’s uncertainty on the battlefield during Virtual Imagery Processor Exercise 19.1, March 3-16, 2019.

“The purpose of this training was to maintain a thorough expertise and understanding on the Tactical Wideband Inter-Operable Surface Terminal and Virtual Imagery Processor – Marine Corps,” said 1st Lt. Hunter Harrel, the officer in charge of IIP.

This system provides a real-time feed to commanders from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets throughout the battle space.

“It eliminates the guess work,” said Sgt. Oscar Tapia, an Imagery Analysis Specialist with IIP. “Instead of assuming what the enemy might be doing, the commander can see firsthand where the enemy is and what they are doing.”

This training provided Marines with hands-on experience of proper set-up, breakdown and successful reception of live imagery feed utilizing the TWISTer Antenna and the VIP-MC.

“At first, my mind was blown looking at all the parts that needed to be setup in order to get the system running,” said Sgt. David Hart, a Imagery Specialist Marine with IIP. “However, once our team got started, it reminded me of putting together a Lego set.”

This system can travel with the commander and move as the battlefield advances.

“The Marines can have the system up and running in a matter of ninety minutes,” said Harrel. “Once the antenna and surveillance aircraft come in contact, the live feed can be viewed within thirty seconds.”

Marines with IIP look forward to employing the TWISTer Antenna and VIP-MC system during future exercises in order to support III MEF Information Operations. Being a part of a unit that is constantly deploying to different areas of operation within the Indo-Pacific region will allow for various opportunities to enhance their abilities with the system.

“The training was a success,” said Harrel “The Marines will incorporate the TWISTer and VIP-MC system into future exercises such as Cobra Gold and Balikatan.”

These two systems play an integral role in supporting a function of operating in the information environment, providing battle-space awareness. As intelligence Marines become more proficient in both TWISTer and VIP-MC, III MEF Information Group’s ability to obtain the upper hand in gaining the information superiority over the enemy is acquired that much easier.