Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA) Advanced Planning Brief to Industry (APBI)

Published: February 11, 2019

Defense & AerospaceUSMC

The United States Marine Corps’ Tactical Systems Activity (MCTSSA) held their Advanced Planning Brief to Industry on February 6th, 2019 at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.  The APBI was held in an effort for industry to gain insight into MCTSSA’s mission, organization, technical activities and to present the contracting financial magnitude, areas of potential engagement and the contract resources.  Colonel Robert O. Bailey, the Commanding Officer at MCTSSA and Colonel Jeff Holt, Deputy Commander, Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base Pendleton were two of the higher level presenters, followed by multiple speakers in each of the breakout sessions. 

According to Col. Robert O’ Bailey, MCTSSA has not been able to have the great success that they have without the collaborative team of Marines, government civilians and contracting partners.  Cultivating and enhancing their relationship with industry is and will become even more essential as our nation faces new and evolving threats from a strategic and asymmetric adversary.  Some of the areas shaping MCTSSA’s current and foreseeable efforts include: cybersecurity, electronic warfare and hypersonic weapons. 

The APBI was broken up into 20 min briefing sessions, giving an overview indicating where they need help from industry.  One of the first briefings attended was the brief titled “Doing Business with MCTSSA”.  MCTSSA will always look to maximize competition as much as possible, assuring that small businesses will get their fair share of work.  In addition, to maximizing competition, MCTSSA has procurement initiatives which include developing agile processes for ordering under existing MACs; maximizing the use of existing multiple awards contracts; develop IDIQs and use OTAs/Prize Challenges for emerging capabilities and commercial solutions.  Industry can expect emerging requirements in Engineering Support as well as Administrative Support.  There were 7 additional briefings highlighting MCTSSA efforts to fulfill a need for more personnel and achieve their mission of making every marines more capable.

  • Joint Interoperability of Tactical Command and Controls Systems (JINTACCS)

Speaker: Mr. Buck Connally

This break out session discussed the sharing of information via tactical data exchange standards, which are developed and managed through JINTACCS program.  This facilitates implementation of procedural standards such as Link 16, Variable Message Format (VMF) and U.S. Message Text Format (USMTF). 

Needs: Mr. Connally stated that additional data engineers are crucial for JINTACCS.  Additional support is needed in regards to the tactical data exchange standards by performing technology insertion (XML, JSON), into Military Standards.  

  • Information Technology and Administrative Services

Speaker: Major Michael Liguori

MCTSSA has and will continue to have a recurring demand for IT and administrative services to support testing and engineering efforts that help enable their support of the Operating Forces and Programs of Records. 

Needs: Seeking services and solutions to support operational infrastructure requirements, procurement management, fiscal management, virtualization support, cybersecurity support, etc.  In addition, MCTSSA requires a platform and/or cloud based business processes that can support all areas listed above and more.  They want industry feedback – unsolicited proposals if need be.  

  • Optimizing Developmental Testing through VM, Automation and STAT

Speaker: Mr. Tim McLean

MCTSSA performs Developmental Test and Evaluation of C2 systems that Marines use to increase their situational awareness in the battlefield.  The challenges to overcome are balancing constrained testing schedules with the necessary rigor to meet the testing requirements and provide the results that enable Program Manager’s the confidence to make program decisions.  In order to meet this challenge, MCTSSA uses Virtualization, Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques (STAT) and test automation.  By creating VM from a physical test asset, MCTSSA can effectively use, change, probe and test a system under test prior to actual testing, allowing only relevant findings and issues to be tested during formal execution. 

Needs: Contractors with PhDs as well as scientists to support development of STAT design and analysis; experts in automation for current and future C4I systems testing; experts in maximizing virtualization technologies in support of C4I testing; provide a way to measure how much cyber is enough cyber? 

  • Configuration Management in Support of C4I Testing

Speaker: Mr. Chris Musel

MCTSSA Configuration Management supports events executed in the MCTSSA Labs.  They focus on test bed integrity; repeatability, reliability and integrity of the test. Think cradle to the grave in the testing environment. 

Needs: Industry solutions in the areas of CM technical expertise, CM Tools, process automation and test support.  All personnel would need a secret clearance in compliance with MCTSSA’s environment to fulfill listed deliverables.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning DevOPS at MCTSSA

Speaker: Captain Ben Brida

With the formation of the of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and service level AI institutes, the DoD is looking to rapidly increase its exploration and use of machine learning to satisfy defense problems. Due to a recent surge in Machine Learning, this group was established by the MCTSSA to drive innovation.

Needs: Find accredited development framework to operate on MCEN; a continuous accreditation process for internally developed applications/algorithms; accreditation for commercial cloud resources to enable development and hosting.  

  • Testing at MCTSSA

Speaker: Ms. Kim Reynolds

MCTSSA’s Test and Certification Group (TCG) provides a full spectrum of system and System of Systems (SoS) testing, to include Cybersecurity testing throughout a program’s lifecycle.  Testing includes: C4I; Sensors; Tactical Networking; Communications: Cybersecurity. 

Needs: Ms. Reynolds stated that to continue sustainment and to grow in testing services, experts are needed to complete several advancements through roles requiring expert level experience in the following: C4I systems operator expertise, operational mission thread development; doctrinal architecture design, data collection and network and tactical data link analysis expertise. 

  • Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN) Planning Yard

Speaker: Mr. Mike O’Neil

MCEN is the Marine Corps segment of the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) and is generally defined as the interconnected information systems and the associated collecting, processing, storing, managing and transmission of information on non-secure and secret internet protocol router networks (NIPRNET and SIPRNET).  The Planning Yard was established to ensure changes to the MCEN are introduced in a controlled and disciplined manner, with a specific focus on the interfaces and seams between the Garrison environment and the Tactical environment. 

Needs: Modeling and Simulation Subject Matter Expertise; Data Center Management including: Network Management, Virtualization Technology Subject Matter Expertise, System Administration Expertise; and Program Administrative Support. 


To achieve the continued success both MCTSSA and industry need to collaborate together.  Throughout FY’2019 onwards, MCTSSA anticipates engaging with industry as much as they can to fill gaps where help is needed.  From the contracting standpoint, MCTSSA is looking to establish a quarterly opportunities briefing to be published on their website.  This is anticipated to be published in FY’2020.  In the meantime, contractors are encouraged to submit unsolicited proposals to MCTSSA.

Although this has not been confirmed, this APBI Industry Brief may be a yearly occurrence.