QUANTICO, VA. –
Marine Corps Systems Command recently fielded sturdy, spacious tents, fulfilling an Urgent Universal Need Statement during the COVID-19 pandemic to support command and control missions.
In September 2020, MCSC acquired a pair of Command Platform Airbeam Tents—a mobile shelter constructed using beams of compressed air—after receiving a U-UNS from II Marine Expeditionary Force for a stable, mobile shelter system to conduct command and control tasks in a foreign country.
“They had a requirement to go overseas and conduct reception staging and outward integration,” said Dave Rooney, the project officer for Shelters and Containers at MCSC. “They needed a structure capable of housing a command element—one that could be rapidly constructed and displaced.”
Platform Airbeam Tent
Photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Lyden
Determined to support Marine needs during a worldwide health crisis, the Marine Corps immediately got to work. Upon validating the request, the Marine Corps’ Combat Development and Integration worked with MCSC to fulfill the requirement.
“The statement of need steered us toward pursuing this capability,” said Jon Hull, deputy director for Logistics Combat Element Division at Capabilities Development Directorate, CD&I. “SYSCOM researched and confirmed the mechanics of procurement, so credit to their program office for delivering these tents in such a short timeframe.”
MCSC leveraged a Defense Logistics Agency contract that supported a very rapid contract award for the shelter capability. The command helped expedite delivery by working closely with this company to ensure all requirements were met during the manufacturing phase and the tents were ready for employment.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, MCSC fulfilled the need and fielded two
CPAT systems to II MEF six months later.
“It was an incredible collaboration between SYSCOM, CD&I and the vendor to get the solution from origination to completion in less than six months,” said Dave Rooney, the project officer for Shelters and Containers at MCSC
“We purchased exactly what [II MEF] needed.”
In January 2021, MCSC hosted a New Equipment Training for CPAT aboard MCB Camp Lejeune, where Marines learned to construct and deconstruct the tents. These innovative mobile shelters provide a space for Marines to operate complex command and control equipment—such as audio and visual displays—and host briefing sessions while abroad.
The tents involve very little moving parts, fostering rapid mobility on the battlefield. During the NET, a group of Marines used a pair of compressors to fully inflate a single tent in 30 minutes. It also took just a couple of hours to disassemble the tent and move to another area.
There is no current standing requirement for MCSC to acquire additional tents outside of the U-UNS. However, Rooney said Marines with II MEF have expressed gratitude for the shelters, as the structures will help them conduct command and control missions more efficiently on the battlefield.
Photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Lyden
He also commended everyone who had a hand in fulfilling an urgent need in a short timeframe, which exhibited a team-effort from all Marine Corps entities involved.
“The amazing part of this process was how quickly we delivered the capability to Marines in a COVID environment,” said Rooney. “Fulfilling an urgent need statement and delivering these shelters during a pandemic was a tremendous accomplishment for the Marine Corps.”
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Marine Corps website.