In 1977, Congress directed all of the Services to establish TENCAP programs to explore new concepts for using national intelligence systems to support operations at the tactical level. Accordingly, Service TENCAPs were chartered to:
- Improve procedure by which national system products are made available to tactical forces.
- Develop new methods for processing national system "data" into tactically useful "information".
- Formulate new concepts for using existing national systems in support of tactical operations, and conduct tests and demonstrations, under field conditions, to assess the effectiveness of these concepts.
- Prepare tactical impact statement to influence the design of future national systems to assure the needs of tactical users receive appropriate priority.
JP 2-01 Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations defines Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) as a "Congressionally mandated program to improve the combat effectiveness of the Services through more effective military use of national programs".
In accordance with MCO 5400.53 Marine Corps Space Policy, Director of Intelligence, Headquarters Marine Corps shall:
- Oversee and support the activities of the Marine Corps Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities Office.
- Advocate and articulate Marine Corps space related Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance needs and capability gaps to include those related to Imagery Intelligence, Signals Intelligence, and Measurement and Signature Intelligence.
- Service as the Marine Corps liaison to external agencies tasked with providing space-based intelligence support to the DoD.
- Act as a resource sponsor and, in coordination with Deputy Commandant Combat Development & Integration, validate space-related operational needs and identify specific systems to leverage space-based capabilities.
Additionally, Director Intelligence, as the Marine Corps Military Intelligence Program component manager, is tasked by MCO 3900.15B Marine Corps Expeditionary FOrce Development System (EFDS) to coordinate with national and defense intelligence agencies to leverage resources and technologies for supporting the Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and integration in Marine Task Force (MAGTF) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability development.
MARINE CORPS TENCAP PROGRAM
Marine Corps TENCAP collaborates with other Service TENCAPs, IC agencies, government, academia, and industry to improve tasking, collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination of information and intelligence to Marines. By conducting rapid prototyping and technology insertion, and developing new intelligence product lines, TENCAP integrates current and emerging national systems data into the tactical decision making process.
As a research and development (R&D) effort within the Intelligence Department, Marine Corps TENCAP leverage resources and initiatives via:
- Military Exploitation of Reconnaissance and Intelligence Technology (MERIT) program. MERIT enables TENCAP to leverage Joint funded R&D efforts to develop new or improved products derived from overhead systems or national data.
- Congressionally mandated programs. In the execution of congressionally mandated programs, TENCAP allocates resources and manpower towards innovative research and development programs specifically supporting Marine Corps Intelligence.
Marine Corps TENCAP projects take two paths to transition and long-term sustainment:
- To another member of the Intelligence Community, Developed capabilities are transitioned to Combat Support Agencies and other members of the intelligence community where Marines can reach back for specific data and products. Projects that take this transition path ten to be software development efforts that would normally require significant data processing or significant bandwidth to obtain the unprocessed data. As a result, Marine Corps operating forces are provided with a new product and information that is remotely generated, thus minimizing the footprint of the operational forces.
- To Marine Corps Systems Command. Prior to transition to a Program of Record, TENCAP projects will often undergo a Field User Evaluation (FUE) or Technology Utilization Evaluation; some projects may first go to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) for evaluation in a limited objective experiment or evaluation. Upon completion of evaluation, MCSC determines the project's suitability for integration into a Program of Record.