Services jointly pursue Google-like intelligence-sharing system

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					                                                                                                                               Reprint from the
                                                                                                                                  March 2004
                                                                                                                                        Issue of

                           2004/March/Vol. 3. No. 2

                                                                                                                                          AIR FORCE

Net-centric trailblazer
Services jointly pursue ‘Google’-like intelligence-sharing system
BY GLENN W. GOODMAN JR.                                    "stovepipe" systems that operate independently and         During the war in Iraq, the Air
                                                           send collected sensor data back through their own          Force effectively linked a

A   minor revolution was set in motion in the ISR and
    command and control arena in recent months that
    will transform the way the U.S. military services
process, exploit and disseminate sensor data from
their ISR platforms.
                                                           specialized ground processing stations and reporting
                                                           channels. The flow and correlation of different types
                                                           of ISR sensor data, despite improvements by the serv-
                                                           ices, still entail a great deal of manual effort and
                                                           occur too slowly for today's faster tempo of U.S. mili-
                                                                                                                      number of global intelligence
                                                                                                                      exploitation sites through a
                                                                                                                      great deal of ad hoc, manual
  The objective is to establish an Internet-like, global   tary operations, in particular for time-critical target-
information-sharing network across the military serv-      ing. Moreover, while pockets of cross-service interop-
ices and the defense-intelligence agencies. This net-      erability exist, the services' legacy DCGS elements are
work-centric enterprise, called the Distributed            not connected.
Common Ground System (DCGS), promises to speed               The DCGS Capstone Requirements Document
the flow of correlated intelligence to U.S. forces         approved in January 2003 by the Pentagon-level Joint
deployed overseas to bring about unparalleled situa-       Requirements Oversight Council described the DCGS
tional awareness and war-fighting effectiveness.           goal as "all sensors and ground stations on a common
  Previously, ISR platforms for the services have been     network creating a shared information environment."
                                                                                               if the processes by which collection, analysis, produc-
                                                                                               tion and dissemination of intelligence were similar to
                                                                                               those that govern contemporary [Internet] Web sites.
                                                                                               ... The customer or user -- the military commander or
                                                                                               the intelligence analyst -- defines his preferences by
                                                                                               his selections from menus presented to him at the
                                                                                               Web site. He has access to any information he needs
                                                                                               based on what he needs to know. That information
                                                                                               comes to him directly, rather than through a process
                                                                                               in which there are security limitations that are
                                                                                               imposed due to collection considerations of sources
                                                                                               and methods or by distribution constraints that are
                                                                                               dictated by the originating agency."
                                                                                                  "Publish and subscribe" is another term used to
                                                                                               describe how the intelligence-exploitation construct
                                                                                               will function. Users, such as strike planners in an
                                                                                               Air Operations Center, will register in advance to
                                                                                               receive certain types of intelligence. That intelligence
                                                                                               data then will be sent to them automatically as it is
                                                                                               collected and after it is processed.
                                                                                                  Network-centric operations are at the heart of the
                                                                                               U.S. military services' transformation plans, with the
                                                                                               goal of attaining an information advantage by inte-
                                                                                               grating deployed forces to share an up-to-date, com-
                                                                                               mon operational picture of the battlefield and to syn-
                                                                                   AIR FORCE   chronize their efforts.
The first new Air Force           A NEW PARADIGM                                                  The services view horizontal integration of ISR sen-
Distributed Common Ground           The existing linear, sequential model for the flow of      sor platforms, command and control centers and
System will be phased into        intelligence has been called task, process, exploit and      weapons platforms as an essential first step toward
Deployable Ground System 1        disseminate, with "task" referring to assigning collec-      network-centric operations. Stenbit, in a January
facilities at Langley Air Force   tion tasks to ISR sensor platforms, such as the Air          interview (Page 14), told ISR that senior Defense
Base, VA., in fiscal 2005.        Force U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The         Department officials agreed to make DCGS a "net-
                                  new concept of handling intelligence data embodied           centric poster child."
                                  in DCGS is called task, post, process and use.                  Cambone, in a November ISR interview, also iden-
                                    For the first time, new intelligence data will be          tified DCGS as one of the key programs advancing
                                  posted on the network for early use by authorized            horizontal integration and net-centric operations. He
                                  U.S. military users worldwide before the data are            also told the ISR conference that month, "We are
                                  fully processed into polished products by specialized        making a substantial investment in such systems as
                                  intelligence analysts. Those users will include air-         the laser-satellite communications system, the
                                  strike planners, ground commanders and their staffs,         expansion of the Global Information Grid, and the
                                  special-operations forces, etc. -- not just intelligence     creation of a Distributed Common Ground System,
                                  analysts.                                                    along with joint command-and-control systems.
                                    Users deployed in overseas operations will be able         These, in turn, are being fashioned into a networked
                                  to "reach back" into up-to-date databases on the glob-       operating environment, both for the defense and
                                  al DCGS network to pull fresh U-2 or satellite               intelligence communities to share. As this capability
                                  images of specific areas while planning missions.            comes online, the need for direct downlinks will prob-
                                    For example, users can look at what they need              ably begin to dissipate, as reach-back, both on and
“As information                   instead of waiting for larger blocks of processed intel-
                                  ligence to be pushed to them regularly whether they
                                                                                               through the intelligence network and the net-centric
                                                                                               environment that is being created, takes hold."
comes in from                     need them or not, as is the case today. Users also will
                                  post data or images on the network, such as a close-         AIR FORCE LEADS WAY
ISR systems, it                   up digital photo of an enemy facility taken by spe-            Each service has worked on its own version of
                                                                                               DCGS, more recently under closer oversight from
will immediately                  cial-operations forces on a clandestine raid.
                                    As a Defense Department document describes the             Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office to ensure
be posted on the                  planned "post-before-processing" construct,                  interoperability.
                                                                                                 DCGS originally meant something akin to a single
                                  "Users/producers post data on the network for use
DCGS Web portal                   before it is ingested into the conventional processing       multi-INT (intelligence) ground station that would
                                                                                               replace the separate ISR sensor-platform stovepipes
for use by other                  and exploitation processes. Users will have instant
                                  access, as posted data becomes available, replacing          and process data from more than one type of ISR
systems and                       the dissemination notion that focused on 'point-to-          sensor. These included: electro-optical/infrared and
                                                                                               synthetic aperture radar imagery, signals intelli-
                                  point' or push of information to specified users."
other services.”                    John Stenbit, the recently retired assistant secre-        gence (electronic and communications intercepts),
                                  tary of defense for networks and information integra-        manned tactical reconnaissance images, etc., collect-
MORRIS JOHNSON                    tion, told Congress last April, "Post before processing      ed by manned- and unmanned-reconnaissance plat-
                                  means that access to data for disparate needs is not         forms and national satellite systems.
DCGS PROGRAM MANAGER                                                                             Such single-service, multi-INT processing centers
RAYTHEON                          delayed by unnecessary processing. Everyone is a
                                  provider and consumer of information. As a provider,         will exist in the future. However, DCGS aims to
                                  they have the responsibility to post data before they        ensure they are interoperable with those of the other
                                  use or manipulate it; as a consumer they will have           services such that intelligence data can flow freely
                                  the technical capability to securely access the data         among them along the network, and greater collabo-
                                  they are cleared to access when they want it and in          ration can occur in exploiting the data.
                                  the format they need."                                         A new Air Force DCGS upgrade program, called
                                    Steve Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for           Block 10.2 Multi-INT Core, leads the way toward the
                                  intelligence and Stenbit's boss, told this publication's     multiservice DCGS vision.
                                  ISR Integration conference last November, "Imagine             With a little prodding from the defense secretary's

Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Journal March 2004
office, service representatives met last April under       Freedom through some very hard manual efforts by a
the auspices of U.S. Joint Forces Command. They            lot of airmen putting together some ad hoc things,
agreed to build "data-level" or "data-transport" inter-    bringing in some collaborative tools and making it
operability into their separate efforts through a com-     work."
mon DCGS Integrated Backbone -- a set of common
interface standards and tools to allow data sharing        BLOCK 10.2
and collaboration among the services' different DCGS         Morris Johnson, Raytheon's DCGS program man-
elements.                                                  ager in Garland, Texas, said, "We're building the
  The Air Force subsequently incorporated the other        equivalent of 'Google' for the ISR community. One of
services' basic technical requirements into its Block      the key elements we will provide is a Web portal into
10.2 contract and made development of that multi-          the DCGS system that a user in any service will have
service backbone a key part of it.                         access to through the various classified networks that
  On Oct. 3, the Air Force Electronic Systems Center       are available today."
at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., awarded the $161           The post-before-processing concept will be imple-
million initial DCGS 10.2 contract. The winning team       mented in DCGS 10.2.
is led by Raytheon Intelligence and Information              "As information comes in from ISR systems, it will
Systems of Falls Church, Va., and Garland, Texas,          immediately be cataloged and posted or published on
with key member Lockheed Martin Integrated                 the DCGS Web portal for use by other systems and
Systems and Solutions of Denver. Also, BAE Systems         other services," Johnson said. "An external user will
of San Diego, and General Dynamics Decision                have the ability to search the Web portal, based on a
Systems of Scottsdale, Ariz., are involved.                number of search parameters, to get any intelligence
  The contract has a potential value of $360 million.      or information that's available throughout the net-
(Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems filed a               work-centric enterprise.
protest of the contract award with the General               "What occurs today, with U-2 imagery as an exam-
Accounting Office on Oct. 10, but no decision had          ple, is that an Air Force DGS site at one location
been made as this issue went to press.)                    receives that imagery, and all that is made available         The Common Ground Station
  During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Air Force            to external users is the exploited report-level infor-        is one of several Army legacy
operated an embryonic version of DCGS. It used a           mation. It might be a snapshot of a portion of an orig-       intelligence exploitation sys-
network of global sites that linked the service's U-2      inal image that would be disseminated to external             tems that will evolve onto the
aircraft and Predator and Global Hawk unmanned-            users.                                                        Distributed Common Ground
aerial vehicles with their ground stations and intelli-      "What will be available in the 10.2 era will be a           System-Army.
gence-processing and analysis centers in the United
States and overseas using Fiber-optic terrestrial lines
and satellite communications (September-October
2003 ISR).
  This distributed network, manned by squadrons of
the Air Force's 480th Intelligence Wing, exploited the
invaluable airborne ISR sensor imagery collected by
the U-2, Global Hawk and Predator and fed target
and enemy-activity information to U.S. Central
Command's Combined Air Operations Center in
Saudi Arabia.
  Thanks to secure satellite communications, most of
the network's elements were able to stay "in garri-
son" in the United States, thousands of miles from
Saudi Arabia and the combat zone. Yet to the air-
campaign planners in the Combined Air Operations
Center that the 480th Wing's airmen supported, it
seemed as if they were next door.
  The 480th Intelligence Wing has two core
Deployable Ground Systems: DGS 1 at Langley Air
Force Base, Va., and DGS 2 at Beale Air Force Base,
Calif., which long have been U-2 processing centers.
The capability to receive and process Global Hawk
and Predator imagery was added to both in recent
  Other DGS locations are at Osan Air Base, South
Korea (DGS 3), Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany
(DGS 4) and Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii (DGS
5). The 480th also has Air National Guard remote
sites at Reno, Nev., and other plans to add more
Guard sites over the next five to six years.
  Thanks to its robust communications architecture,
the 480th during Iraqi Freedom was able to appor-
tion and shift the exploitation of different sets of ISR
sensor data fairly easily among its geographic loca-
tions within the United States and overseas to share
the workload.
  Despite the success of that effort, Col. Allen Roby,
intelligence director at the Air Force Command and
Control and ISR Center at Langley, told the ISR con-
ference, "The Air Force DCGS is not a network-cen-
tric system today. It is a legacy system inherited from
the 1980s in Europe with a couple of upgrades. But it
operated in a distributed, collaborative mode in Iraqi                                                       GENERAL DYNAMICS DECISION SYSTEMS

                                                                             March 2004   Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Journal
                                                                                              ware and hardware applications will surround.
                                                                                                "The real power behind the DIB stems from the
                                                                                              three-tiered enterprise architecture," Hawkins said.
                                                                                              "Basically, any user from any military service [or
                                                                                              defense-intelligence agency] will be able to use any
                                                                                              application against any set of data that is on the sys-
                                                                                              tem. You can imagine the power that it will bring as
                                                                                              different DCGS elements collaboratively exchange
                                                                                              data and work together."
                                                                                                From the Air Force's perspective, DCGS will allow
                                                                                              intelligence data-and-exploitation workloads to be
                                                                                              shared seamlessly among the 29 core and remote
                                                                                              sites planned by the service.
                                                                                                "Intelligence analysts in separate Air Force DGSs
                                                                                              will be looking at the same data at the same time
                                                                                              and collaborating relative to that data," Hawkins
                                                                                              said. "It will no longer be a matter of DGS 1 distrib-
                                                                                              uting its data to DGS 3 or [manually] shifting
                                                        NORTHROP GRUMMAN ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS   exploitation tasks to another DGS. They all will have
Different configurations     raw, full image that will be available to other loca-            access to the same data, and there will be analysts
of the Army’s Tactical       tions, such as a National Geospatial-Intelligence                looking at the same data and collaborating to make a
Exploitation System do       Agency site, which could then marry it with other                decision on it -- working separately or together."
imagery processing at the    forms of intelligence and find additional information              The Raytheon team completed a Block 10.2 system
division and corps levels.   that the tactical operator may not have been looking             requirements review in early December and an inter-
                             for."                                                            im design review in mid-January. A final design
                               The DCGS Web portal will provide a number of                   review was scheduled for March.
                             services. They include an external-tasking service,                Morris said his team will deliver the first 10.2 sys-
                             which will allow a user to put in an intelligence-col-           tem in January 2005 to the DGS (X) -- experimental -
                             lection request. The request will be disseminated to             - at Langley.
                             national, theater or tactical assets for collection,               "All requirements will be verified there with live
                             Johnson said.                                                    interfaces to various command-and-control and ISR
                               "There will be a single multi-INT visualization tool           systems. After that delivery, DCGS Block 10.2 will be
                             provided on the portal that will display all of the ISR          phased into DGS 1 at Langley in fiscal 2005, DGS 2
                             sensor assets in theater and what and when they are              at Beale in late fiscal 2005, and the other three core
                             slated to collect. Thus, the user will have a view of            DGS sites and remote sites in 2006-2007," he said.
                             when those collection platforms will be near where he            An Air Force Electronic Systems Center release said
                             needs them to support his mission, and they could be             29 upgraded Block 10.2 DCGS systems will be deliv-
                             retasked if there is a pressing need.                            ered between 2004 and 2008.
                               "That visualization tool also will display all of the            In the 2006-2007 time frame, the Air Force plans to
                             intelligence that is available from a geospatial per-            award a follow-on Block 20 contract that will center
                             spective -- overlaid on a map [in the form of icons]. A          on bringing signals-intelligence processing and
                             user will have the ability to click on an icon at any            exploitation, still essentially separate, into the DCGS
                             geolocation to search and reach into the databases               Web-based architecture.
                             that are available in DCGS to pull the information --
                             imagery-intelligence data, moving-target indicator-              OTHER SERVICES
                             radar imagery, signals-intelligence reports. All that              Representatives from the Army, Navy and Marine
“Basically, any              intelligence from any source will be made available to           Corps, as well as the National Geospatial-Intelligence
user from any                him."
                               "The focal point of our transition in 10.2 is the
                                                                                              Agency, have attended the Air Force DCGS Block
                                                                                              10.2 design reviews and are working with Raytheon
military service             DCGS Integration Backbone [DIB]," Roby said.                     team members to evaluate how to apply the DIB as
                             "That's the joint interoperability and integration part          the foundation for their evolving DCGS architectures.
will be able to use          of it, with a set of common standards and tools and                In fact, the Raytheon team is conducting a study for
any application              some common hardware and software. That open-
                             architecture foundation will provide a common oper-
                                                                                              the Navy, led by BAE Systems, with that purpose
                                                                                              under its Air Force 10.2 contract, and was expected
against any set of           ating environment and common services, yet allow                 to begin one led by General Dynamics for the Army
                             for service-unique applications on top of it."                   as well.
data that is on                Tom Hawkins, Raytheon's director of remote sys-                  The Army's DCGS-A will evolve from its existing
the system.”                 tems in Garland, said, "Every service has been man-
                             dated to adopt the DIB as the foundation for their
                                                                                              family of intelligence-exploitation systems, including
                                                                                              General Dynamics' Common Ground Station,
                             DCGS systems. In doing so, there are then three lev-             Northrop Grumman's Tactical Exploitation System
TOM HAWKINS                  els of interoperability and integration that can take            (TES) and the All Source Analysis System. The
DIRECTOR, REMOTE SYSTEMS     place. First, at the data level, so the exchange of              Navy's DCGS-N will evolve from its legacy exploita-
RAYTHEON                     imagery, video, moving-target indicator data, etc. can           tion systems -- particularly BAE Systems' Joint
                             occur. The second is at the applications level.                  Service Imagery Processing System-Navy (JSIPS-N),
                             Applications can be shared from one DCGS to anoth-               which has been installed aboard the service's 12 air-
                             er -- and among the different military services -- and           craft carriers, 14 large-deck amphibious ships, five
                             the collection-exploitation workflow can be exchanged            command ships as well as at shore sites.
                             between DCGS and another. The third is the viewer                  The Navy also procured a limited number of TES-N
                             or user level -- views of the Web-portal services."              systems from Northrop Grumman that it used in
                               He said DCGS 10.2 will include a meta-data cata-               experiments to exchange targeting data with other
                             log as a key element. Intelligence information that              services.
                             enters the network will be tagged in a standard for-               The Marine Air-Ground Intelligence System has
                             mat and cataloged to facilitate user searches.                   evolved from a version of JSIPS for imagery exploita-
                               The DIB will provide the DCGS core infrastructure              tion with TES elements added.
                             -- like the core of an apple -- that service-unique soft-

Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Journal March 2004