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EC 2011
Personnel monitor, analyze and exploit imagery while participating in the Empire Challenge 2011 demonstration at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.. A multi-service team that resides at the Electronic Systems Center, the Distributed Common Ground/Surface System (DCGS) Multi-Service Execution Team Office, facilitates the information-sharing infrastructure for EC. (U.S. Army photo/Amy McLaughlin)
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Demonstration provides opportunity to assess data sharing capabilities

Posted 6/10/2011   Updated 6/10/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


6/10/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A multi-service team residing at the Electronic Systems Center recently provided key support to a joint and multinational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance demonstration.

The Distributed Common Ground/Surface System (DCGS) Multi-Service Execution Team Office, or DMO, facilitates the information-sharing infrastructure for Empire Challenge.

"The DMO provides the DCGS Integration Backbone, or DIB - a data-sharing enabler for the ISR enterprise," said Marine Corps Maj. Mark Stewart, DMO deputy director. "The DIB provides a standards-based set of software services, documentation and metadata designed to enhance the interoperability of ISR systems."

EC is an annual event that showcases and assesses emerging ISR capabilities to improve interoperability in support of warfighters. EC11 ran from May 23 to June 3. It was based at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., along with distributed locations throughout the U.S. and coalition sites in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. All scenarios are based on real-world tactics, techniques and procedures encountered on the current battlefield.

Prior to the DCGS-Enterprise, data collected from sensors resided in sensor- or functional-specific databases accessible only to intelligence analysts who had local access to the individual databases. Each database required a separate search and username. The DCGS-Enterprise only requires users to access one web portal which then allows an authorized user to retrieve data found in all the multiple sensor or functional databases within the enterprise.

According to Major Stewart, the value of the DCGS-Enterprise and DIB is found in the dissemination and utilization phases of the intelligence cycle.

"DIB software allows each individual intelligence dissemination node within the DCGS-Enterprise the ability to expose its data to all other intelligence dissemination nodes, while providing analysts with a user-friendly interface that allows them to rapidly filter through terabytes of available data, conduct analysis and provide actionable intelligence to support operational planning and execution," he said.

Empire Challenge serves as a platform for the DCGS community to demonstrate and assess capabilities and new technologies for potential implementation. Building on the success of last year's challenge, this year the DCGS-Enterprise was implemented on seven networks, with 26 DIB nodes in operation.

"The team is working toward trying to bridge the gap between command and control and the DCGS even more," said Brady Owens, enterprise activation team lead.

This year, a live chat feature was incorporated along with a new capability to deal with the processing of unstructured data. Unstructured data may consist of items in a variety of formats, such as text documents, emails or presentation slides. The new capability will create metadata for the items so they can be searched and shared.

"We want to make that information shareable machine-to-machine to allow users to be notified as soon as new data is collected," said Mr. Owens.

In addition, the team will be looking to improve on cross-domain sharing of information with coalition partners.

The DIB supports real-time cross-domain ISR data query and retrieval across coalition domains. This gives coalition partners like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand the ability to query U.S. data while also providing U.S. analysts access to coalition data. This is similar to using a commercial web search engine that provides responses to queries, but in this instance only returns those which are authorized for retrieval.

"The free-flow of information across DCGS-Enterprise combined with a single access point made available using the DIB significantly enhances the ability of intelligence analysts to push actionable multi-source intelligence to operational forces in a timely manner for mission planning and execution," said Major Stewart.

The ESC team tries to raise the bar at each demonstration.

"Although we do the same thing every year, every year we try to do it better," said Mr. Owens.



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