Distributed Common Ground System -- Army Supporting Air Force and Army Interoperability
By Tanya Fitzgerald, Hawaii Senior Site Lead, 404th Army Field Support BrigadeJune 30, 2015
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Recently the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), U.S. Army Pacific, successfully accomplished a major milestone when they began utilizing the Distributed Common Ground System -- Army (DCGS-A) on an Air Force network.This effort is the first time DCGS-A has been accessed for day to day operations on an Air Force network and it is a significant achievement to increase joint collaboration."Interoperability and shared intelligence is nothing new to military analysts, but the ability we now have to utilize DCGS-A here at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam will help us support the mission," explained Col. Bruce Stephens, 94th AAMDC G2."Ultimately achieving this milestone will allow the 94th AAMDC to provide commanders in the Pacific Command area of responsibility with timely, accurate and actionable intelligence, specifically focused on threat patterns and activities before they happen," he added.The 94th AAMDC works closely with its Joint and combined Theater Air and Missile Defense partners to meet operational requirements and support the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific area of responsibility. The 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment is focused on acting as a liaison between the Theater Joint Forces Land Component Commander and the Army Forces Commanders. Both of these organizations now have the ability to utilize DCGS-A on an Air Force network for their daily intelligence requirements.The 5th BCD and 94th AAMDC will be able to access the Intelligence Fusion Server (IFS) so they can obtain, collaborate and share intelligence information between themselves and the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade (MI BDE) Fusion Brain at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. The 500th MI BDE Fusion Brain provides access to data sources, hosts intelligence reports and provides analysts support for full spectrum operations.The capability DCGS-A provides to military intelligence analysts via the Air Force network enables intelligence collection, analysis, and exploitation. Units will now also have access to the multi-functional workstation within DCGS-A so they can utilize the analytical tools they need.
"Recently United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) federated all Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) threat tracking, analysis and assessments to the 94th AAMDC G2 team as the central repository for all things that are BMD threat related. This newly assigned responsibility made bringing our DCGS-A capability into an operational status a priority for senior leaders at PACOM, USARPAC and PACAF," Stevens said.The 94th AAMDC was previously located on Fort Shafter where they didn't have access to use their military intelligence system due to classification issues in their location. In December 2014, they relocated to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam which created yet another challenge to obtain access to an Army system on an Air Force installation.Representatives from the 94th AAMDC, Air Force counterparts, and sustainment support representatives participated in multiple coordination meetings to ensure all Information Assurance requirements were met and policies were aligned. These discussions helped the Air Force counterparts understand why DCGS-A is vital to the 94th AAMDC's mission and why it needed to be active on their network.As of early June, 2015, replication between the 500th MI BDE Fusion Brain and the 94th AAMDC DCGS-A IFS was able to push almost 15 million records and/or messages through their IFS.Also, recently DCGS-A was added to the Air Operations Center-Weapon System baseline. This additional approval is significant because when the 94th AAMDC is tasked to deploy, they will be automatically allowed to connect their DCGS-A systems.The Army and the Air Force working together to bring DCGS-A successfully onto an Air Force network will further support shared intelligence collaboration. During the current environment of decreasing budgets and increasing responsibilities and missions, this milestone may provide a benchmark for future joint alignment efforts within the Department of Defense.