By MCC(SW/AW) Chris Hoffpauir, USJFCOM Public AffairsMarch 1, 2007
NORFOLK, Va. - An advanced prototype funded and managed by U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) puts video from unmanned aerial systems into the hands of joint warfighters at the tactical level.
The Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Information Service (ISRIS) compresses video and data into downloadable files on a server, which users can access with commonly used Web browsers and video software.
Kaye Darone, an information technology specialist in USJFCOM's Joint Intelligence Directorate (J2) and the command's government lead for the ISRIS project, said ISRIS is a spiral development of the Multi-sensor Aerospace-ground Joint ISR Interoperability Coalition (MAJIIC) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD).
"ISRIS is an information service that takes full motion video from unmanned aircraft platforms and makes that available inside a server architecture so that a user can access both live and archived video and associated data," Darone said. "The unique aspect of ISRIS is it takes the video data and compresses it in a fashion such that it can support low bandwidth users, down to the level of dial-up."
Darone said that compression is significant because the video that comes directly from those platforms is very large and data intensive, requiring a lot of communications capability to make it available to the user.
The increased compression means it can be pushed to warfighters in the most austere of conditions, allowing important info to be available without large amounts of equipment or special technicians.
She said ISRIS provides situational awareness quality video and data to users who are bandwidth challenged, such as someone relying on a radio frequency type network or someone sitting on a classified workstation in a tactical operations center with limited communications ability.
"You can sit at a workstation anywhere and access the products that are on ISRIS servers around the world with a Web browser and a video file player, and that's really all you need," Darone said.
"For example, we began with the Predator UAV and we have a full-scale suite of operations at Nellis Air Force Base in the Predator ops center that handles Predators flying over Iraq and Afghanistan today and puts that information into our ISRIS servers and allows not only the Air Force controllers who are out there flying the mission to collaborate amongst themselves, but also provides that data as a source to anyone anywhere else who wants to see where those Predator mission are flying.
"That's important if you're a tactical commander on the ground, for example, in Iraq, where you might have your own unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) assets populating your server. Now you can see what you're managing and controlling and also see what else is in your area."
Darone said the command's goal for ISRIS to complete an installation across Iraq this fiscal year that will provide for anyone anywhere on the physical network or within the broadcast footprint to see not only their own assets, but every other force's assets.
She said the source of the video does not matter.
"We're essentially looking at full motion video from manned and unmanned or stationary platforms. You could expand that to helmet cameras, for example, or towers. The source is not so much the point. The idea is that we bring the video in a format that can be easily communicated into a server architecture where you can see what is happening now and also get an archived view, a historical view of what's happened in the past."
Darone said that as of the spring of 2006, USJFCOM received permission from the ACTD leadership at the Office of the Secretary of Defense to spiral ISRIS out from MAJIIC. In the summer of 2006 the command got supplemental funding to put ISRIS architecture in Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
"The future of ISRIS is very strong. As we move into Afghanistan with the small piece we're doing in the spring in partnership with the Army, the possibilities are endless with respect to NATO allies and our coalition partners," Darone said.
She said the next step for the operational prototype is to transition the capability into service and joint systems of record.
"That's how we'll know we're successful, when we deliver a joint concept of operations and a joint concept of employment that will allow the capability to be incorporated into service and joint systems of record," Darone said. "And then we'll be out of the business of providing ISRIS."
Darone said ISRIS is funded and managed by USJFCOM with oversight from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The command also works closely with U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) because the customer base for ISRIS is located in CENTCOM's area of responsibility.