Vigilant Pursuit system aims to improve field intelligence

By Kristen Kushiyama, CERDECJanuary 18, 2012

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 18, 2012) -- The Army is looking to decrease the time between intelligence data collection and Soldier action by the spring with the Vigilant Pursuit system.

Vigilant Pursuit, a platform agnostic system, combines human intelligence and signals intelligence capabilities to provide Soldiers information necessary to identify persons of interest while in the field and uses cross cueing and tipping to enable Soldiers to make decisions that require time-sensitive responses.

The Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center, or CERDEC, is working with the Army G-2 to develop and field Vigilant Pursuit.

The purpose of the Vigilant Pursuit system is to reduce the time it takes to properly identify a high-value target before taking down that target, said said Ephraim Joe Befecadu, a systems engineer at CERDEC's Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate.

For Soldiers who deal with ever-changing threats and updated intelligence information in the field, the time it takes to verify and analyze various types of data can critically impact whether or not a team can properly engage a target, officilas said.

Vigilant Pursuit aims to help achieve a military intelligence rebalance called for by G-2 Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Richard P. Zahner. It aims to achieve this by delivering a relevant and robust multi-intelligence capability that helps facilitate commanders' decisions, Befecadu said.

Currently, methods for Soldiers to identify a potential target are not as fast or as efficient as they could be, which increases the potential for a target to change locations, said Befecadu.

"Vigilant Pursuit puts multi-intelligence at the lowest tactical level to support a commander in taking down a target, which was done at a higher level," said James G. Rose, director of the Capabilities, Development & Integration Directorate at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, during a Vigilant Pursuit meeting.

HUMINT comes from information collected by people on people, while SIGINT is gathered by intercepting electronic signals such as forms of communications. Both will be used by the Vigilant Pursuit system.

"We are breaking down walls between intel communities, and this forces interoperability," said Rose.

Historically HUMINT teams worked independently of SIGINT teams in the field. "With Vigilant Pursuit, HUMINT vehicles and SIGINT vehicles will work together on one system allowing the intel collected by either team to tip/cue the other teams assets to prosecute potential target more quickly than current methods allow," said Befecadu.

"Ten years of war has allowed us to see how we do business. Business in the past was one vehicle, one sensor," said Terry Mitchell, senior advisor, Intelligence Technology Integration & Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Deputy Chief of Staff, Army G-2.

HUMINT capabilities such as biometric collection and screening devices, forensic collection devices, mobile video, wireless networks and direction-finding capabilities will work with the SIGINT capabilities that allow for digital network exploitation, wireless networks, SIGINT terminal guidance support, low-level voice intercept and other essential SIGINT elements.

"With the establishment of war, we rethink concepts and come up with a different construct. The use of multifunctional teams in theater is different and a change from what it used to be. Now, war is all about technology," said Mitchell.

Vigilant Pursuit will enhance situational development within an area of influence by using high-resolution, high-confidence target location and tracking, multi-node collaborative geo-location, and cross cues of HUMINT and SIGINT assets, said Befecadu.

CERDEC I2WD and contract companies SAIC and CACI have worked together to develop this quick-reaction capability to fill a gap identified by the Army G-2 and G-3, and CERDEC I2WD has worked closely with the Communications-Electronics Command to ensure rapid delivery to the field, said Befecadu.

"CERDEC I2WD in conjunction with the Army staff and contractors are doing ground-breaking work. I'm really excited for the development, lessons learned and improvements to field a program of record," said Rose.