By Mr. Ray K. Ragan, Joint Interoperability Test CommandSeptember 7, 2012
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. --The primary U.S. Army intelligence system demonstrated some of its capabilities for program managers and U.S. Army military intelligence students alike during Exercise Enterprise Challenge 2012, here, last week.
Exercise Enterprise Challenge allows agencies within the Department of Defense, including coalition partners to test new and existing technologies in an operationally realistic environment. The exercise is executed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency under the authority of the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Programs, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. Several locations hosted this year's exercise, including the Joint Interoperability Test Command's Fort Huachuca test site.
One of this year's participants was the U.S. Army's Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A). This system allows soldiers and intelligence analysts to share information across a broader intelligence network that integrates with other services allowing for real-time information and intelligence sharing.
For U.S. Army Maj Shermoan Daiyaan participation in EC12 was a welcome opportunity. Daiyaan is the assistant product manager for the DCGS-A Tactical Intelligence Ground Station at the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, but is the Army's Lead for EC12.
"There's basically a DCGS for each of the services, including SOF [Special Operations Forces]," said Daiyaan. "It [Enterprise Challenge] is an opportunity and venue for all of us [DCGS family] to start sharing data, to work together to being more interoperable."
During this year's Enterprise Challenge, Daiyaan said that DCGS-A has four major objectives to accomplish. Among the efforts are to document feedback from soldiers on the ease of use of the system, mitigate risk on a test cloud network and to work with JITC for information exchange and interoperability capabilities. The final and most important priority is to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for soldiers on how to perform intelligence on the move.
During the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army adopted a counter-insurgency strategy to combat the realities of these battle spaces. At the very core of the counter-insurgency strategy is the ability to share information and to use that information to develop intelligence that directs operations. While this strategy was developed and refined along with the information sharing capability, some were less practiced capabilities, such as intelligence on the move declined said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Derrick C. Smits, detachment commander, Development, Test and Training Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, United States Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca.
Intelligence on the move provides a commander of combat units the ability to understand what both enemy and friendly units are doing on the battlespace, as the combat units advance. As seen with these recent conflicts, those friendly units now include units from other services, as well as ally and coalition units.
"For the last ten years, this has been a lost skill, because we just haven't practiced it," said Smits, "you have a whole generation of lieutenants and captains that haven't done this type of fight."
Intelligence on the move provides this ability for commanders to make combat decisions as DCGS-A provides information and intelligence from multiple sources along with full-motion video and maps of the battlespace.
During EC12, DCGS-A was able to collect electronic intelligence, report moving tracking indicator, and integrate full motion video, all while on the move. The test also included a demonstration of intelligence on the move capability during the night, to create a challenging environment for the test.
"[This was] just showing further capability [of DCGS-A] and we were able to meet our time standards for being able to set up antennas in 10 minutes," said Smits.
In the last days of EC12, approximately 40 students and instructors from the U.S. Army Geospatial Intelligence Analyst Course at U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence were invited for a demonstration on this newest version of DCGS-A as well as the terminal station, which provides the data connectivity for DCGS-A.
This was the first time for Sgt. 1st Class Anthony E. Beck, Phase 1 Lead at the U.S. Army Geospatial Intelligence Analyst Course, to see DCGS-A in action. The Intelligence Analyst Course is divided in to two phases, where Beck leads students through the first part.
"The updated tracking capability it [DCGS-A] has, the tracking mechanism for moving target indicator, the user interface for that has changed so much now, when they showed it to me today it just about blew my mind," said Beck, a 16 year veteran of Army Intelligence, "I had to turn away in sheer awe."
This was also the first time to see DCGS-A for Geospatial Intelligence Analyst Course student, Pvt. 1st Class Zachary T. Ossman, whose next duty station is Fort Campbell, Kentucky after completing his training.
Ossman said, "a lot of the new programs [of DCGS-A] make it [intelligence analysis] a lot easier, compared to the school house."