Ray K. Ragan
The primary U.S. Army intelligence system demonstrated some of its capabilities for program managers and military intelligence students alike during Exercise Enterprise Challenge 2012 (EC12), which concluded Sept. 7 at Fort Huachuca, AZ.
EC12 allowed agencies within DOD, including coalition partners, to test new and existing technologies in an operationally realistic environment. The exercise was executed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency under the authority of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Programs, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)). Several locations hosted this year’s exercise, including the Fort Huachuca test site of the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC).
One of this year’s featured systems was the 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 for real-time information and intelligence sharing.
For MAJ Shermoan Daiyaan, participation in EC12 was a welcome opportunity. Daiyaan is the Assistant Product Manager for the DCGS-A Tactical Intelligence Ground Station within the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors. He is the Army’s Lead for EC12.
“There’s basically a DCGS for each of the services, including SOF [Special Operations Forces],” said Daiyaan. Enterprise Challenge “is an opportunity and venue for all of us [in the DCGS family] to start sharing data, to work together toward being more interoperable.”
During this year’s exercise, Daiyaan said, DCGS-A had four major objectives to accomplish: to document feedback from Soldiers on the ease of use of the system; mitigate risk on a test cloud network; work with JITC for information exchange and interoperability capabilities; and develop tactics, techniques, and procedures on how to perform intelligence on the move.
Intelligence on the Move
During the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army adopted a counterinsurgency strategy to combat the realities of those battlespaces. At the core of this strategy is the ability to share information and to use that information to develop intelligence that directs operations.
While the strategy was developed and refined along with the information-sharing capabilities, some were less-practiced capabilities, such as intelligence on the move, said LTC Derrick C. Smits, Commander, Development, Test, and Training Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), U.S. Army Intelligence Center (USAIC) and Fort Huachuca.
Intelligence on the move enables a combat unit commander to understand what both enemy and friendly units are doing in the battlespace as the combat units advance. As seen in these recent conflicts, friendly units now include other services, as well as ally and coalition units. Intelligence on the move enables 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.
“For the last 10 years, this has been a lost skill, because we just haven’t practiced it,” Smits said. “You have a whole generation of lieutenants and captains who haven’t done this type of fight.”
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 nighttime intelligence-on-the-move capability, to create a challenging environment. “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 the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence saw a demonstration of this newest version of DCGS-A as well as the terminal station, which provides data connectivity.
This was the first time that SFC Anthony E. Beck, Phase 1 Lead for the two-phase course, saw DCGS-A in action.
“The updated tracking capability it has, the tracking mechanism for Moving Target Indicator, the user interface for that has changed so much now [that] when they showed it to me today, it just about blew my mind,” said Beck, a 16-year veteran of Army Intelligence.
This was also the first time to see DCGS-A for student PFC Zachary T. Ossman. “A lot of the new programs make it [intelligence analysis] a lot easier,” Ossman said.
- RAY K. RAGAN is the contract Public Affairs Officer for JITC. He holds a B.S. in information technology from the University of Phoenix (traditional campus at Phoenix), a master of administration with a concentration in project management from Northern Arizona University, and the Project Management Professional credential from the Project Management Institute. Ragan is a Civil Affairs and Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and formerly an Information Management and Signal Officer in the Army National Guard.