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Exelis Enables Enterprise-Based Analytics to Fit Changing Needs of Warfighters

Kevin Wells

I recently listened in on an interesting webcast sponsored by C4ISR & Networks titled 'Emerging Geospatial Requirements in Army Intel2020 and Beyond'. In this webcast Terry Mitchell, Director, Army Intelligence Futures Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff (G2), discussed the US military's transition from a forward-operating force to a continental US-based, regionally aligned, expeditionary force and the fact that this transition is going to place increasing emphasis on geospatial intelligence.

With a draw down that is precedent setting in scope, the DoD is asking, ‘How do we get the best bang for our buck?’ There is the recognition that in becoming leaner, our forces are going to need to become more expeditionary and more agile. Intel analysts are going to require a higher set of fidelity and increased capabilities. This scenario is driving investment in several areas, but there were two in particular that aligned very closely with work that is being done at Exelis that will  benefit our warfighters in the coming years. 

FMV Exploitation

The value of FMV is universally recognized. Commanders want to have the ability to see the battlefield. The challenge is not flying the sensors, but how to track and detect? How do we move past ‘watching TV’ and create tools that can detect change and then alert analysts of that change?

Another challenge that commanders have with FMV is how to perform more efficient compression of the HD video that is collected. Solutions need to be in place for the data and intelligence products to go from ‘Space to Mud’ -- get the results to the soldiers that are at the company level.  

DCGS Migration to IC Cloud

DCGS is an enormous program that has had its share of problems, but it is important to keep in mind that it is deployed today, supports 58,000 MI soldiers, and is not likely to be going away any time soon. Many of the problems have been addressed in the latest Hunte build, but there is still the need for Army to transition to another construct, which has to be aligned with the rest of the IC. This requires tools to work interoperably with ubiquitous access to data across the IC.

Exelis has developed technologies that addresses both of these needs identified by the Army with enterprise-level geospatial solutions that leverage open standards to provide robust data cataloguing and dissemination capabilities along with proven, accurate data analysis. The three main components to this data analysis system: a user interface, a data catalog and dissemination component, and a processing component.

ENVI Services Engine (ESE) is an enterprise version of the ENVI software, and notonly facilitates image analytics capabilities, but also allows for hosting of custom web pages designed to enable those capabilities for the end-user.JavaScript clients and other interfaces can be designed and hosted by the engine to provide custom functionalities that are specific to DCGS specific workflows.

Jagwire is a web-based software system that is specifically designed for ingest, storage, management, discovery, and delivery of FMV imagery, and derived products with near real-time access. It promotes reduced latency from data collection to decision making in the field, is customizable, and can be integrated into existing IT infrastructures due to its standards-based design. Jagwire provides FMV viewing capabilities in near-real time, allowing users to see exactly what their assets are seeing from the air, which promotes more efficient tasking of aerial assets. It can be implemented as an enterprise-level solution, a ground-station level, or even at a mobile level, leveraging jpip streaming and other web standards to serve important data over constrained bandwidths. 

The ESE interface then provides a way for the end-user to discover, visualize, and request analysis on data, while the catalog hosts the various datasets in a way that is easily discoverable by the user interface. Once the analyst has found the data they are interested in and has decided what type of analysis they would like to run, they initiate a call from the user interface to the analysis engine. ESE is then able to locate the specified data set within the catalog and run the requested analysis algorithm on that data using the parameters provided by the analyst. Analysis in this case may consist of feature extraction, spectral identification, change detection or even a custom function/series of functions that have been chained together to extract a specific piece of information that is of particular interest to the military analyst.

The DoD is addressing evolving security challenges and budgetary constraints which are resulting in a new defense strategy. This strategy is based on smaller, leaner forces that are agile, flexible, rapidly deployable and technologically advanced. These changes require just as significant an adaption in thinking on the part of COTS software providers that are building tools to support our nations’ warfighters. Fortunately, Exelis has the foundation in place to provide solutions that align closely with Army requirements for today, tomorrow, and beyond.

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