September 26, 2011

Contract Award: Lockheed Martin to improve intelligence sharing capability of US DoD

Intelligence data depicted on a DCGS map (COTSJournal)
References: Lockheed Martin (1,2), Defense Update (3), COTSJournal (4)

News Report

As announced on a recent press release, Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract for upgrading the infrastructures which interconnect the US Department of Defense with US Government agencies and coalition partners. By such award, Lockheed Martin will upgrade the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) Integration Backbone (DIB) and will thus facilitate the sharing of intelligence data and services among the above mentioned organizations.

The System (DCGS + DIB)
High-density, reliable data storage is a critical part of the US DoD’s collaborative enterprise called the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS). This system itnegrates multiple ISR sensors and systems across the battlefield and draw intelligence data from various sources, then correlate that data into an integrated picture of the battlespace. Using an open systems architecture, it enables interoperability with a wide range of previously “stove-piped” ISR systems. Consisting of global sites capable of receiving, processing, correlating and disseminating intelligence feeds from multiple sources, the DCGS distributes intelligence from manned and unmanned reconnaissance sources based on the ground, in the air and at sea.

The DIB is the software framework that allows different areas of US DoD to exchange intelligence acquired by DCGS, empowering joint warfighter collaboration, interoperability, and shared awareness. Designed around an open architecture, the DIB permits new applications to be easily added and allows joint operations throughout the ISR arena. The DIB is both a software architectural framework and a developer’s toolkit on which each service’s ISR capabilities, applications and functionality are based. By incorporating a set of common interface standards and tools, the DIB enables immediate availability of both raw ISR data and fused products as well as collaboration among the services and national agencies.

This latest version of the DIB, version 4.0, brings significant enhancements from the end user perspective. The DIB is now seamlessly integrated with Google Earth, which will enable the multitude of warfighters already utilizing Google Earth for analysis to bring intelligence into their current environment, giving them a correlated visualization across the vast breadth of federated intelligence. Other DIB updates include enhanced user interfaces for querying and viewing intelligence, as well as an increased capability to populate these user interfaces with valuable intelligence, accomplished through greater seamless interoperability with coalition partners. This intelligence access is unprecedented, as prior to the development of the DIB, intelligence analysts had to visit multiple collection sources to locate the data needed to accomplish their missions.

The Context

The Pentagon states the goal of DCGS as “all DoD sensors and ground stations on a common network creating a shared information environment.” Each service is developing a portion of the DCGS family of systems, the Air Force is already planning the next major upgrade of this net-centric capability that utilizes the DCGS Integration Backbone (DIB).

Prior to the development of the DIB, intelligence analysts had to visit multiple collection sources to locate the data needed. By incorporating a set of common interface standards and a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), the DIB connects disparate locations and allows analysts with the appropriate security clearance to access a multitude of intelligence sources. Being SOA-based also facilitates the interface with other SOA-based systems and assures the continuous evolution of a web of capabilities.

Comments

The current DIB architectural evolution is a critical step toward a true coalition intelligence sharing enterprise,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Tschuor, Director of the DCGS Multi-Service Execution Team Office (DMO). “The key to this latest version is that this enhanced framework enables faster and more affordable exposure of intelligence data to the DIB federation at the enterprise level.

As an original member of the DIB development team, Lockheed Martin has maintained a prominent role on this capability since its inception in 2003,” said Jim Quinn, vice president of C4ISR Systems with Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense. “These enhancements expedite intelligence to those who need it, and allow warfighters to better adapt to their perpetually changing environment.

Further Readings
  • DCGS-AF LM's Brochure (pdf)
  • Multi Agency Collaboration Environment (pdf)

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