Warriors Road Test Technology

October 2000
By Edward J. Walsh

Cutting-edge applications solve problems, extend warfighters’ reach.

The U.S. Defense Department, with the cooperation of nations worldwide, is examining a multitude of technologies that would enhance today’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Recently created systems would allow military forces to acquire targets more accurately, collaborate remotely and share weather information to determine how conditions will affect a planned mission or the effectiveness of a weapon. Emerging technologies also would passively monitor potential targets, facilitate near-real-time access to up-to-date terrain information, provide a defense against information operations, and reduce the footprint and life-cycle cost of equipment.

Today’s communications assets located in space have been a key facilitator of these capabilities, and researchers at various organizations continue to develop new systems or improve those already in place. When fielded to joint and coalition forces, technologies examined on today’s computer screens could be the decisive factor in a conflict.

Recognizing the value of hands-on testing of emerging technologies, the Defense Department created a forum where companies can demonstrate their offerings, and users can test the systems in an operational environment. The Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) is one of the largest efforts designed to allow U.S. and allied armed forces to view bleeding-edge technologies and to explore their effectiveness. This year’s demonstration highlighted the advantage that space-based resources could give to soldiers.

The services alternate as the lead for the JWID series. The U.S. Air Force conducted the 2000-2001 event, with the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM), Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, as the host. Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, USAF, USSPACECOM commander, was the sponsoring commander in chief and exercised overall operational control for all JWID sites, which were linked by a combined wide area network (CWAN).

The Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado, was the key operational site for US- SPACECOM for the demonstration phase. The command’s service components, which include the Naval Space Command, Dahlgren, Virginia; Army Space Command, Arlington, Virginia; and the 14th Air Force, the service’s space-forces element based at Vandenburg Air Force Base, California, also participated.

U.S. Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii, and Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia, served as warfighting commanders in chief for the event. Key service sites included the Army Signal Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia; the U.S. Navy’s sea-based battle laboratory aboard the USS Coronado; the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR), San Diego; and the Air Force’s Command and Control Training and Innovation Group, Hurlburt Field, Florida. The U.S. Marine Corps was represented as the land-component commander. It operated out of the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Dahlgren division in Virginia. The Defense Information Systems Agency also participated.

This year’s 26 technologies included 19 tier 1 evaluations. These more mature technologies could be fielded quickly and are eligible for selection as gold nuggets—systems that will be assessed further in JWID’s second-cycle year. The other five are less mature tier 2 technologies that still are considered to be in the proof-of-concept stage. To be accepted for the demonstration phase, a proposed technology had to address some of the 29 specific objectives laid out in advance by USSPACECOM.

Several tier 1 demonstrations showcased capabilities that JWID officials say represent potential solutions to current and projected command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) requirements. One technology, the joint attack command and control system (JACCS), showed promise as a means of extending connectivity among organizations that provide fire support for U.S. Army and Marine Corps units.

Lt. Cmdr. Hilton L. Earle, USN, who supported the JACCS demonstration at the Joint Forces Command’s Joint Battle Center in Suffolk, Virginia, says the system supplies an interface to the Army-Marine Corps’ advanced field artillery tactical data system (AFATDS).

AFATDS, built for both services by Raytheon’s Communications Systems business unit, Fort Wayne, Indiana, furnishes digital targeting and weapons selection as well as coordination for Army and Marine Corps batteries. It supplies a digitized targeting picture that integrates data extracted from the joint-service global command and control system (GCCS); the maneuver control system (MCS), which provides a ground picture; and the all source analysis system (ASAS), which contributes input on hostile forces.

JACCS extends access to the AFATDS track picture, Cmdr. Earle explains. Remote units, either aboard a ship or at a distant ground site, can use a workstation or a laptop computer running UNIX or Windows NT loaded with JACCS software to access the full range of AFATDS data, then use it to help plan fire support missions.

For the demonstration, the JACCS application ran on two laptops—one linked via the CWAN to an AFATDS workstation at Fort Gordon and the other to an AFATDS workstation at Dahlgren.

According to Cmdr. Earle, the demonstration highlighted the potential of JACCS to solve the fire-support provider’s perennial problem of reconciling conflicting data obtained from multiple sensors and command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems.

Several currently fielded systems also were demonstrated at JWID. The Telewall telecommunications security system, developed by SecureLogix, San Antonio, Texas, monitored network systems at five sites. The technology, which was introduced in January, already is in use by several companies and at several military facilities.

Tim Barton, director of software engineering for the company, believes that using commercial telephone circuits for unauthorized transmissions of sensitive information is one of the most serious security threats facing the services. Calls placed, either intentionally or unintentionally, to modems via commercial telephone lines bypass firewalls and intrusion-detection systems that protect government and corporate data networks, he contends.

The Telewall consists of a hardware firewall device and software that runs on client and server workstations to enable network security managers to monitor the destination, source, time and duration of calls over commercial lines. The system can intercept and disconnect unauthorized calls to modems if they violate the organization’s policies. It also warns of potential security violations. Tony McCoy, SecureLogix’s director of support sales, says that during JWID, the system detected calls placed from several U.S. military bases to China and locations in the Middle East.

Meteorology and oceanography (METOC) for the coalition warfighter, a SPAWAR initiative, also was showcased at JWID.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Eric Westreich, USN, manager of SPAWAR’s METOC program, the group has developed software tools that provide advanced vulnerability predictions for weapons under varying weather conditions. The goal is to build a kind of “binary ocean” for analyzing the impact of weather and sea conditions on weapons, sensors and communications systems and consequently the effect on military operations. The effort required program participants to develop an extensive library of the performance parameters of systems fielded to U.S. and allied services as well as those used by potential foes, he explains. The tools will help predict the performance of systems under multiple combinations of conditions in order to assist commanders in deploying units effectively under adverse conditions, Cmdr. Westreich adds.

A tactical environmental data server (TEDS) is among the tools that act as a repository of METOC data. METCAST, a web-based tool, distributes the data to forecasters who use the information to update their own METOC analyses.

Petty Officer Paul Branbenec, USN, a forecaster who supported the demonstration, says METCAST functions as a data grabber that can be used to frame a window in a geographic region and narrow it to a specific area, such as the East Coast of the United States, for analysis. Both TEDS and METCAST have been approved for fielding aboard Navy large-deck amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers.

Cmdr. Westreich explains that the primary goal at JWID was to evaluate the network connectivity requirements for the system. Naval Research Laboratory sites in Washington, D.C., Monterey, California, and Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, as well as Litton PRC, McLean, Virginia, and Sonalysts Incorporated, Waterford, Connecticut, supported the technologies’ development.

Another demonstration, which focused on battlespace enhancements to GCCS-integrated imagery and intelligence (I3), highlighted a key Java-based software upgrade to the GCCS common operational picture (COP). The additional capability allows imagery and intelligence data provided by surveillance systems to be displayed.

The Advanced Information Technologies Systems Joint Program Office (AITS JPO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency developed the GCCS-I3 capability. It already has been fielded as GCCS version 3.2 for use by the services, which then incorporate their own GCCS variants.

Mark Kuzma, manager of the GCCS-I3 initiative at the AITS JPO, says that the technology permits video imagery to be inserted into a display of surveillance track data provided by an unmanned aerial vehicle, for example. The video can be viewed in a window on the display, enhancing situational awareness.

The capability initially was limited to UNIX workstations. Capt. Oscar Stout, USN, an intelligence officer for the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, participated in running the demonstration at the Joint Battle Center. The enhancement demonstrated at JWID extended the capability to non-UNIX stations, including PCs running Microsoft NT, he says. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency provides some of the data used to build the GCCS COP. Litton PRC developed the intelligence-related software. Autometric Incorporated and Mandex, both of Springfield, Virginia, and Semcor, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, also provided software support for the enhancement.

The demonstration of space battle management core systems (SBMCS) evaluated an initial version of a software tool that provides a task force commander’s space systems liaison officer with timely information on the status of friendly and hostile satellites orbiting within viewing range of the task force. The demonstration ran at the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center at the Joint Battle Center and aboard the USS Coronado.

The technology enables space liaison staffers to extract a data stream from the USSPACECOM server that provides continuous updates on all friendly and hostile satellite activity in any theater, 1st Lt. Kristen Smith, USAF, explains. She is a satellite crew commander with the 7th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

The goal of the SBMCS effort is to provide all commanders with a common picture of satellite status to assist them in planning operations, Lt. Smith says. For example, a joint task force commander would want to wait until hostile satellites have moved out of range before launching an amphibious assault. Alternatively, a decoy attack could be launched while the enemy satellites are in range, then shifted to a new target when they are no longer observing troop movements. In addition, the link to the global positioning system (GPS) satellite constellation can be used to determine precisely when GPS-guided munitions should be fired to achieve maximum accuracy, she says.

The first version of the SBMCS, which is rated for secret-level operations and hosted on laptop computers, has been fielded to several Army Space Command teams. The JWID evaluation is expected to provide input on modifications that would upgrade the software for top-secret use.

The USS Coronado hosted the network-centric UYQ-70, a demonstration of a network architecture based on the use of ultrathin client servers incorporated into flat-panel displays that are linked to a Navy-standard UYQ-70 display console. The Navy plans to field the UYQ-70, configured in multiple variants, aboard most surface ships and submarines.

Harvey Taipale, systems engineer for UYQ-70’s prime contractor Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Eagan, Minnesota, says that the ultrathin client servers, which are controlled by commercial-standard smart cards, support a computing network of multiple workstations and peripheral devices. Two UYQ-70 mission-essential-variant server racks, installed aboard the USS Coronado for at-sea testing last fall, managed the network. The demonstration focused on the potential for significant life-cycle cost reductions achievable through use of the ultrathin clients.

The advanced remote ground unattended sensor (ARGUS) demonstrated the performance of a new acoustic-seismic sensor for use by Air Force fighter wings in engaging airborne targets such as Scud ballistic missile and mobile surface-to-air missile launch sites. The technology was evaluated both for air-delivered and hand-emplaced variants called Steel Eagle and Steel Rattler, respectively. Following deployment, both variants passively monitor acoustic and seismic emissions and measure them against information in their signature libraries. Once they detect a possible target, they transfer the data to a groundstation for processing via a commercial satellite datalink.

Maj. David Barkdull, USAF, manager of the program at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, says the requirement for the ARGUS capability is based on the services’ experience during the Gulf War, when surveillance aircraft had difficulty locating Scud missile launch sites in Iraq.

ARGUS provides time-critical targeting data in near real time, he explains. The groundstation relays the ARGUS data to an air operations center that either directs Air Force fighters to attack the target or cues another sensor for a closer look.

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, headed the ARGUS development. The system went though proof-of-concept evaluation in an Air Force-sponsored advanced concept technology demonstration that was completed in September 1999.