High-tech war requires innovation, cutting-edge resources from home

Top DOD official talks deployment of Gorgon Stare, LIDAR and full-motion video

When engaged in asymmetric warfare, the soldiers on the ground need more than the latest technology -- they need technology that is collaboration-ready, and they need to get it quickly, according to one senior Defense Department official.

This is especially an issue in Afghanistan, because the U.S. force is part of a coalition of 44 nations fighting the insurgency. This effort requires supreme collaboration and the technologies to support it, said Air Force Lt. Gen. John Koziol, deputy under secretary of defense (intelligence) for joint and coalition warfighter support, and the director of the DOD intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) task force.

“That’s why we have the ISR task force. If we don’t have that, we will have stove pipes systems throughout the [area of responsibility], and we can’t have that,” said Koziol, speaking Nov. 3 at the GeoInt 2010 Symposium in New Orleans.

Beyond ISR technology itself, DOD needs tools for collecting, managing and sharing the data it gathers, Koziol said. With so many sensors deployed, the military is struggling to take the massive amounts of data being collected and turn it into actionable intelligence, he said.

To face the challenge, he’s helping usher in a wealth of new systems to help the coalitions in Afghanistan process, exploit and disseminate data to the theater.

“We have to integrate and synchronize,” Koziol said. “It’s all about the communications and infrastructure.”

The military is preparing to roll out advances in full-motion video, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) remote sensor systems, as well as wide-area surveillance that increases visibility into the theater and ground moving-target indicators that distinguish moving targets from the clutter around them.

“We’re upgrading and emerging platforms, and we’re improving architecture and tools,” Koziol said.

In another important development, the Air Force will deploy its long-awaited Gorgon Stare airborne surveillance system, which will fly over Afghanistan in MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles. Gorgon Stare’s scope and quality will be a significant improvement over the current “soda straw” views provided by electro-optical cameras, DOD officials said today at GeoInt.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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