XML will weave a common picture of military intel

When MAJIIC goes into operation, a warfighter could query a secure server directly for ISR data, such as all UAV surveillance of a city for the last 24 hours.

The Defense Department and its allies are building an architecture to share their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in near-real time.

In April, they will begin setting up a service-oriented architecture to glean metadata tagged in Extensible Markup Language from various stovepiped intelligence systems.

The goal is to piece together a common picture from all types of intelligence under MAJIIC, which stands for multisensor aerospace-ground joint ISR interoperability coalition architecture. The project aims to give users a much clearer picture by putting together more pieces of the intelligence puzzle.

The Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., led the MAJIIC advanced-concept technology demonstration, which began in 2003 and will run through fiscal 2008. NATO's multinational Consultation, Command and Control Agency also supports the MAJIIC project.

'The collective task for all the member nations is to develop the architecture,' said Stan Stefansky, the Joint Forces' MAJIIC operational manager. 'If all goes well, we will transition MAJIIC capabilities to an operational program no later than 2008.' Stefansky said the project team prides itself on working with coalition partners, so there could be non-NATO participants, too.

The first operational users of the Joint Forces version would be the 18th Airborne Corps in Iraq, as part of an initiative under the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration.

MAJIIC deals only with data 'and doesn't care what sensor it comes from,' whether from various types of tracking radar or as a video stream from an unmanned aerial vehicle, Stefansky said. 'We are working with the other nations to develop common data formats, common interfaces and XML schemas to share ISR data in near-real time.'

Two MAJIIC servers are now under test at Langley Air Force Base's transformation center in Virginia, he said. One Unix server handles video while the other handles imagery, ground-moving-target-indication (GMTI) radar, synthetic-aperture radar and other sensor data, Stefansky said.

EchoStorm Inc. of Hampton, Va., is the prime contractor for the video server; Raytheon Co. is prime for the other.

In an interim assessment called Quantum Leap 2, the Joint Forces Command said MAJIIC had succeeded in linking with the Air Force's Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System. MAJIIC also maintained near-real-time visibility of GMTI tracking data and access to recorded video and simulated data from unmanned aerial vehicles.

MAJIIC eventually would support Web services capabilities for the military's Distributed Common Ground System. It would have single-sign-on capability through DOD's public-key infrastructure. Users could find out what data services were available at a single Web interface, without 'having to ping each server,' Stefansky said.

When MAJIIC does reach operational status, a warfighter could query a secure server directly for ISR data, such as all UAV surveillance of a city for the last 24 hours. They could view it at once instead of waiting for processing by distant military analysts. Conversely, analysts could query sensors to capture needed targeting information.

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