DOD panel mines JWID gold
- By Gregory Slabodkin
- Oct 13, 1997
A Defense Department panel has recommended four information technology prototypes
evaluated at the 1997 Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration for rapid acquisition
and fielding to active duty forces.
JWID '97, sponsored by U.S. Atlantic Command, was held July 7 to Aug. 1 at 45 sites
worldwide with the participation of eight allied nations. DOD conducts the exercise
annually to discover so-called golden nugget applications. The nuggets are command,
control, communications, computer and intelligence apps that DOD officials think can make
the jump quickly from demos to operational tools.
The four selected this year were among 28 demonstrated. A three-star JWID assessment
panel, including officials from the services, the Defense Information Systems Agency and
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended that DOD's Joint Requirements Oversight Council
consider the golden nuggets for accelerated procurement.
One product selected is an imagery compression, transfer and analysis tool developed by
Titan Corp. of Reston, Va. Titan's Increased Compression Engine (ICE) runs under Microsoft
Windows 95 and Windows NT and can improve on the image compression now possible under the
Joint Photographic Experts Group standard.
ICE can compress images by a factor of up to 150-to-1 for 24-bit color images, and by a
factor of up to 100-to-1 for 8-bit grayscale images, using Wavelet compression developed
by Aware Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.
"We can get at least a threefold increase over JPEG. And at JWID, we were able to
take a compressed JPEG file and compress it even more without losing much clarity in the
picture," said William Baer, Titan's ICE program manager.
Titan debuted ICE at JWID '97. The demonstration was sponsored by DISA and conducted at
six JWID sites, including Camp LeJeune, N.C., USS John C. Stennis, USS Atlanta, DISA
headquarters, USS Nassau and the Joint Training Analysis and Simulation Center in Suffolk,
"We've integrated Aware's Wavelet compression algorithm with our own front-end
packaging to create a unique software package," Baer said. "What we've offered
DOD is the ability to do something it couldn't before--to quickly tailor a product to
ICE can transmit the compressed image files through e-mail over low bandwidth
communications links while retaining image definition and quality. The compression tool is
scalable, letting the recipient of the compressed data uncompress and manipulate images as
The higher compression levels provided by ICE for image file storage and transfer also
reduce the time required to send an image from minutes down to seconds, Baer said.
Titan officials are working out a licensing agreement with Aware and expect to have ICE
available for sale soon. The company expects it will price ICE at $500 a copy.
Another golden nugget, demonstrated during a session called "Modeling and
Simulation to C4I in the DII COE Warfighting Environment," is a series of
collaborative, command and control planning tools that meet with the Defense Information
Infrastructure Common Operating Environment's requirements. DOD's Defense Modeling and
Simulation Office sponsored the demo.
A key component of this demo was the Common Operational Modeling Planning and
Simulation Strategy. DOD officials described COMPASS as nonintrusive middleware that lets
stovepiped C4I, modeling and simulation systems work in tandem. COMPASS also links non-DII
legacy systems with DII-compliant C4I systems.
The middleware consists of government-developed and commercial software in a
client-server architecture. The software runs Sun Microsystems Inc. Sparcstations and
Silicon Graphics Inc. workstations. The Naval Research and Development Center in San Diego
will develop a PC version soon, said Cmdr. Donald McSwain, the COMPASS project's manager.
COMPASS supports whiteboarding through Sun's ShowMe 2.0.1, which lets users exchange
text, graphics and screen snapshots. Videoconferencing is supplied by Xerox Corp.'s
Network Video 3.3b. GlobalChat 1.1.0, from Quarterdeck Office Systems Inc. of Santa
Monica, Calif., supports real-time text exchange between participants in chat sessions.
"We used the COMPASS system for real-time collaborative planning between the USS
Stennis at sea and the United Kingdom and Australia," said Navy Capt. Dennis Murphy,
JWID '97 project manager.
COMPASS is not a newcomer to JWID. DOD demonstrated it at JWID '96 and JWID '95. This
year, 10 primary sites and two secondary sites tested systems with COMPASS, including
sites running the Global Command and Control System.
Nineteen modeling and simulation and C4I systems DOD-wide use COMPASS. The Navy is
looking at it for its battleships.
Seven JWID sites participated in the sub demonstration, including the USS Stennis, USS
Atlanta and USS Nassau.
In the demo, submarines exchanged real-time images, provided enhanced data delivery and
integrated sensor-to-sensor and sensor-to-shooter technologies via the Ad- vanced Common
Operating Picture. With the data, the participants developed targeting options and
conducted strike operations.
Electronic, signal and communications intelligence was passed along to the joint
commander using the submarines' sensors, which had been restricted by low bandwidth data
The fourth golden nugget, the Radiant Mercury Imagery Guard, automates the downgrading
of images for transmission between users of different classification levels.
RMIG uses the National Imagery Transmission Format headers to make this possible. The
process would replace manual tools that DOD officials now use to sort data.