Warfighting systems get a once-over during JWID

SUFFOLK, Va.—The sign in the lobby of the Joint Training, Analysis and Simulation
Center here said it all: “Warning! All Portable Computers and Diskettes Brought Into
the Center Must Be Virus-Scanned And Marked.”


As visitors entered the facility, security guards at the front desk used a scanning
station to enforce the edict.


Keeping computers at U.S. Atlantic Command’s JTASC safe from viruses is important
because the center is like no other Defense Department facility.


The unassuming building in an industrial park houses the Joint Battle Center, a
state-of-the-art facility where agencies and the services go to test emerging command,
control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems
that may some day be fielded throughout DOD.


The Joint Battle Center late last month hosted a series of C4ISR technology
demonstrations as part of the 1998 Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration. The
Atlantic Command’s JWID ’98, which ran from July 20 to July 30, sought to
measure the effectiveness of warfighting systems among allies and American forces to
determine whether they are ready for the field.


“JBC was specifically tasked with looking at three demonstrations,” said Navy
Capt. Dennis Murphy, JWID project manager. “One is getting an up check, another is
getting a down check, and the third is not ready yet.”


The three systems demonstrated were the Situational Awareness Beacon with Reply (SABER)
system, the Imagery and Geospatial System (IGS), and the Information Assurance Battle
Damage Assessment (IA-BDA) Tool.


SABER, once an advanced concept technology, has moved to the acquisition phase, DOD
officials said. SABER provides immediate location information of forces using the Global
Positioning System and Ultra-High Frequency satellite communications.


During JWID ’98, UHF satellites tracked beacons on Army vehicles at Fort Gordon,
Ga., and passed the signals along to command and control terminals. The demo used PCs
running Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows NT to continuously track the vehicles’
locations. The military will use SABER until early next century, when DOD wants to switch
to a more accurate radio data link.


IGS is not yet ready for procurement, a DOD official said.


“The Joint Battle Center took the IGS from JWID ’97, evaluated it and gave it
the thumbs down,” Murphy said. “It’s not mature enough, and it’s not
joint enough.”


During last year’s JWID, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency demonstrated a
Web imagery and geospatial system through which warfighters could collect target data from
the Coalition Wide Area Network and the U.S.-only Secret IP Router Network.


After last year’s JWID, NIMA left the IGS system aboard the USS John C. Stennis
and at the Joint Battle Center for further testing.


Since then, IGS has become a permanent part of Stennis’ warfighting systems. At
JWID ’98, NIMA used the IGS capabilities over CWAN, which gave it instant access to
map imagery and geospatial information.


“Out on the John C. Stennis, they have the same demo plus a couple of engineers
that are using it in real-world operations,” Murphy said. “They’re changing
code and adding functions.”


The third demo showcased IA-BDA, an automated forensics tool from Delfin Systems Inc.
of Fairfax, Va. It collects data and evidence to determine if servers and workstations
have had unauthorized activity. The FBI also uses the forensics software, Murphy said.


During JWID, the center also evaluated another security package that “goes out and
looks for insecurities in your system,” Murphy said. The Defense Information Systems
Agency developed the tool, Viper. DISA has not deployed it, however.


Ultimately, DISA would like DOD organizations and the services to use the software to
check for vulnerabilities in their networks. It can scan for 30 weaknesses, Murphy said.


“We had a vulnerability here at the JBC that we didn’t even know about, and
the software found it,” he said.


To try out Viper and other security tools, DOD asked its allies to participate in a
Coalition Vulnerability Assessment Team. The allies supplied limited versions of their C2
networks for security tests.


The countries agreed that JWID teams would try to break into the networks and find
weaknesses. The attacks took place daily. Each day, JWID officers would report back to the
countries on any vulnerabilities they uncovered.


“This year we also have some other tools that are new to JWID,” Murphy said.
“We have probes put on the networks to monitor bandwidth in different places.”


The JBC for the first time measured the bandwidth used by each system to determine
operational efficiency. DISA put probes on coalition networks, including those used by
Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, to measure bandwidth.
Canada, however, refused to let probes monitor its networks, a DOD document said.


DISA used a commercial probe—NetMetrics by Hewlett-Packard Co.—as a network
management tool to keep track of JWID’s data traffic and the uniform resource
locators that take up a lot of bandwidth. The NetMetrics remote monitoring probes gathered
data from allied coalition networks around the world during JWID ’98.


“The question is: For a 20 percent increase in performance, is it worth doubling
the cost of bandwidth?” Murphy said. “And now I can truly measure what those
numbers are.”

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