Battle lab links far-flung analysts via video

DIA's High- Definition Array gives analysts a huge screen to view intelligence data.

Rick Steele

DIA's crown jewel is the DOD Intelligence Community Battle Lab.

The agency recently completed upgrading its systems at the laboratory, located on the 7th floor of the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. At the lab, analysts can confer in person or from one of dozens of videoconferencing monitors. Voice-activated cameras in the conference rooms zoom in to shoot an image of a person as he or she talks.

In the conference rooms, analysts collaborate with other analysts anywhere'from Germany to Baghdad. The rooms feature 'touch tables,' where analysts can use visual maps or graphics that they can control with their hands.

In another room is the High-Definition Array, a touch-screen floor where dozens of analysts can meet around a single display or collaborate over the high-definition, 20-megapixel display systems that adorn the walls and are controlled by toggle sticks. This floor unit and the wall systems were integrated by Northrop Grumman Corp.

'We envision this as a collaboration center. They'll pick a single problem to discuss,' said Kael C. Koolmees, an engineer for Northrop Grumman. 'The images and fidelity are just tremendous.'

The lab offers break rooms for analysts who work around the clock and need a rest from the often stuffy world of intelligence gathering, added Dave Beitler, a program manager at DIA. The agency also has nearly completed five regional service centers in Colorado, Florida, Germany, Hawaii and at DIA's Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling. The centers will each feature one-stop shopping for IT services, including e-mail, voice over IP and desktop videoconferencing.

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