Air Force moves ahead on imagery backbone

The Air Force has awarded a $3.5 million task order to Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., to expedite imagery and intelligence report sharing through early rollout of the Distributed Common Ground System Integration Backbone (DIB) to five Air Force sites.

'The demand for better and time-critical intelligence has never been more important to the safety of our personnel on the ground and in the air,' said Lt. Col. Chuck Angus, commander of the 578th Aircraft Sustainment Squadron at Warner Robins Air Force Base. 'Connecting these legacy ground stations via the DIB will provide actionable intelligence that we can use to provide enhanced tactical support to our men and women fighting the global war on terror.'

The Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) is a program that weaves together more than two dozen systems for capturing and reviewing intelligence data that each of the military services can then use to identify and hit enemy targets. Each service is undertaking its own implementation, following the architecture laid out in the Capstone Requirements Document issued by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council in 2003.

While there have been delays in implementing DCGS, Mark Grablin, director of Defense Department tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems for Lockheed, said the Air Force was able to issue the order under the existing Common Imagery Exploitation Systems contract.

The core DCGS ground stations at Beale and Langley Air Force bases produce significant amounts of imagery and multi-intelligence data that support tactical reconnaissance and strategic planning. Installing the DIB to these and the other Air Force sites will change previously networked stovepipes with limited interoperability into a layered, service-oriented architecture with multilayered interoperability.

'Once you put the integration backbone at a site, integrating other capabilities that DCGS' will add will be easier, Grablin said. Analysts will have better access to imagery and intelligence information, and when DCGS is implemented, they will have a shorter learning curve on its additional features, he said.

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