GCC-CACC--improving battlefield visualization for Ground Component warfighters in Korea.
In 2001, the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade began an initiative to increase battlefield visualization for the combat commander on the Korean Peninsula and to standardize the common operational picture (COP) for the warfighter. The Brigade's Ground Component Command- Combined Analysis Control Center's (GCC-CACC) digitization and modernization project incorporated "Dragonview," a state-of-the-art display system, as the centerpiece in increasing the commander's battlefield visualization.
GCC-CACC Mission and Location
The mission of the 501st MI Brigade's GCC-CACC is to provide the Ground Component Command (GCC) and Combined Forces Command (CFC) warfighters all-source predictive intelligence in support of situation and target development as well as intelligence exploitation. The GCC-CACC is within the Field Station-Korea complex located at the Zoeckler Station, a subinstallation of Camp Humphreys, Korea. The Field Station is also home to the 527th MI Battalion and elements of the 3d MI Battalion, both subordinate units of the 501st MI Brigade.
Evolution of the GCC-CACC
Formed in 1995, the Ground Component Command-Analysis and Control Element (GCC-ACE) has grown exponentially with the integration of each intelligence discipline. In 1997, the 501st MI Brigade's Technical Control and Analysis Element (TCAE) merged with the GCC-ACE. When our Republic of Korea (ROK) intelligence counterparts joined the team, thus creating a combined environment, the ACE became the GCC-CACC. This integration provided an improved intelligence capability, mobile satellite communications (SATCOM) capabilities via TROJAN SPIRIT (TROJAN Special-Purpose Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal), and critical communications pipelines using very-small aperture terminal (VSAT) to the ROK Army intelligence signals intelligence (SIGINT) elements throughout the Peninsula.
As the GCC-CACC continued to evolve, other sections contributed significantly to the intelligence information structure. The GCC-CACC Ground Imagery Analysis Section (GIAS) added the Joint Services Workstation (JSWS) and the Common Ground Station (CGS); these systems have contributed a very robust, joint imagery and moving target indicator (MTI) capability to the GCC-CACC. In addition to GCC-CACC's organic intelligence processing systems, the 3d MI Battalion provides direct-feed capabilities from both the Guardrail Common Sensor and the Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) (imagery intelligence). More recently, we integrated reporting from the Brigade's measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) elements into the CACC, and an initiative is underway to automate the intelligence reporting and analysis provided by the Brigade's counterintelligence and human intelligence battalion, the 524th Ml Battalion, to GCC consumers around the Peninsula.
As the number of intelligence information processors, systems and intelligence disciplines within the GCC-CACC has grown, so too has the communications architecture. In 2000, the addition of the Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) provided much needed connectivity to information sources at the Secret Collateral level as well as dissemination capabilities for consumers in the United States. The GCC-CACC currently operates on multiple wide-area networks (WANs) at multiple classification levels. They provide a means of dissemination to virtually any consumer in the world as well as enabling analysts to access multiple theater- and national-level databases.
Our Challenges With Advanced Automation
By 2001, the GCC-CACC had an immense intelligence processing capability as well as a robust communications architecture to support virtually any mission on the Peninsula. More importantly, the GCC-CACC had the capability to facilitate comprehensive battlefield visualization for the warfighter. However, the abundance of incoming information and the various communications pipes presented the GCC-CACC with some unique challenges.
First the GCC-CACC had to resolve problems related to the quality control of the COP based on its current architecture. The most important responsibility of the GCC-CACC is furnishing the enemy ground situation for the Peninsula's COP, a vital tool in supporting the decision-making process of the Commander, United States Forces, Korea (USFK). Quality control is paramount to ensuring an accurate, timely and comprehensive view of the enemy situation, an effort hampered by the dispersion of the number and size of intelligence systems and processors within the CACC. With the All-Source Analysis System--All-Source (ASAS-AS) situation machine, COP production machine, and the Global Command and Control System-Korea (GCCS-K) machine separated by space and classification requirements, it was essential to pull these critical pieces of the COP together to ensure accurate and timely quality control. (These three machines are where the analysts generate the picture, an ASAS Remote Workstation that feeds the COP via the GC CS-K, and where warfighters can view the final picture.)
While GCC-CACC analysts had the ability to organize most of the incoming information and focus on commanders' priorities using a number of correlation systems, the challenge was in getting all of this information from many sources at many classification levels to one analyst workstation to ease the analysis, processing, and dissemination. Additionally, this data required exporting to an easily accessible media form so that the battle captain could view it without having to go to different buildings or areas.
The physical layout of the GCC-CACC and the size of the equipment presented another challenge. Although the bulk of the GCC-CACC area is within the field station's U.S.-ROK building, other elements are at a separate building, or outside the buildings in self-contained shelters. This environment fostered segregation of sections and hampered coordination, cross-cueing, cross talk, and production. For the CACC to achieve optimal situation development, target-development, and collection exploitation, it needed technology to port all of the CACC's many inputs into one area, thus allowing it to assimilate, evaluate, and disseminate perishable information quickly and to improve situational awareness.
In the first quarter of fiscal year 2001, the GCC-CACC, together with other elements of the 532d MI Battalion (parent unit of the GCC-CACC) and the 501st MI Brigade, engineered a plan to overcome these challenges as well as to facilitate increased battlefield visualization for the GCC-CACC and warfighter. The plan resulted in a major digitization and modernization project to transform the GCC-CACC into a digitized, efficient intelligence fusion and production center. To start, the planners would have to completely restructure the GCC-CACC information architecture and floor plan, modernize and upgrade existing systems to economize space, and install a state-of-the-art Superview 500 display system known as "Dragonview."
Several changes were made with regard to information architecture. The first of these was the introduction of a trusted workstation (TWS), which allowed analysts to access and share information from multiple sources at different security levels, providing the means to get information from several classification levels to the ASAS-AS for correlation and to analyst workstations for processing and dissemination. We also the communications support processors (CSPs)--servicing the bulk of transmission and receipt of GCC-CACC message traffic--to route traffic based on changes to the information architecture.
The GCC-CACC restructured the floor plan (see Figure 1) to deliver maximum situational awareness to the battle captain and GCC-CACC analysts and technicians.
* We surrounded the battle captain station (or "pit") with situation, targeting support, and production machines.
* We restructured and even moved individual sections in some instances to supply added situational awareness as well as to aid in the economy of space.
* We upgraded intelligence systems hardware (in terms of speed and memory) to accommodate future software upgrades.
Additionally, to combat the high demand for GCCS-K systems, the GCC-CACC purchased another system and is in the process of adding at least one more. To further deal with economy of space, the CACC replaced all monitors with flat-panel monitors expanding much needed analyst workspace.
Of all of the ideas, however, the most dynamic change to the GCC-CACC was addition of "Dragonview," a battlefield visualization system that ensured that those needing the information to facilitate immediate situational awareness could view it from intelligence systems spread throughout the field station. The system, developed for the Brigade in a partnership with a small company in Texas, provided customized display for the GOC-CACO.
Modeled after a similar mobile version at the III Corps ACE, the Dragonview display system enables the GCC-CACC to display multiple system feeds simultaneously in a single 10-foot wide by 8-foot high viewing area (see Figure 2). A compact computer video interface connects each system's central processing unit (CPU) and monitor. This small box has an HD-15 serial input for the computer and output for the monitor; it also has a second output for an [RGB.sup.1] cable to move only the video signal (no data) to the Dragonview system. This was especially important since the GCC-CACC battle command area (the Dragonview's location) has input sources operating at three different security levels. Even with the sources' variety of hardware manufacturers, the CACC successfully made all hardware connections using combinations of cables and adapters.
The Dragonview accepts up to 42 RGB inputs from different workstations and 6 video inputs (see Figure 3). We process and convert these inputs Through the Dragonview for display on the projection screen. The battle captain uses a touch panel (see Figure 4) to determine which systems to display at various times and can choose from displays showing 1, 4, 6, or 10 inputs at a time. In addition to the RGB output to the projector, the Dragonview has one additional video output and three RGB outputs that add the capability to display a common intelligence picture remotely in distant locations, such as the 501st MI Brigade tactical operations center (TOC).
GCC-CACC, with Dragonview at its center, has significantly increased its situational awareness as well as battlefield visualization capabilities in support of the warfighter. In March 2002, USFK tested the display system during a major Peninsula-wide exercise, RSO&I (reception, staging, onward movement, and integration) 02, and it proved to be a major success throughout the GCC-CACC. Battle captains were no longer tied to individual 15" monitors, nor did they have to traverse the GCC-CACC floor to view other screens and mapboards in their efforts to achieve battlefield awareness. Instead, they now had the ability to customize their displays by manipulating the Dragonview touch panel, enabling them to visualize the battlefield quickly. Intelligence technicians and senior analysts had a dynamic set of tools to improve significantly production and accuracy in their dis-semination efforts. Monitors from systems that resided outside the battle command area such as the CGS (MTI) quickly appeared for comparison on s creens from other intelligence sources. Lastly, the Dragonview improved the GOC-CACC's briefing capability. Situation briefs became much more synchronized, visual, detailed, and accurate using the display system. The system even streamlined shift-change briefs by allowing analysts to brief their own areas of responsibility to a larger audience. Most importantly, the GCC-CACC conducted a thorough quality-control of the Peninsula's COP in a fraction of the time previously required. In turn, the GCC-CACC sent COP updates that were timely and accurate and thus delivering a significantly more valuable decision-making tool to the Commander, USFK.
The GCC-CACC has significantly improved situational awareness and battlefield visualization capabilities; however, there are still challenges to face. With the high transition rate of soldiers--unique to the Korean Peninsula--and the continued technological advances in automation systems, training is paramount. Comprehensive training programs and mobile training teams (MTT) are the focus for the GCC-CACC in providing seasoned analyst continuity within the Combined Analysis Control Center. The ASAS Master Analyst Program (AMAP) is crucial to coordinating systems and analysis training and the GCC-CACC has made every effort to ensure the continuity of ASAS Master Analysts. In an effort to keep the analyst in the loop, the GCC-CACC must continue to assist their intellectual development. A critical consideration is that advanced automation is only a tool and that analysts are the individuals on whom we rely to synthesize vast amounts of information and to perform complex tasks in support of the warfighter. With th is in mind, the GCC-CACC senior noncommissioned officers are revising the current GCC-CACC training program. The new "analyst certification program" will focus on training analysts to operate in a seamless environment and developing cross-cuing skills and an understanding of where their intelligence disciplines fit while constructing a detailed picture of the battlefield. Automation training will be comprehensive and focused on analyst applications (using the machine as a tool) rather than machine functions or "buttonology."
To further enhance the digitization project, we will install a public address system. The system will link the GCC-CACC, the 501st Ml Brigade TOC, and the 527th MI Battalion with audio to compliment their Dragonview visual feeds.
As technological advances continue at quantum rates, the GCC-CACC will persist in its efforts to harness new capabilities providing enhanced tools for the analyst and improved battlefield visualization to the warfighter. The GCC-CACC vision for the future is a "virtual intelligence architecture" that will link analysts and intelligence consumers electronically. Within the GCC-CACC, in the not so distant future, virtual overlays will replace or enhance the current Dragonview capability. Virtual whiteboards will link analysts and the battle captain in a collaborative environment. VTC capabilities will be the norm for linking the GCC-CACC with its Deployable Intelligence Support Element (DISE), ROK Army intelligence counterparts, and other intelligence consumers.
(1.) RGB stands for "Red, Green, Blue," a common type of connection used in audio-video feeds.
Sergeant First Class Fernando Ortega currently serves as the 532d Military Intelligence Battalion S3 NCO in Charge (NCOIC). In addition to his S3 duties, he serves as the Battalion Systems NCO and the Senior ASAS Master Analyst for the 501st Ml Brigade. He is a graduate of the ASAS Master Analyst Course and the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Battle Staff NCO Course. In addition to having served as the GCC-CACC ASAS Master Analyst, he taught the Signals Intelligence Analyst (98C) Individual Entry Training (IET) Course and has served in a variety of tactical and strategic Ml assignments. Readers may contact SFC Ortega via E-mail at email@example.com and telephonically at DSN 315-723-4784.
Staff Sergeant Erika Strong (recently changed from Olson) has been at the 532d MI Battalion in Korea since June 2001. She has served as the ASAS Master Analyst for the Ground Component Command-Combined Analysis and Control Center (GCC-CA CC) since her graduation from the ASAS Master Analyst Course in December 2001. Before her assignment to Korea, SSG Strong spent just over four years in the 2d Armor Brigade, 4th infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Hood, Texas. She was with the unit through their transition from analog operations to digital warfighting culminating in the Force XXI Division Capstone Exercise in spring 2001. SSG Strong's next assignment will take her back to Fort Hood in December 2002. Readers may reach her via E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and telephonically at DSN 315-753-3349.
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|Author:||Sergeant First Class Ortega, Fernando; Staff Sergeant Strong, Erika K.|
|Publication:||Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2002|
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