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Following the tragic shootings in Fort Hood, Texas, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, it was determined that the Army needed a better process for quickly sharing unclassified threat information. To satisfy this demand, the Antiterrorism Division, U.S. Army Office of the Provost Marshal General (OPMG), developed a requirement for a Web-based system that could be fielded to all corners of the Army. The solution was achieved with the piloting of the Joint Analytic Real-Time Virtual Information-Sharing System (JARVISS) on 1 October 2016. After a review of commercial and government systems, a commercial, off-the-shelf product was selected based on its capabilities, flexibility, and ability to best meet the Army's specifications. Following successful pilots that tested the capabilities of JARVISS, the system was approved for Army-wide deployment upon completion of a U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command security assessment.

JARVISS addresses four major objectives as determined by a Fort Hood independent review, which found that the Department of Defense (DOD) lacks force protection processes and procedures for sharing real-time threat information between commands, installations, and stand-alone facilities. JARVISS--

* Improves real-time threat information-sharing capabilities across the Army.

* Improves threat information-sharing capabilities to all Army stand-alone facilities.

* Enhances the Army's threat assessment and analysis capabilities.

* Enhances the Army's ability to analyze threat information and suspicious activity reports.

JARVISS can best be described as a threat common operational picture, but the system also contains a wealth of information to benefit law enforcement, criminal analysts, emergency management personnel, and operations planners. Functioning as a threat common operational picture, JARVISS is an intuitive system that requires minimal training. The system dashboard uses advanced analytic algorithms and commercial analysts to provide users with threat information originating from more than 80,000 open sources, including social media, news media, local municipality services, commercial businesses, and government sources. The threat information is geo-located, providing users with the distance to the closest Army assets. The workspace functions can be used for detailed analysis, allowing full system users the ability to conduct crime, threat, or emergency management analysis. The workspace features a number of data layers that full users can configure to display information for their specific requirements. JARVISS will be hosted on an approved DOD government cloud service provider accredited by the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command risk management framework process. The risk management framework accreditation enables JARVISS to store controlled unclassified information and for-official-use-only data, to include data with the law-enforcement-sensitive caveat.


The JARVISS platform analyzes data from a myriad of sources, immediately prioritizing threats based on locally developed or command-specified criteria. In addition, the system immediately correlates threats to the closest Army assets and provides notifications of potentially affected personnel and assets. The JARVISS system delivers the following features:

* Data accessed from 20 social media sources.

* Machine translation of more than 200 languages as well as organic analyst translation of the 12 most globally spoken languages.

* Active global data-scrapes of news and blogs with more than 80,000 sources reviewed daily.

* Off-post local/regional crime data from the SpotCrime service, which allows users to look at crime data for trend analysis and planning purposes. (This is specifically beneficial to stand-alone facilities and commands with leased assets.)

* Instant information on natural hazards, weather, and international travel warnings (connected directly to sensor feeds from multiple natural-disaster reporting sources).

* Data from the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program, Department of Homeland Security, which provides antiterrorism and emergency management planners with information on local infrastructure and utilities.

* A listing of local and global emergency management points of contact and a listing of associated elected officials for locations in the United States.

* Detailed geographic information system data with installation building footprints, infrastructure, and boundaries to provide installation planners and emergency responders with detailed information.

* Global geospatial data on points of interests, local demographics, emergency management facilities (hospitals, Drug Enforcement Administration offices, Federal Bureau of Investigation offices, police stations, fire stations), and potential soft targets (tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants) for use in planning.

* A historical archive of threat, terrorism, criminal, and suspicious activity incidents for up to 15 years, depending on the specific data set.

The system is configured to display all critical data (type, time/date, location) of specific events or incidents (suspicious activity, suspicious objects, suspicious substances, bomb threats, chemical incidents, explosions, hazardous incidents, power outages, radiological incidents, transportation incidents). These events or incidents are geospatially tagged and referenced in relation to Army assets.

Future Additions

Upon receiving risk management framework accreditation and the granting of authority to operate, the JARVISS team will include other DOD and U.S. government data sets on the platform. Among these datasets are--

* Army Law Enforcement Reporting and Tracking System (ALERTS).

* Computer-aided dispatch.

* Law enforcement reporting systems from the other Services.

* Homeland Security Information Network, Department of Homeland Security.

* Host nation law enforcement tracking systems.

* Individual antiterrorism plans.

* Open-source centers.

JARVISS has an application program interface for integration and data sharing with existing DOD and federal systems. This provides the capability to input data from government and commercial databases (Army Mapper, Army iWatch, Web Emergency Operations Center) at local installations without collecting and/or storing personally identifiable information.


JARVISS will be fielded to more than 45,000 end users in the Army with various access rights based upon their responsibilities. Full user licenses will be issued primarily to antiterrorism and law enforcement communities, emergency planners, and the operational Army. The full user license provides the full functionality of JARVISS, allowing users to receive immediate threat notifications, report incidents, conduct planning, and conduct analysis using a number of different data layers. A concurrent license for the basic user has also been developed to provide the same full user capabilities for watch officers and operations centers. Multiple personnel share a single account license. The basic user license is intended for users who will not need the analytic capabilities of JARVISS but will only require threat notifications and the ability to report incidents. Basic users include antiterrorism coordinators, designated unit personnel, and stand-alone facility personnel. Stand-alone facilities (recruiting centers, Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve locations, Reserve Officer Training Corps detachments, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offices) will directly benefit from JARVISS by receiving threat information on any commercial computer system or smartphone (through the use of a mobile application).

Feedback from users in the field has been positive, specifically highlighting the information immediately available for real-time events. The system has provided timely notification of multiple incidents that have had a potential effect on Army assets and Army personnel. The ability to quickly identify nearby Army assets has been cited as extremely useful and has allowed JARVISS users to quickly notify nearby facilities of events occurring in real time. JARVISS has consistently provided a notification of threat incidents well in advance of major media sources, giving Army leaders an opportunity to respond quickly.

Implementation and Operational Use

The Antiterrorism Division ran multiple pilots of the JARVISS platform in 2017, achieving program objectives and exceeding the participants' expectations. JARVISS demonstrated the ability to notify users within minutes of a threat or event in their local area or area of interest. During the first 2 months of the initial pilot, JARVISS alerted the U.S. Army Reserve Command and the U.S. Army Cadet Command about the Ohio State University knife attack and relayed the threat information to nearby assets for situational awareness.

The U.S. Military Academy-West Point, New York, employed JARVISS as a threat assessment tool before the 2016 and 2017 Army-Navy football games, using it during the games to monitor threats in and around Baltimore, Maryland, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Army Operations Center began using JARVISS in April 2017 -- just in time for the hurricane season and severe-weather impacts on Army assets throughout the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. The system was valuable in its ability to geo-correlate Army assets in relation to the projected path of the storm and provide a myriad of associated reporting from social media and other sources.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division liaison assigned to the Military District of Washington utilized JARVISS during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration to monitor threats throughout the event.

JARVISS alerted the Army Threat Integration Center 10 minutes before national news media began reporting the London terror attack near London Bridge and the Borough Market on 3 June 2017.

The Antiterrorism Division, OPMG, used JARVISS to directly support an open-post event at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, over the Independence Day holiday. The event was attended by approximately 25,000 military personnel, dependents, and civilians.

By special request, the JAEVISS team supported two important engagements. From 25 to 27 July 2017, the Army Antiterrorism Division provided JARVISS support to the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) antiterrorism officers ahead of initial fielding in the Pacific Command area of responsibility. Representatives from Korea, Japan, and other USARPAC locations attended and received in-depth training on JARVISS and provided USARPAC-specific requirements for the configuration of JARVISS. In addition to user training, breakout sessions were held to develop specific configuration requirements.

Law Enforcement Functionality

The JARVISS team worked closely with Army stakeholders to configure the law enforcement data within JARVISS to assist with reporting and analysis requirements. The Law Enforcement and Antiterrorism Divisions, OPMG, met with the Installation Management Command, Law Enforcement Division, and users from Fort Drum, New York; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (commonly known as CID) to determine what law enforcement-related data from ALERTS and computer-aided dispatch was appropriate for JARVISS. All data pulled into JARVISS from these systems is scrubbed in order to exclude personally identifiable information to prevent any legal objections. This data will be in a stand-alone JARVISS law-enforcement-sensitive portal, restricted to approved full users with a verified need to access law-enforcement-sensitive data. The inclusion of this data in JARVISS will provide geospatial location data to assist law enforcement personnel in the analysis of historical crime data and in the real-time tracking of incidents. This functionality will include the ability to generate tailored reports, fulfilling requests from OPMG and directorate of emergency services personnel at the installation and headquarter levels. Law enforcement users of JARVISS will be able to view installation and off-post crime data overlaid on an installation map, with detailed geospatial data outlining building footprints and other points of interest. This information can be displayed in a number of ways, to include pin mapping and hot-spot mapping for the installation as a whole or by patrol zone. The law enforcement tab in the system allows users to automatically generate crime reports that display crime data over a specified period and detailed information on specific offenses. These functions within JARVISS have been designed to save time for military police users and standardize reporting within the Army.

Threat Reports and Vignettes

The JARVISS team, in conjunction with the Army Threat Integration Center, has worked to prepare threat and incident updates for major events with an impact on Army assets and interests. These reports will be sent out to the field and can be requested through the Army Threat Integration Center or the JARVISS team. In advance of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, the JARVISS team produced and forwarded a list of potentially impacted Army assets to aid command emergency and response planners. In addition, the Antiterrorism Division prepared a collection of vignettes that highlight the operational uses of JARVISS during major events.

The Way Ahead

The Antiterrorism Division and JARVISS team are collaborating to fulfill improvement recommendations made by the pilot participants. User interface updates will enhance the ability to meet the specific needs of the following communities of interest:

* Antiterrorism personnel.

* Law enforcement personnel.

* Warfighters.

* Emergency services.

* Defense support to civil agencies.

JARVISS has undergone a number of processes to ensure that the system is fully accredited for use in DOD and across the federal government. These steps will allow JARVISS to store and receive any sensitive but unclassified data from Army and DOD law enforcement information systems (ALERTS) and data from other U.S. government agencies (Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice). Additionally, the Army Antiterrorism Division has coordinated with the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office to ensure compliance with privacy requirements. The JARVISS concept of operations legal review was completed by the Office of General Counsel and the Office of the Judge Advocate General on 20 June 2017 with no legal objections. JARVISS has strict security controls and an approved methodology to ensure that the system operates in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements.

The JARVISS fielding plan called for beginning Army-wide deployment of the system during the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, targeting Army commands, supporting commands, and direct reporting units in a collective manner. The fielding plan prioritizes locations based upon mission criticality. During fielding, the Antiterrorism Division will travel and conduct a detailed system configuration and provide training to all user groups on the installation, to include stand-alone facilities in the area.

For additional information about JARVISS, contact the JARVISS team at <usarmy.pentagon.hqda.mbx.jarviss>, (703) 695-6216, or (571) 256-4786 (project manager).

By Mr. Patrick B. Dundon

Mr. Dundon is the senior security analyst in the Antiterrorism Division, OPMG, and the program manager for JARVISS. He is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer with 25 years of service.
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Author:Dundon, Patrick B.
Publication:Military Police
Date:Mar 22, 2018
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