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The Army Broadcast Intelligence Office.


The Army Broadcast Intelligence Office (ABIO) was chartered by the Department of the Army (DA) G3 to act as the Army's centralized manager for the Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS). The ABIO mission is to ensure that the IBS delivers the Army's requirements for information and intelligence in support of Army operations in the War on Terror. One of the ways this is accomplished is by developing Army Information Exchange Requirements (IERs) that establish reporting criteria for time-critical and actionable "survival" information and intelligence to support Army mission planning and execution of operations, to include support to both Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The ABIO works in coordination with Army Service Component Commands (ASCCs), TRADOC Centers of Excellence (COEs), the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), DA staff, and National intelligence agencies to identify shortfalls in reporting that affect Army operations in prosecuting the War on Terror and takes action to correct those shortfalls. As an example, the ABIO was instrumental in getting unattended ground sensor (UGS) and improvised explosive device (IED) alert messages on the broadcast which provided actionable intelligence to the affected units within 5 to 10 seconds of injection.

ABIO also coordinated with the Distributed Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) TCM and program managers to ensure their Tactical Data Processors (TDPs) were able to receive and process IBS data. The ABIO identified that the DCGS-A TDP was not compatible with IBS and had to be modified. If ABIO had not identified this shortfall, then new versions of DCGS-A would not have been able to receive or disseminate data over the IBS. This effort directly supported the GWOT since DCGS-A is the primary TDP used by the Army to receive the IBS.

The ABIO works to match new counter-terror capabilities with the global dissemination capabilities of the IBS. Recent successes include a collective ABIO and INSCOM initiative to disseminate data from forward deployed collectors in the Middle East and to disseminate that data via IBS. On another front, the ABIO is currently working with the IBS Support Office at the National Security Agency to improve IBS dissemination of known or suspected IEDs within CENTCOM areas of operations (AOs). Note that the IBS program does not develop new information and intelligence collection platforms; rather, IBS provides both a regional and global dissemination system to ensure that current or newly developed collection platforms can forward their information and intelligence to those who need it most--the Soldier.

What is the IBS?

The IBS provides time-critical and actionable "survival" information and intelligence data broadcast via the Global Information Grid (GIG) to tactical forces. As part of its primary mission the IBS provides a global early warning capability that spans the full spectrum of conflict from ballistic missile launch detection to imminent terrorist strikes against U.S. Army units, organizations and installations. The IBS provides a critical dissemination path. This IBS dissemination is not limited to terrorist threat data, but also includes a Blue Force tracking capability for Army special units operating in hostile territory throughout the world and weapons status reporting of missiles in flight that strike known or suspected terrorist havens and training camps. Examples of time critical and actionable survival information and intelligence include threat detection, threat warning, and situational awareness. In other words, the information sent is so time-sensitive it needs to be broadcast to forces within the broadcast footprint and will allow commanders to take immediate actions to defeat or counter the threat and/or causes the commanders to order a protective posture.

IBS provides both multi-source intelligence and combat information that contribute to situational awareness, survivability, and targeting. It provides commanders the ability to access a multi-source, integrated network of threat data that is automatically "pushed" to forces deployed worldwide. Commanders may also query the IBS network in order to "pull" specific data. The characteristics of survival information are (1):

* Information that requires the recipient to take immediate action to avoid danger or hostile action.

* Information that is essential to enable the recipient to take immediate action to destroy, nullify, or defeat a hostile entity, weapon, or force. The ABIO is working with the IBS community to establish a standardized broadcast data message format and a single family of radios (transmit and/or receive) that are interoperable with all of the Services and with designated "five eyes" Allies. The ABIO is the Army's agent for coordinating and providing Army input to the IBS Common Message Format (CMF), which includes routinely updating and adding Army input to the IBS Data Elements Dictionary. ABIO work on the CMF ensures that IBS data includes Army driven data elements in formats comprehensible to soldiers. Without this work, IBS data relevant to the GWOT would go unrecognized.

Dissemination of IBS reports throughout the GIG is via two pathways--low bandwidth ultra high frequency (UHF) broadcasts and wideband networks (SIPRnet, JWICS, etc.). Time-sensitive "survival" information and intelligence that is broadcast via IBS travel on low bandwidth radio frequency (RF) links supported by a combination of SATCOM and air breathing platforms. UHF broadcasts are intended for soldiers who do not have access to wide band networks and support early entry operations and other AOs that lack a mature wide-band communications infrastructure. This is particularly relevant in GWOT operations that require quick entry and exit into areas hostile to U.S. military presence. The UHF IBS broadcast is uniquely capable of supporting Special Operations Forces (SOF) (transmit and receive) deployed in these high threat AOs. Additionally, all IBS reports, both time sensitive and non-time sensitive, travel via wideband networks (SIPRnet, Global Broadcast Service (GBS)) to ensure widest dissemination. Wideband dissemination of IBS reports allows for a high volume of non-time critical data to be shared for improved situational awareness and is absolutely essential for the extensive intelligence analysis required to identify, find, and target terrorist networks.

The ABIO works continuously to integrate and leverage the IBS broadcast to the Army's fullest advantage. Since terrorists can strike any time, anywhere, the Army wants IBS dissemination of counter-terrorist and force protection data available to shooters, mobile units, fixed installations, Intelligence Analysts and any Army element that will benefit from the availability of that data. Although IBS dissemination is extensive in today's deployed force, the ABIO is working on approved Army requirements to deliver time-critical information and intelligence via low bandwidth UHF IBS broadcasts down to vehicle and aircraft level in a future combat system (FCS) equipped force. Expanded IBS data dissemination includes early warning of threat terrorist activities to Army organizations, installations, and units dispersed throughout the globe. Where feasible, capabilities intended for the future force are implemented now to support current operations. Army brigades, to include conventional and FCS Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) and SOF, will be, or are currently capable of receiving IBS reports via both UHF low bandwidth broadcasts and wideband networks. This dual capability will support early entry operations and AOs that lack wideband infrastructure while allowing for high volume IBS dissemination of both non-time and time critical information and intelligence via wideband networks in mature AOs.

The information and intelligence collection systems that produce the IBS broadcast data are referred to as "IBS Producers." IBS producers include National-level collection capabilities and service collection platforms, to include Army sensors. Most of the IBS producers and dollar investments have been provided by non-Army resources. The Army's intent is to continue to leverage these investments and the extensive resources to provide survival information and intelligence, terrorist threat warning, and targeting data to Army tactical forces at an economical cost. The ABIO is the Army's key agent for leveraging Joint and National level IBS investments to Army advantage.

The collection platforms that inject information and intelligence into IBS broadcasts were initially designed to provide technical intelligence in support of high intensity warfare. As the Army and the ABIO identifies further IBS requirements via TRADOC's Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) process, the Army will introduce additional IBS producers to include more informational and multi-intelligence systems, platforms, and soldiers who can provide survival information and intelligence across the full spectrum of conflict. But this does not mean that the ABIO or the Army waits years to implement IBS dissemination of new capabilities for a future force. As done with IED and UGS reporting, new collection capabilities that contribute to the GWOT are immediately integrated into the IBS broadcast. The ABIO continuously works with Joint and Army agencies to identify new capabilities for IBS data broadcasts.

IBS White Paper currently being written to define INBS support to Army operations.

ABIO engaging with AMD, Aviation, Batle Command, and FCS to ensure support to operations.

ABIO working to inject Army-centric data and sources (such as Unattended Ground Sensors) onto the broadcast.

Current and planned Army IBS producers include PATRIOT, Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS), Guardrail Common Sensor (GRCS), Aerial Common Sensor (ACS), Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) and other Army combat information and intelligence sensors as well as BCTs. The current IBS ground terminal is the Joint Tactical Terminal (JTT) (AN/USC-62), which will be in service at least until 2013. In the future, the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) will be the Army's IBS radio-receiver. TDPs in use by the Army will be capable of manipulating IBS data (in IBS CMF) at IBS entry points designated by the Army. Current and future IBS capable TDPs include the Common Ground Station (CGS), the DCGS-A, and TIPOFF-NT (used by PATRIOT). The FCS will use an embedded DCGS-A applique to receive and present IBS data. All IBS producers (Air Missile and Defense (AMD), FIRES, Aviation, Intelligence, etc.) will employ JTTs and associated TDPs. The ABIO tracks and works with these cross-programmatic IBS elements to ensure that the Army retains relevant use of IBS broadcasts in GWOT operations during the migration to IBS FOC in 2013.


The IBS is a living and ever-changing system of systems. The IBS, like the Army, must be ever adaptable to respond to dynamic threats across the full spectrum of conflict. It must be poised to exploit new and cost effective technologies and intelligence collection capabilities that allow our soldiers to win and survive. Whenever feasible and cost effective, the ABIO works to integrate new collection capabilities with IBS dissemination to support current War on Terror operations. The ABIO, co-located with the Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, is the Army's centralized manager for development and change management of the IBS. The ABIO works in coordination with ASCCs, TRADOC COEs, INSCOM, DA staff, National intelligence agencies, the Acquisition Community, and the IBS Executive Agent to identify new intelligence collection capabilities that produce actionable combat information and intelligence on tactical timelines. The ABIO also assesses costs, risks, benefits, and trade-offs at the introduction of new Army IBS users and producers to ensure that a transforming IBS capability is maintained at an economical cost.


(1.) Characteristics of survival information extracted from IBS Joint Operational Requirements Document (JORD) dated 05 March 2007 and FCS ORD dated 13 July 2004.

Vince Cattera retired from the U.S. Army in 1995 as a Chief Warrant Officer. He served with the 1st Infantry (Vietnam); 2nd and 7th Infantry Divisions; 1st Cavalry Division; European Defense Analysis Center; and USCENTCOM. While at USCENTCOM, he served as the Senior Iraq/Iran Ground Forces Analyst within the Intelligence Directorate (J2) where he had direct input into National level Iraqi and Iranian military studies (National Intelligence Estimates), intelligence briefings, and exercises. He currently works in support of the ABIO.

Patrick Ahrens is a retired U.S. Army colonel. He served with the 1st Armored Division; 29th MI Battalion; Combat Maneuver Training Center; 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment; the British Ministry of Defence and DA G2. He currently works in support of the ABIO.
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Author:Cattera, Vince; Ahrens, Patrick J.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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