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Update on the Joint STARS Common Ground Station (CGS) User's Conference.

On 23 and 24 March 2004, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) System Manager (TSM) Office hosted the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) Common Ground Station User's (CGS) Conference at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The conference was an outstanding exchange of recent combat experiences and uses of Joint STARS and the CGS. Attending were 144 soldiers, Marines, airmen, Department of Army civilians, and defense contractors representing more than 40 organizations--many had recently returned from Operations IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) in Iraq and ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) in Afghanistan.

The focus of the conference was to share operational tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), discuss system logistics and sustainment concepts, and describe training opportunities for CGS crews. The conference also provided an overview of future initiatives including improvements to the Joint STARS aircraft and CGS systems, and the future vector of the Military Intelligence Corps.

The conference's main feature was presentations by users explaining how they employed CGS to support Army elements (brigades, divisions, corps, and the Land Component Commander), Special Operations Forces, and the Marines, and to cross-level techniques for all units. Among the highlights were CGS Team Leaders from the 103d Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion, 3d Infantry Division (3ID), describing the key role they played on the combat march through Iraq. They stated that during the Division's 350-mile movement from Kuwait to Baghdad, CGS crews consistently provided commanders with timely information that was instrumental to the overall success of the Division's offensive operations.

There were also presentations by the 513th MI Brigade on its support to the Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and the 1st Marine Division. A U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) representative gave the conference attendees insights into the Marines' use of the CGS during ground combat and stabilization operations. A Team Leader from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) shared the experiences gained from CGS operations during both OIF and OEF. The Conference included additional presentations by the 104th MI Battalion, 4ID; the 102d MI Battalion, 2ID, in Korea; a III Corps Artillery team that was attached to a Special Operations unit; and the 319th MI Battalion, 525th MI Brigade, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The after-action comment provided by Staff Sergeant Adrian Flores from the 513th MI Brigade perhaps best reflected the significant impact that CGS crews made in Iraq--
 "No other collection asset provided the wide-area
 all-weather coverage of the battlespace
 that the [Joint] STARS did with the [moving target
 indicator] MTI radar. The CGS allowed us to
 interact in real time with the collection platform
 and to focus on our critical requirements and
 process the collection data into usable and actionable
 intelligence products. The soldiers who
 operated the system proved equally as critical in
 processing, interpreting, and translating operational
 requirements to the collection platform.
 Because they were close to the point of decision,
 these CGS operators shared the sense
 of urgency and "can-do" attitude. They worked
 aggressively to find ways to answer questions
 instead of deflect them. When other platforms
 failed or were unavailable, the CGS-JSTARS
 combination ensured that we were not blind on
 the battlefield."

The Army Group Deputy Commander at the Joint STARS Wing, Robbins Air Force Base (AFB), Georgia, provided insight into ongoing operations, lessons learned, and improvements to the Joint STARS aircraft. The Joint Program Office at Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, provided a dynamic briefing on current and future Joint and U.S. Air Force moving target indicator (MTI) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) initiatives. The Product Manager for CGS spoke about the life-cycle logistics support transition plan to Tobyhanna Army Depot, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), and a Product Support Integrator. He later described the Service-Based Architecture software initiative and provided a system interoperability demonstration. Finally, the TSM Office gave an overview on the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) and an update on MTI and SAR programs throughout the Department of Defense.

Another important portion of the Conference was the excellent sharing and cross-leveling of ideas and recommendations during work group sessions focused on seven specific topic areas. The concerns captured in these meetings will enable us to address and resolve issues to improve CGS use and support.

Overall, congratulations on a great job by all presenters, and a special "job well done" for the CGS crews deployed to OIF and OEF--they truly made a difference through effective employment of their systems. A conference compact disk (CD) with all the presentations was provided to conference attendees and is available to those units that were unable to participate. If units would like a copy for official use, please contact Lieutenant Colonel John Della-Giustina, Deputy TSM for Current Systems and Operations, or Mr. Bryan Wukits, Assistant TSM for CGS and DCGS-A via E-mail at or by calling (520) 533-7862/6201 or DSN 821-7862/6201.

Colonel Steve Bond is the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) System Manager (TSM) for Distributed Common Ground System-Army, Joint STARS, and Common Ground Station. Colonel Bond departs the TSM in July and Colonel James Harper will be his replacement. Readers can contact Colonel Harper at, mil and telephonically at (520) 533-3605/2480 or DSN 821-3605/2480. The Deputy TSM is Chris Friend. Readers can reach him at and telephonically at (520) 533-8937 or DSN 821-8937.
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Title Annotation:Surveillance Target Attack Radar System
Author:Bond, Stephen J.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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