Defense

June 4, 2012

Initiative could help improve ISR operators’ processes

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by Patty Welsh
Hanscom AFB, Mass.

Capt. Tom Bilingsley (left) and Capt. Brendan Simison evaluate a prototype initiative during a demonstration in May. During the demonstration, the Electronic System Center was assessing the capabilities of the Deliberate and Dynamic ISR Management, or D2ISRM, initiative to improve command and control of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data. Bilingsley and Brendan are operators from the 102nd Air Operations Group, Otis ANGB, Mass.

The Electronic Systems Center Command and Control Constellation program recently held an operational demonstration in Bedford, Mass., to evaluate a new prototype capability to improve command and control of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data.

The prototyping initiative, called Deliberate and Dynamic ISR Management, or D2ISRM, allows for more direct machine-to-machine communication, reducing the amount of slow, manual work for warfighters. “Deliberate” refers to planned operations that fall within the usual daily Air Task Order or ATO cycle, whereas “Dynamic” refers to the retasking of ISR assets already in use.

“Currently, as the operators receive various ISR requests, they have many different decisions to make – which assets have the right tools for the job, which assets are available at the time they’re needed, and what is the best way to connect the dots on the map,” said Perry Villanueva, C2 Constellation program manager. “With D2ISRM, we’re trying to give them better tools to allow for some semi-automatic decision making that helps reduce stress and non-value-added work.”

During the demonstration, war fighters from the 102nd Air Operations Group at Otis ANGB, Mass., simulated an intelligence cell and put the new technology through its paces.

Results gathered at the event indicate the prototype not only made the work of Air and Space Operations Center ISR operators easier and more accurate, but also cut the total request cycle for ISR assets by an average of 85 percent. This dramatic reduction in processing time allows operators more time for essential decision-making.

During the evaluation, the ISR Operations chief said, “Using D2ISRM, I’m not focused on data entry but focused on evaluating collection plan and ad hoc options.”

One of the major components of the initiative is Perceptual Sensing and Information Displays, or PERSEID, which was developed by Charles River Analytics. PERSEID enables the simultaneous display of both deliberate and dynamic data and enhances command and control of ISR assets through decision-support algorithms. PERSEID was initially developed under the DoD Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, sponsored by the Robust Decision Making Strategic Technology Team at Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

The C2 Constellation program helped its further development by funding some work to mature and integrate PERSEID into the D2ISRM capability. This year’s goal for the D2ISRM capability is to be potentially transitioned into one of the AOC Weapon System 10.2 program’s limited early install sprints.

Villanueva described the way an operator might benefit by using PERSEID.

“Currently, an operator plans out perhaps 10 different scenarios incorporating various data, such as effective route planning, weather, if there are hostiles in a certain area, airspace restrictions and more,” he said. “From those 10 options, he or she narrows it down to a subset to decide from. With PERSEID, we want the operator to be able to skip the part with the 10 options and be able to have it whittled down to the few best.”

He added that having that capability will allow for faster, more informed decision-making and reduce stress and the anxiety level for the war fighters in the intelligence community who do this work day-to-day. The amount of time saved ensures the operators have time to do more critical thinking and analysis.

The PERSEID tool can also provide a real-time ISR synch matrix, which displays the various ISR assets and their usability status as a function of time.

“It allows the war fighter additional aides to help him decide how to best deploy and use those assets,” Villanueva said.

D2ISRM has other benefits as well. One is that it uses an open architecture, allowing for easier communication from center to center, such as an AOC and a remotely piloted vehicle Squadron Operations Center.

During Empire Challenge ’10 and other previous demonstrations where ISR capabilities were displayed, gaps in this area were identified for improvement, thus leading to D2ISRM.

This effort helps fulfill the mission of the Command and Control Constellation program. C2C is the sole Air Force program for defining, developing and assessing integration of global, theater and tactical level Air Force air, space and cyber command and control capabilities in support of the joint warfighter. Through funding and management of targeted prototyping and experimentation, C2C integrates rapidly developing technologies. In the course of this work it promotes forward-looking architecture, common standards, data sharing and information services across Air Force and joint warfighting applications.




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