Distributed Common Ground Systems (DCGS)

Distributed Common Ground Systems (DCGS) was the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) vision for the integrated architecture of all ground/surface systems. The DARO strategy was for DCGS to integrate the Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) ground/surface systems in the Common Imagery Ground/Surface System (CIGSS) architecture, and the Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) ground/surface systems are integrated in the Joint Airborne SIGINT Architecture (JASA), and then to combine the CIGSS and JASA architectures into DCGS. DCGS will be completed by the addition of IMINT, SIGINT, and MASINT specific functions and components to the common infrastructure.

Ground- and surface-based systems (GSS) have been developed to process, analyze, and disseminate the data generated by airborne and national collection sensors of imagery and signals. Currently, there are development programs for specialized Measurements and Signatures Intelligence (MASINT) ground or surface processing and analysis systems. These systems have been developed to satisfy the reconnaissance imagery collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination needs of individual services. The experience of Desert Storm showed that these systems need to become more versatile in order to provide the support that the Joint Task Force (JTF) Commander needs under unforeseen operational conditions.

The imagery GSS comprise a family of specialized, integrated, fixed, and deployable systems that have been and are being developed to satisfy the reconnaissance imagery collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination needs of individual Services. Each existing GSS operates on image data from specific sensors and was not originally developed to handle image data from the sensors of another GSS. A similar situation exists with GSS specialized for processing and analyzing signals. One GSS handles both imaging and signals data.

The DCGS Handbook provides insight into the overall objectives, responsibilities and purpose of the DCGS. Handbook efforts are currently vocused on version 1, with an intended audience of executive decision-makers. Once the CONOPS and Handbook v.1 are approved, version 2 focuses on programmatic issues.

The DCGS testbed's employment vision is to accomplish air-ground interoperability testing, support sensor development, evaluate CIGSS components, and support CIGSS architecture standards development. There are significant advantages to a mobile lab for sensor development, co-locating with contractors to develop ICD and risk reduction, co-locating with airframe contractors to verify sensor-to-ground station connectivity, and co-locating with government/contractors for final flight test ICD verification. The testbed has an expanding role in SIGINT and MASINT disciplines and the testbed's involvement in CIGSS level one and two certification programs.

The standing down of DARO and it's replacement organization, DASC4I, had a DCGS funding line in the FY '99 POM. NSA reassignd the DCGS effort from K4 section to PI (operations).

The Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Integration System Program Office used qualified contractors to support development and fielding of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) through the DCGS Integration and Activation Team (DIAT) process. The DIAT is the integration approach selected to implement AF DCGS and satisfy the requirements in the approved DCGS ORD and DCGS CONOPS while minimizing the impact to day-to-day operations of providing ISR and intelligence products to the warfighter.

The Distributed Common Ground System is a family of fixed and deployable multi-source ground processing systems that support a range of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems such as national and commercial satellite systems, U-2, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and F-16 Theater Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (TARS). The U-2 Management Directorate at Robins Air Logistics Center provides upgrade and sustainment of operational intelligence support systems to meet DCGS operational requirements for deployable ground stations (DGS).

The DGS Configuration can be thought of consisting of the following Major Components/Segments:

The Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar Processing Segment (APS)--part of it is housed with Mobility Stretch and part in the Mission Intelligence Shelters.

The Communications Segment (COS)--almost all of which is located in the COS shelters, but there are sub-components in Mobility Stretch Shelter. The COS antennas are located outside of the COS shelters.

The Deployable Ground Intercept Facility (DGIF)--almost all of which is located in the DGIF shelter complex, but there are sub-components in the MIS and MOBSTR shelter complexes.

The Ground Control Processor (GCP)--all of which is contained in the GCP shelter, but when co-located with DGIF some of the GCP operations are carried out on equipment shared with DGIF and vice versa.

The Mission Intelligence System (MIS)--which is primarily located in the six shelters making up the current MIS shelter complex, but also has sub components located in the COS shelter complex.

The Modulator Interoperable Surface Terminal (MIST)--which is generally located in the MOBSTR shelter, but some of its equipment, such as antenna and Radio Frequency (RF) equipment, is housed outside of the shelter.

The Mobile Stretch (MOBSTR)--which has APS, Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) Front End Processor (SFEP) equipment, COS, MIST, and DGIF components as well as its own components. The MOBSTR shelter complex has both an operational shelter and a maintenance shelter. MOBSTR also has external antennas and RF equipment over and above those, which are part of the MIST. The MOBSTR used with DGS-2 is referred to as MOBSTR-A and that used with DGS-1 as MOBSTR-B.

The Multi-Source Correlation System (MSCS)--which used to be configured as an individual segment but is now integrated into both DGIF and GCP.

The Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) Front End Processor (SFEP)--equipment which is made up of a MOBSTR SFEP and a MIS SFEP.

The Senior Span Segment (SSS)--which is generally located within its own SSS shelter, but it also has an antenna and RF equipment which are located external to the SSS shelter.

The above major components are designed to work together, in subgroups and, in some cases, alone or in conjunction with other interoperable systems. DGS is housed in deployable shelters with attached Environmental Control Units (ECU). DGS is designed with a dedicated power distribution system that can use either local commercial power or back-up diesel power. The total system, individual segments, combination of segments, and even portions of segments (along with supporting power subsystem elements and ECUs) can be reconfigured to meet differing needs for deployment.

Air Force DCGS presents significant challenges as it becomes a networked, worldwide, distributed ISR ground system. As existing systems are upgraded and migrated to a Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) based Open Architecture system of systems, new DCGS sites will be activated as the system grows over a Wide Area Network. All these integration activities must occur while day-to-day operations continue, requiring us to perform all the required activities to maintain a fully accredited system. To manage these challenges and reach DCGS Full Operational Capabilities, the DCGS Integration and Activation Team (DIAT) has been created.

The DCGS Integration Support Contract (DISC) contractor will provide on-site integration support at each of the 4 DCGS Core sites and on-call integration teams for Remote sites to work site integration, surveys, installation, configuration, accreditation, and install "Fact of Life" (FOL) software upgrades.

DCGS Core Sites

  • DGS-1 Langley AFB, VA
  • DGS-2 Beale AFB, CA
  • DGS-3 KCOIC Osan AB, Korea
  • DGS-4 Ramstein AB, GE

DCGS Remote sites

  • Shaw AFB, SC
  • Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
  • Reno ANG, NV
  • Hickam AFB, HI
  • Birmingham ANG, AL
  • Site 6 (classified)
  • Site 7 (classified)

Fielding of DCGS will be accomplished through the successful completion of a series of DCGS Migration Blocks. These blocks represent the planned fielding of new DCGS systems/capabilities and sites, and upgrades of existing functionality. No significant hardware or software development is envisioned for the DCGS Integration Support Contractor (DISC). The range of services will include (but not be limited to) system engineering, integration, planning, and maintaining an understanding of planned upgrades to Community ISR systems. A primary objective is to ensure current and future interoperability between AF DCGS and C2 systems.

The Combat Air Forces (CAF) Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) program has a requirement to implement a common workstation throughout the DCGS in the FY2004/2005 timeframe. To that end, ESC/SRG and AFMC-WR/LRE have established a Common Workstation Working Group that will refine the requirements, determine the set of standards and directives that apply, establish criteria and metrics for the evaluation of both hardware and software, and evaluate candidate solutions against the metrics and criteria. This working group is expected to complete its analysis and make its final recommendations to the acquisition agencies for DCGS by FY2002. Procurement activities for the DCGS common multi-INT workstation are anticipated to begin shortly after FY2002/2003 in order to meet the FY2004/2005 implementation timeframe.

The DCGS-A is a single integrated ISR ground processing system. The DCGS-A is the Army's primary system for tasking, processing, correlating, integrating, exploiting, and disseminating ISR assets and information. The DCGS-A enables the ground commander to achieve situation understanding by accessing multiple sources of data, information, and intelligence. Furthermore, the DCGS-A facilitates development of situational understanding by allowing the commander to visualize, analyze, and understand the threat and environment, predict threat intentions, execute targeting, conduct ISR integration, and support information operations. The DCGS-A will also serve as the primary ground station for Army airborne and ground sensor systems defined for the Objective Force (e.g., Aerial Common Sensor, Prophet, UAVs).

There will be three types of DCGS-As: fixed, mobile, and embedded. Fixed DCGS-As will be located in rear, sanctuary locations such as at a home station located in the U.S. or at a theater regional operations center. Mobile DCGS-As will be a single vehicle or multiple vehicles that will operate with forward deployed units. All mobile DCGS-A vehicles will be the same and will be deployed in numbers tailored to meet specific missions. The embedded DCGS will be a software capability hosted on Future Combat System (FCS) vehicles, Aerial Common Sensor aircraft, and other platforms. On FCS vehicles, the embedded DCGS-A will meet the FCS ISR requirements, which include the capability for the synchronization and control of organic sensors, sensor data fusion, corroboration, visualization, and access to the common operating picture (COP).

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