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Electronic initiative gets critical information to commanders

by Staff Sgt. Amanda Mills
Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment ’06 Public Affairs

3/9/2006 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- An initiative designed to electronically transmit intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to commanders is currently being tested here at Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006.

With non-traditional ISR services, information will flow directly from aircraft to the Air and Space Operations Center and forward-deployed locations, said Maj. Simon Corley, NTISR initiative lead.

NTISR will fill current ISR gaps with tactical forward sensor information via an Internet Protocol-enabled network from aircraft equipped with targeting pods. These aircraft will have the ability to pass imagery data through the network as well as Link-16, the data network that allows airborne planes to exchange accurate, reliable information in real time.

"With NTISR, when a pilot flies a mission and notes suspicious activity, that pilot can instantly send the visual information back to the AOC for assessment, who in turn can relay information back to the airborne controller or pilot for action," Major Corley said.

NTISR will essentially allow warfighters to provide imagery information to the AOC so combat operations can make immediate targeting decisions, he said.

As a JEFX continuous air planning and dynamic execution focus area, NTISR information services will also deliver to decision-makers Infrastructure Operations Tools Access, or IOTA, said Vincent Bosch, an NTISR support contractor. A major objective of net-centric operations is to shorten the find, fix, track, target, engage and assess process.

Currently, decision makers and combat operators, for example, must search databases for the specific ISR information they need to analyze, Major Corley said. The goal is to have this tactical sensor data delivered to consumers without them having to search for it.

"Now, when information comes into the (air and space operations center), IOTA automatically publishes it to applications that need it," Mr. Bosch said. "This software routes information to the right people via a machine-to-machine process."

"For example, if you belong to an internet service, and you're interested in, say fighter aircraft, you can ask the service to send articles and links about fighter aircraft directly to you," the major said. "Here, teams in the AOC can request specific requirements and IOTA sends it to them. It saves time in searching. Additionally, that information is archived for other customers to access."

JEFX is an Air Force chief of staff-directed series of experiments that combines live, virtual and constructive air, space, naval and ground force simulations, and technology insertion into a near-seamless joint and coalition warfighting environment.

The Combined AOC is the experiment’s environment, designed to execute the air and space component of a war, combining operators and systems from different air assets and coalition forces to make one integrated system. The goals of this experiment are to better integrate CAOC processes, expand the use of data links and extend networks to link the operational and tactical levels of execution

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