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Imagery Exploitation Support System [IESS]

The Imagery Exploitation Support System [IESS] are host databases for imagery exploitation and reporting. IESS and IESS-Secret provide support for processing requirements, exploitation task management, target-to-image and requirements-to-image correlation.

The Imagery Exploitation Support System is the follow-on to the CATIS (Computer Aided Tactical Information System). IESS is a DEC Alpha-based system which provides automated support for the imagery exploitation cycle to include management of exploitation and reporting requirements, imagery selection and dissemination, production of IIRs (Imagery Interpretation Reports), packaging and distribution of IIRs within timelines consistent with mission requirements, database management and research capabilities. IESS is single or multi- hosted with shared database access; it monitors and validates input from external sources such as the Requirements Management System (RMS), the Communications Support Processor (CSP), and the Modernized Integrated Database (MIDB). Without the IESS developed interfaces, operational imagery exploitation centers would be unable to order and to exploit both hardcopy and softcopy products from collection systems.

The IESS provides automated near-real-time support to the imagery intelligence (IMINT) cycle at various Department of Defense (DoD) sites. The imagery intelligence cycle is the process by which imagery data is acquired, converted into finished intelligence, and made available to users and policy makers. In its basic form, the cycle comprises six steps, starting with an intelligence need from a user. The intelligence need is reviewed and validated by a requirements manager and, if approved, routed to a collection operations entity as a requirement. The collection process involves the actual tasking of a collection asset and processing/distribution of an intelligence product, in this case, unexploited imagery data. The imagery exploitation effort, sometimes referred to as the imagery exploitation cycle, is concerned with the conversion of the raw intelligence data -- the imagery -- into a more usable imagery-derived intelligence product, generally an Imagery Interpretation Report (IIR). The fusion/analysis process refers to the integration, evaluation, and analysis of all available intelligence (Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), etc.) and the production of finished intelligence products. The final step, dissemination, involves the distribution of the all-source finished intelligence to the user -- whose need triggered the cycle.

The IESS concerns itself with the operation and functions inherent in step four of the imagery intelligence cycle -- the satisfaction of imagery exploitation and reporting requirements, as stated above. The IESS supports this effort by providing user tools that allow on-line interactive access to information and data bases, and providing automated capabilities to the five major functions that comprise the imagery exploitation operation within a unit -- Exploitation Requirements Management, Dissemination Management, Exploitation Management, Data Base Management, and General Support.

  • The Exploitation Requirements Management function is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the currency and completeness of the requirements data base. It serves as a registry of all exploitation and reporting requirements data.
  • The Dissemination Management function is responsible for managing the imagery selection and dissemination process within the IESS. It maintains the capability to manage imagery dissemination parameters, determine imagery coverage and priorities, and monitor receipt of imagery.
  • The Exploitation Management function is responsible for the imagery exploitation and reporting process from initial tasking to final product distribution.
  • The Data Base Management function insures the accuracy and completeness of the IESS requirements, target, and support data. It maintains the capability to load data and update the data base from the major external input sources, to track and delete outdated or invalid records from the files, and to display, correct or purge system problem records.
  • General Support functions are responsible for providing the necessary system-level support functions which cross functional areas, to include system operations, on-line Help, data conversion, statistics and message archiving, and query functions.

To functionally satisfy mission requirements the IESS will need to interface with various external entities. Essentially, there are three kinds of data upon which the imagery exploitation function is dependent: requirements data, general military intelligence (GMI) data, and imagery data. The exploitation and reporting requirements, which trigger the imagery exploitation cycle, will normally be received via the Requirements Management System (RMS), or directly from requesters. GMI data depicting target descriptions and orders-of battle, furnishing the Imagery Analyst (IA) with a standard target reference, will be available from the Modernized Integrated Data Base (MIDB). The imagery source is a critical interface node in the operation and generally applies to the Defense Dissemination System (DDS). The final interface is with the digital exploitation systems, normally the Image Data Exploitation II (IDEX II) system.

The Communication Support Processor (CSP) gateway replaces the Autodin Gateway as the mechanism by which the IESS communicates with the Communication Support Processor High Order Language (CSP-HOL). Imagery Interpretation Reports written by Imagery analysts using IESS are transmitted worldwide using the interface. The CSP Gateway delivers significant performance and reliability improvements over its Autodin Gateway counterpart while eliminating the need for a separate communications controller. IESS is the first major intelligence system to interface to the CSP-HOL via the TCP/IP protocol.

An evolutionary program that began in 1976, IESS evolved from the Computer Aided Tactical Information System (CATIS) with IESS v1.0/1.1 which implemented major upgrades. IESS was a significant change from CATIS, with the addition of USSTRATCOM and JSIPS functionality and a new interface in RMS.

IESS will be transitioning to the USIGS Interoperability Profile (UIP) Geospatial and Imagery Access Server (GIAS) as they become defined. The support tool used in the objective CIGSS to manage national dissemination and exploitation and identify relevant historical data is the Imagery Exploitation Support System (IESS). This tool is not used in current Navy imagery systems afloat. A version of this application for JSIPS supports the management of tactical inputs (e.g., ASARS).

The Exploitation Support System (ESS) will be the community's common imagery exploitation support system. Both the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Exploitation System (NES) and IESS will migrate to ESS by the end of FY01. Agency Program: The DoD is in the process of establishing a simplified baseline of the best, common information systems across the business functions of the Department. These migration systems represent a stage of process improvement designed at achieving a common set of automated processes and practices in DoD.

Major System Upgrades

IESS is in the midst of several major/minor upgrades (IESS v1.0 -v4.0). Differences in the magnitude and complexity of the various releases dictate distinct training approaches. Installation of IESS v3.0 at NAIC was completed during October 1997 with 17 sites installed in March 1998 and an additional seven in April 1998.

    IESS Version 1.0/1.1 - early 1996
  • Interface with the Requirements Management System
  • USSTRATCOM functionality
  • JSIPS functionality (IESS v1.1)
  • SYBASE Operating System

    IESS Version 2.0 - May 1997

  • Enhanced Processing Segment
  • Extended Tether Program

    IESS Version 3 - April 1998

  • Incorporation of NAIC functionality
  • Enhanced Softcopy Exploitation Management requirements
  • Expanded Navy Afloat requirements

    IESS Version 3.1 - October 1998

  • Support a mixed IDEX II and SEM exploitation environment
  • Secondary Products Review and Validation

    IESS Version 3.2 - June 1999

  • Graphical Situation Display (GSD) Phase 2
  • SITA Enhancement

    IESS Version 4.1 - Installation TBD

  • Broad Area Search Tasking and Exploitation

On 02 May 1997 Rome Laboratory awarded a $18,423,129 contract to GTE Government Systems Corp., Information Operations Organization, Thousand Oaks, CA., to design, develop, integrate, test, install and demonstrate an enhanced IESS system for use within the national and multi-service Department of Defense community. Under terms of the 51-month contract, options could increase the value of the agreement to more than $43 million. On 30 September 1998 GTE Government Systems was awarded a $5,954,192 face value increase to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide for software and hardware to support one Imagery Exploitation Support System station. On 09 October 1998 the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate awarded a $5,788,529 increase to a contract with GTE Government Systems to provide computer software and hardware in support of the Imagery Exploitation Support System. The engineering change proposal was added under the direction of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA). The directorate's Information and Intelligence Exploitation Division will be serving as integrators of other systems under NIMA control, such as the Image Product Library (IPL) and the Requirements Management System (RMS). The Information Directorate will provide software and hardware and so will contractors for the IPL and RMS. The GTE system will be delivered to a site where it will be integrated with various other NIMA systems and tested. On 28 January 2000 the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate awarded a $9,526,106 option to a cost-plus-award-fee contract to General Dynamics Government Systems Corp., Thousand Oaks, CA. Under terms of the agreement, which expires 30 September 2000, the company will provide operation and maintenance support for the directorate's Imagery Exploitation Support System.


Current plans call for the IESS to be deployed to 25 operational sites plus approximately 25 Naval combatants/sites. In addition to these operational sites and Naval combatants, there are a number of IESS systems being used in support of research, development and testing at Rome Laboratory, E-Systems, DBA Systems, GTE, etc. On 01 June 1997, the Imagery Exploitation Support System was activated at the three operational Modernized Imagery Exploitation System (MIES) field sites. The integration of IESS and the MIES system is a major milestone in meeting the Common Imagery Ground/Surface System (CIGSS) migration goal.

  1. JITF Rome

  2. NMITC
  3. JWAC Dahlgren
  4. JAC RAF Molesworth, UK
  5. AIC Norfolk
  6. JICPAC Pearl Harbor
  11. USSPACECOM Peterson AFB

  12. NAIC Wright Patterson AFB
  13. 480 IG Langley AFB
  14. 9 IS Beale AFB
  15. 10 IS Langley AFB
  16. 315 TRS Goodfellow AFB
  17. 607 AIS (ASARS) Osan AB, ROK
  18. 607 AIS (National) Osan AB, ROK
  19. 609 AIS Shaw AFB
  20. 612 AIS Davis-Monthan AFB

  21. 297th MI BN - 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Gordon, GA
  22. 302d MI BN - European US Army Forces V Corps, Mainz-Finthen, Germany
  23. 319th MI BN - XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, NC

  24. 1st FIIU Okinawa
  25. 2nd FIIU Cherry Pt
  26. 3rd FIIU MCISU Camp Pendleton

  27. 7 ships afloat

Personnel assigned to IESS sites come from all Service branches and exhibit different types and levels of skills and perform a variety of duties. Currently, the majority of IESS users are Air Force personnel assigned to joint command intelligence organizations (JAC, JICPAC, etc.). The Marine Corps has a contingent of IESS users with the Marine Corps Intelligence Support Unit (MCISU) at Camp Pendleton and in the near future at three Tactical Exploitation Groups (TEG). The Navy has begun installing IESS units on-board seven ships with an additional 18 installations planned. With the fielding of Version 2.0, the Army incorporated IESS into three MIES locations with three ETRAC locations planned for the future.

The following breakout provides worldwide IESS personnel training requirements:

  • IAs/Managers (~1200): This includes the imagery analysts and managers who use the system to perform imagery exploitation and management functions for their units.
  • Operators (~100): This includes the computer systems operators/database administrators who perform the daily maintenance and update to the systems files and databases and maintain the system to its full operational capability.

Related Programs

Imagery Exploitative Support System (IESS) provides interfaces with RMS (as well as Image Exploitation and Defense Dissemination System) to ensure DoD sites have the ability to perform Imagery Collection Management and to receive exploitation requirements for processing production. The NIS interfaces with the IESS to request imagery from the NIC infrastructure and track requirements satisfaction through completion of the dissemination request.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:49:33 ZULU