UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Global Broadcast Service

The Global Broadcast Service capitalizes on the popular commercial direct broadcast satellite technology to provide critical information to the nation's warfighters. The GBS system is a space based, high data rate communications link for the asymmetric flow of information from the United States or rear echelon locations to deployed forces.

The broadcast is conducted under the auspices of the GBS Program Office and is implemented by the NRO Operational Support Office (OSO) and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). In 1996, NRO and DoD rapidly integrated key commercial technologies to deploy the first operational use of the GBS in the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and called it the Joint Broadcast System (JBS), which is the GBS European counterpart.

The GBS system will "push" a high volume of intelligence, weather and other information to widely dispersed, low cost receive terminals, similar to the set-top-box used with commercial DBS. The system will include a capability for the users to request or "pull" specific pieces of information. These requests will be processed by an information management center where each will be prioritized, the desired information requested and then scheduled for transmission.

GBS will be a system of information sources, uplink sites, broadcast satellites, receiver terminals, as well as management processes for requesting and coordinating the distribution of information products. Each GBS satellite in a global constellation will be served by a primary uplink site where information products are assembled and transmitted up to a high-powered satellite for relay to forces over a large geographic area. GBS will also have the capability to inject products directly from the theater it serves. The receive terminals for information can be large, but what makes GBS so attractive is the ability to provide high-volume data directly into 18-inch antennas. Mobile force elements are no longer restricted by the requirement for large, fixed antennas to receive information formerly relegated only to command centers. Since GBS enables the storage, retrieval and dissemination of huge information files that would quickly exceed the capability of most mobile users, the tailoring of the "push and pull" dissemination architecture for GBS is a significant challenge. Importantly, the GBS broadcast, capable of multiple levels of security, will be one-way; it will only distribute information. Requests for information (user "pull") will be made via other communications means. This request process will not supplant any existing collection management process.

GBS is an extension of the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) and a part of the overall DoD MILSATCOM Architecture. As such, it will employ an open architecture which can accept a variety of input formats. It will exploit commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. It will interface with, and augment other major DoD information systems, such as the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), as well as other theater information management systems. Eventually, GBS may supplant some theater information management systems.

The GBS system consists of broadcast management, space, and terminal segments. The broadcast management segment, integrates, encrypts and packages multi-media information and provides a bit stream to the Primary Injection Points (PIP) for Radio Frequency (RF) transmission to the satellite. The user receive terminal, consisting of a small satellite antenna, low noise block and receiver, will receive and convert the RF downlink signal into a bit stream for receive broadcast management decryption and distribution to end users.

The Global Broadcast Service was designated as a joint program on 27 March 1996, by direction of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology (USD(A&T)). A number of decisions were embedded in the formal program designation and have also been approved by the Congress. These include the current phased approach for providing satellite broadcast payload assets over time.

A major decision was made to place a limited capability GBS payload onboard the last three UHF Follow-On (UFO) spacecraft (UFO 8, 9, and 10). The major performance features of the UFO GBS payload were briefed to and endorsed by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) and the Expanded Defense Resources Board (EDRB).

Due to the decision regarding the UHF Follow-On spacecraft GBS capability, the space segment assets will have at least three distinct phases of fielded capability. The three phases are described below:

Phase 1 (FY96 - FY98): Limited leased commercial satellite services operating at Ku-band for concept of operations development, demonstrations, and limited operational support.

Phase 2 (FY98 - FY06+): Payload packages hosted on UHF Follow-On satellites 8, 9, and 10 with the downlink broadcast operating at 20.2-21.2 GHz (Ka-band). As only three UHF Follow-On satellites will be equipped with the GBS Ka-band payloads, the continued lease of commercial satellite services at Ku-band will be required to augment UFO GBS where coverage gaps exist and may be required to complement the UFO GBS limited number and size of downlink beams.

Phase 3 (FY06+): The objective GBS on-orbit capability will provide increased capacity, worldwide coverage, and the capability to broadcast near continuous or time critical information to broadly dispersed users. The specific solution for the GBS long-term capability will be developed in accordance with the DOD MILSATCOM Architecture as maintained by the DOD Space Architect.

The Draft RFP (DRFP#2) for the GBS Joint Program Office's Phase II System Contract is an expression of interest only and does not commit the Government to pay for any response preparation cost. The DRFP was released to solicit feedback on the Government's approach to this acquisition, not specific proposed solutions. The Government is neither negotiating nor calling for offers during the DRFP process.

  • 04 FEB Released draft RFP #1
  • 14 FEB COB Comments Submitted on Draft RFP
  • 10 MAR Released Draft RFP #2
  • 17 MAR Comments received on Draft RFP #2
  • 17 MAR Bidder's Library opened
  • 30 APR Release Draft RFP #3
  • 09 MAY Release RFP (NET)
  • 10 JUN Proposals due (NET)
  • SEP Contract Award (NET)

The following companies responded to the GBS Phase II System Contract Sources Sought CBD Announcement:

  • Boeing
  • EDS
  • Hughes
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Raytheon E-Systems
  • TRW

The GBS Joint Program is part of the MILSATCOM Joint Program Office (MJPO) and located at Los Angeles Air Force Base. The program draws on the vast expertise of military and civilian technical support personnel of existing EHF, SHF and UHF satellite programs. The MJPO provides the resources to administer a distributed management team with a wide range of available facilities and in-place equipment such as video teleconferencing centers and the MILSATCOM network. This Internet World Wide Web home-page is available for open transfer of information, paperless procurements, and for coordinating all the GBS development efforts within DoD. Resources are readily available to communicate with DoD and other national organizations over secure video teleconferencing centers and their data network.

The GBS Joint Program Director reports directly to the Program Director, MJPO . The organization consists of three divisions: System Engineering & Integration, Information & Broadcast Management, and Terminal Procurement Segment. Each division chief is empowered to coordinate all DoD activities relating to GBS.

The Terminal Procurement efforts are managed by the Army Project Manager, MILSATCOM in coordination with the Air Force Electronic Systems Command and the Navy PMW 176 for the efficient procurement and inter-operability of GBS terminals for DoD.

The Information & Broadcast Management Segment provides the critical interface between the users and various information providers. This effort, managed by the Air Force Electronic Systems Command, must coordinate and focus the information management and the data injection systems being developed by The Advanced Research Programs Agency (ARPA), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and other DoD agencies. An additional objective is to incorporate the lessons learned from the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) as well as other demonstrations and exercises with ARPA's Battle Awareness and Data Dissemination (BADD) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) and DISA's work on the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN).

The Systems Engineering & Integration Office is responsible for the seamless integration of the various elements of the GBS system. The office is responsible for the technical and cost trade analysis in identifying the most cost effective solution. This office is also developing the initial strategies for procuring the space, terminal and information management segments. In addition, the office supports the development and definition of the GBS requirements. This support includes assisting the Army's effort in developing the Joint Operational Requirement Document (JORD) and USSPACECOM's effort to developing the Concept of Operations (CONOPS).

These are the most recent test results from the DOT&E:

Broadcast software and overall system performance: the most recent testing indicates that product reception rates were 96 percent for unclassified data, 93 percent for classified data, and 100 percent for video products - both classified and unclassified. Spot beam control was successful for 100 percent of the requested moves within an average of six minutes. Some problems still exist with dynamic tuning and the loss of permanent virtual circuits with cryptography equipment. In addition, dynamic bandwidth allocation will not be possible until implementation of the IP architecture. Overall, reliability, availability, and maintainability are good.

Navy Receive Suites: the Navy 2002 OA determined that the SRS and SSRS are potentially effective and suitable. Product reception rates for the SRS were 77 percent for unclassified products and 82 percent for classified products, below the ORD threshold of 90 percent. Results from the Navy OT during August - September 2003 are still pending. Antenna blockage due to superstructure and other antennas is a Navy-unique problem. When a ship holds a course for a lengthy period such as during flight operations, this could pose a serious operational problem.

Theater Injection Point: TIP test results are fair, with an overall product reception rate of 44 percent for unclassified data and 28 percent for classified data. Generally, testing went well with the Ku-band broadcast, but significant problems occurred during the Ka-band broadcast. Hardware issues persist and there is no trained crew capable of operating the TIP without extensive support from a Raytheon contractor. Due to these deficiencies, the Joint Forces Command stated the TIP should not be deployed until corrective actions are implemented. Receive sites also lack adequate operating procedures with respect to reception of the TIP broadcast.

Other Considerations: AFOTEC found that the GBS system is in good condition with respect to interoperability and information assurance, but identified the following concerns of particular note:

    . Slow connectivity and large data products. The GBS system delivers data to the Receive Suites at a rate of up to 23.5 megabits per second. In forward locations, the local area tactical networks are not always capable of disseminating this information rapidly enough to the end users.

    . Beam Movements. Current operational security procedures call for three different beam movements to support a single submarine reception - two fictitious locations and one true location, so as not to compromise submarine locations. Since GBS operations support multiple submarines in theater and there is up to ten-minute programming delay in conjunction with each beam move, this could eventually result in a significant loss in broadcast time.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:46:41 ZULU