bandwidth. As a result, system use in
future Network Integration Evaluations
(NIEs) will feature the ability for lower
echelons to tailor and reduce the number of tools.
The operational test for Increment 1’s
second release was completed at NIE
15. 2 a year ago. That test showed the
DCGS-A to be “effective, suitable and
survivable,” Col. Collins offers, although
work remained to bring systems
together across the networks. In February, the Army began to field the second
release, with its fixes to the problems
unearthed in the first one.
Commercial capabilities play a significant role in Increment 1. These include
software from several large companies
specializing in mapping and search
engines. This software underpins many
of the system’s functions. The Army is
aiming for industry to play a bigger role
in Increment 2.
The second release of Increment
1 features mostly commercial off-
the-shelf products, both hardware
and software, the colonel notes. The
prime area that is not dominated by
commercial products involves doc-
trinal threat analysis for specific
Army segments or units. Those types
of software tend not to be offered
in the commercial marketplace, he
points out, although they might be
developed by industry under contract.
The Army already is working to team
better with industry on Increment
2, Col. Collins allows. “We’ve spent
about the last 16 months doing a fairly
comprehensive analysis of (A) what
we learned from previous test reports,
(B) what we learned from user feedback and (C) our independent market
research both within the program and
outside the project manager’s office,” he
says. An examination of how other programs implemented information technology and what users want is influencing the steps leading toward Increment
2, he adds.
The Army has conducted a number
of industry days and requests for information from industry, the colonel continues. More than 200 companies have
been involved in the process, with the
Army holding more than 80 one-on-one sessions with industry. “This has
defined our full and open competition
for Increment 2,” he declares.
Three specific improvements are targeted for Increment 2. One is the data
integration layer—specifically, how
the system ingests, indexes and makes
data accessible. The second is analytics.
The Army is seeking advanced analytic
engines that help users make sense of all
the data and improve the decision cycle.
The third is the visualization element,
or the window through which the intel-
ligence analyst views all the data.
Another advance will be to tap into
big data and the alignment of the Intelligence Community Information Technology Initiative (ICITE) and its cloud
initiatives. Increment 2 also should
allow scaling of the DCGS-A capability by echelon, so smaller units need
use only the subset of capability they
require. These assets will be vital for providing intelligence support to cyber and
for incorporating open-source data into
its intelligence product.
Col. Collins adds that industry and
Army market research agree that data
integration is the top priority. The
Army issued a request for proposals
(RFP) for Increment 2 in December,
and it is targeting a source selection
contract award for late third quarter of
fiscal year 2016.
Commercial hardware and software
require regular upgrades, which are
part of the RFP. The colonel emphasizes that the Army will ensure these
upgrades are consistent with interoperability requirements, and they will be
able to operate in the unique military
environment. For example, commercial products optimized for fiber and
Ethernet may be incompatible with a
network that often is disconnected, has
limited bandwidth and operates over
satellite with latency.
Above all, these commercial upgrades
must be cyber-hardened. Systems must
be prepared for traditional adversarial
scanning as well as actual attacks, Col.
Collins states. The aim of the system
is to provide situational understanding
under all conditions.
When Increment 2 appears, it will be
fielded at a rate of about 20 percent per
year, concurrent with Increment 1 use.
The colonel explains that Increment 1
will continue to be used until Increment
2 is ready to displace it. Meanwhile, any
hardware procured for Increment 1
must be “Increment 2 ready,” he states.
contact: Robert K. Ackerman,
A U.S. Army high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicle equipped with DCGS-A serves as a
mobile intelligence station. Improvements in the system’s most recent release extended its Top
Secret enclave down to the brigade level, opening its use to more combatants in the field.