ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 17, 2012) -- When the
Army unleashed its goal to fuse real-time intelligence with
combat operational data, it had one overall objective: to
ensure the commander possessed a comprehensive picture of
Termed Prototype-Operations/Intelligence Convergence, or
P-OIC, or OPS/Intel convergence, this initiative has
achieved significant advances in recent months.
"Combining data from the operational environment with
the data from the intelligence community provides the
commander with increased situational awareness to plan and
adjust the mission," said Maj. Ryan Howell, Assistant
Program Manager, Project Manager Mission Command, or PM MC,
Command Post Computing Environment, known as CP CE, under
Program Executive Office Command Control
Communications-Tactical, or PEO-C3T.
The first phase of OPS/Intel convergence has come to
fruition via the combined efforts of PM MC and PM
Distributed Common Ground System-Army, or DCGS-A. PM
MC's suite of products provides a collaborative
computing environment for real-time shared situational
understanding. DCGS-A, assigned to the Program Executive
Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors,
known as PEO IEW&S, is the Army's primary system for
processing and disseminating collection elements of
reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence
The key software product for OPS/Intel is DISA's Ozone
widget framework, which is a government-owned product that
enables rapid third-party application or "apps"
development to produce web-based capabilities for Soldiers
"This common framework is crucial to OPS/Intel
convergence," Howell said. "It provides the
commanders with a complete Common Operating Picture, or
COP, viewable through apps that provide three-dimensional
views for operational and intelligence awareness for ground
and air reporting, field artillery commands, logistics,
alerts and incident reporting."
To view these apps, users employ Command Web, the
web-enabled environment that provides COP data and
collaborative tools for those who do not possess thick
client (full-featured computer) hardware capabilities.
Developers can create the apps on the common framework,
similar to how apps are developed on smartphones.
OPS/Intel was demonstrated by Soldiers at the recent
Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 12.2 held at White
Sands Missile Range, N.M. The NIEs are semi-annual field
exercises designed to rapidly integrate and mature the
Army's tactical communications network.
Howell's team also provided a successful demonstration
of OPS/Intel to U.S. Army staff at the Pentagon, which in
addition to showing how the common framework could run
apps, illustrated potential cost savings for the Army.
"We also demonstrated that not only can we put Mission
Command applications on both Mission Command and DSGS-A
hardware, we can put Mission Command and DSGS-A virtual
machines on third-party PEO-provided hardware," said
Howell. "In other words, when a unit receives the new
Command Post COE software, the operators can reuse
equipment already provided regardless of which organization
originally purchased that equipment."
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, G8 Director of Force Development;
Col. Anthony Williams, G8 Force Development Integration;
Col. Robert Carpenter, director, Mission Command ASA(ALT);
along with representatives from the Army Geospatial Center,
PM DCGS-A, G2, G3/5/7 and G8, comprised the Pentagon
"I'm so far favorably impressed," said
Williams. "This is the right path forward, and an
Ozone widget-type framework is where we want to take our
efforts with COE and CP CE."
Williams was referring to the Army's Common Operating
Environment, or COE, which is an approved set of computing
technologies and standards that enable secure and
interoperable applications to be developed rapidly across
several defined computing environments. Williams said he
understood the challenges of working across multiple PM
shops to develop sophisticated technology and was impressed
with the progress on the initiative and demonstrated
PM MC and DSGS-A's continues to enhance the OPS/Intel
"We are nearly ready to run a complete scenario that
incorporates mission receipt, hasty mission analysis,
orders distribution, mission execution and reaction to
activities incorporating new Intel during mission execution
to the extent the current available widgets allow,"
Howell said the future evolution of command post systems
will mature into primary service being delivered by Ozone
applications, across operations, intelligence, airspace
management, fires, sustainment and others, with minimal
robust stand-alone systems to support disconnected,
intermittent and latent requirements.
"This feature will provide users with enhanced
situational awareness because they will be able to
seamlessly operate the apps should a network outage
occur," said Howell.
Col. Jonas Vogelhut, Program Manager for PM MC, is pleased
with the OPS/Intel initiative's progress to date.
"Ultimately, the convergence of operations and
intelligence capabilities into a common visualization will
enable better decision making for commanders, leading to
enhanced mission command," he said.