Watching over the worlda formidable task. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) manages the information systems to meet this need. Currently, NIMA is in the process of replacing one of the most complex and critical Imagery Intelligence exploitation tools in its arsenalthe Imagery Data Exploitation System (IDEX) II. According to the the IDEX II Replacement Project (IRP) Concept of Operations (CONOPS), Version 1.1, dated November 24, 1999:
The purpose of NIMAs IDEX Replacement Project (IRP) is to replace the functionality of IDEX II with new Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS)-based United States Imagery and Geospatial Information Service (USIGS) components. The IRP is a system of systems comprised of new USIGS capabilities: Command Information Library (CIL), Integrated Exploitation Capability (IEC), Enhanced Analyst Client (EAC), and Imagery Access Service/Common Client (IAS/CC), and enhanced legacy systems: Imagery Exploitation Support System (IESS) and Dissemination Element (DE). These systems are designed to work together in providing imagery, imagery metadata and management information to the analyst and exploitation manager to support imagery analysis and production of imagery products. [The] IRP was mandated by Congressional direction to [NIMA to] migrate to COTS-based solutions and integration and eliminate the high per seat cost of maintaining the existing legacy IDEX II.
The success of this high priority/high visibility project depends on more than the successful integration of its independently developed component systems. It also depends on its successful integration into a number of sites around the worldU.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), and the National Air Intelligence Center (NAIC)each possessing diverse network and workstation infrastructures. Additionally, the IRP must be integrated into its users Concepts of Operations (CONOPS), which are as different as the USPACOM and USEUCOM Areas of Responsibility (AORs). How is NIMA effecting this worldwide integration and fielding effort?
During its long history of supporting NIMA and its predecessor organizations, MITRE has played a key role in the development of the USIGS architecture and its documentation suite. MITREs past performance, global presence, and unique customer-oriented role at the Commands made us the ideal candidate to assist in the IRP implementation at these Commands. So in 1998, NIMA funded MITRE engineers at the IDEX-equipped Commands to assist with site integration planning for the IEC. The IEC consists primarily of imagery servers, Imagery Analyst workstations, and software that can run on IEC or Commercial Analyst Workstations (CAWs). This task expanded to include support of the entire IRP integration effort.
MITREs early work consisted of documenting our customers IDEX-based imagery CONOPS, identifying network architectures, and determining site-unique requirements. USJFCOM analysts, for example, relied heavily on the IDEX Display Broker facility, which allowed analysts to download only the portion of an image currently displayed on their workstations. This was an important capability when dealing with images as large as 1 GB and a Sun SPARCStation 10 or 20 with 64 MB of memory and a switched 10 Mbps Ethernet connection. The information MITRE gathered was provided to the IEC contractor and supported the development of a Display Broker-like capability within IEC.
The Display Broker capability is a case in point where MITRE presence at the commands has helped identify differences in worldwide needs and architectures that have led to changes in IEC configurations delivered to the sites. For example, USJFCOM preferred to use the IEC Tiling service to access images, since it required less robust networking and workstations and less additional storage for raw imagery. USPACOM, on the other hand, preferred to use a file-based interface to the IRP, wherein the image is downloaded to a server before display, because its analysts are geographically dispersed and share a Wide Area Network (WAN) connection with other users.
Differences in the networks at each site have also led to customizations of IRP site integration plans. The IRP, whose components are interconnected with Fore Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switches, has to interface with each commands network and workstation infrastructure. The IRP will be essentially the same at each site but each sites overall configuration will be quite different. For example, USJFCOM has a Fore ATM network while USPACOM has Gigabit Ethernet. USEUCOM, on the other hand, has a Cisco Systems ATM network.
Subsequent to the requirements gathering phase, MITRE continued to participate in the IRP implementation, from design reviews and formal testing through installation and acceptance testing at USJFCOM.
MITRE site engineers informally shared information throughout the entire process. Beginning in late 1999 and early 2000, as the IRP began to come together in the NIMA Integration and Test Facility (ITF), information sharing became more intense. This was especially true among the USJFCOM, USPACOM, and USEUCOM engineers, whose commands were to receive the IRP in that order.
By the end of September 2000, the IRP had been installed and tested at USJFCOM and was at Full Operational Capability (FOC). The installation and test evolution at USJFCOM was another period of heavy information sharing among MITRE engineers, as many lessons were learned. Several of the most significant follow:
Site Infrastructure. The infrastructurenetwork, workstations, file severs and their software configurationsmust be stable and ready to support the load presented by the IRP.
Training. Comprehensive IRP training must be accomplished prior to the onset of formal testing.
Additionally, analysts must know how to use the Electronic Light Table (ELT) software supported by the IRP at their site. They must also understand the overall flow of imagery within the IRP in order to use it successfully.
On-site Coordination. Email accounts should be created for IRP staff on the sites Secret mail system to facilitate communication among IRP and site personnel located in different rooms or buildings and working on different shifts.
Concept of Operations (CONOPS). Imagery Analysts must begin to review their production CONOPS and make adjustments to accommodate the IRP before its installation. At USJFCOM this has been an iterative process that began before the installation of the IRP and has continued beyond IRP FOC. All phases of the imagery exploitation cycle, from collection requirements through product dissemination must be examined as part of this process.
Site Buy-in. Finally, managers at all levels must be briefed on the IRP and its installation, and buy into it.
For worldwide system implementation, MITRE uses all the tools available. One of the best tools is being there with knowledge of the needs and challenges and striving for as much sharing as possible.
For more information, please contact Al Galgano using the employee directory.
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