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CHIPS Articles: Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration

Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration
A unique environment of virtual reality, sophisticated technology and real warfighter conditions
By Sharon Anderson - January-March 2010
It's not Afghanistan, but it will simulate the austere, remote and hostile conditions of being there. I'm talking about CWID — Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration — where information technologies are assessed against simulated operational scenarios.

For 2009-2010, CWID is using an Afghanistan backdrop for combined operations. U.S. homeland security/defense scenarios will integrate virtual natural disasters, health pandemics and terrorist threats. CWID supports Department of Defense homeland defense and security acquisition decisions within a venue that provides significant savings to the government.

CWID's 18-month cycle begins with a Federal Business Opportunity posted on www.fbo.gov that asks industry to provide near-term technology solutions, also known as interoperability trials (ITs), designed to improve information sharing for both military and emergency first-responder operations.

CWID focuses on assessing new technologies and upgrades to existing versions of command and control (C2); communications systems; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems. CWID 2010 will execute in June.

The complexity of staging and executing approximately 40 ITs across multiple U.S. and international sites, with more than 1,500 participants and 20 participating nations, is immense and requires vigorous C2 and exhaustive planning, according to Dennis Warne, CWID site manager for Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren.

"We are coordinating command andcontrol over the Pacific and Atlantic, across Europe, Lillehammer, Norway, in Germany, in Italy. We run the trials during the day, but think of what time it is in Italy and Europe," Warne said. "No other virtual or real-world environment can duplicate the unique characteristics of the CWID infrastructure."

CWID is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed annual technology discovery and risk reduction event which identifies information-sharing solutions for operational problems. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) manages CWID's day-to-day operations using the CFBLNet, or Combined Federated Battle Laboratories Network, which will span 15 time zones, from New Zealand to the United States, and across Europe.

CWID encompasses an environment of virtual reality, sophisticated technology and real-world conditions that video game fans would love to enter. But there is nothing playful about CWID. To participate, proposed technologies must fill warfighting gaps and be interoperable, not only with joint partners, but with NATO partners, and at another level, with nongovernmental organizations to coordinate disaster relief responses and humanitarian aid.

CWID's Unique Environment Adds Complexity and Realism to Testing Warfighter Solutions

"This is a difficult battlefield. Coalitions are complex: different languages, different cultures; coalitions are ad hoc by nature. Sometimes there are different standing agreements with NATO countries," said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Bruce Downs, CWID's coalition forces land component commander and role player.

"We are also looking for opportunities to integrate information, collaborate and share information on the battlefield. This is a rare opportunity. This is the only place I know of where you can have a multidomain trial and where you have classified and unclassified networks, and you are sharing information between those in the backdrop of something that is meaningful to a warrior," Downs said.

Technology plays a major role in CWID, where participants explore the "art-of-the possible," according to Downs.

"We get ideas about how to apply technology, to try to stretch it to meet our needs for interoperability and allow us to have an advantage on the battlefield," Downs explained. "All of these coalition countries have come with their own solutions independently. Some of them are very technical; some of them are manual. We take and use all of that information together to make good, effective decisions in those scenarios. There is everything from what we call kinetic warfare [which is] dropping bombs and shooting bullets and maneuvering on the battlefield, to running convoys with relief supplies, to humanitarian relief, to ship-to-shore movements."

There are so many fascinating technologies that will be explored in June, but I'll just highlight a few. CHIPS spoke with several CWID participants during the CWID Initial Planning Conference, which took place Nov. 16-20, 2009, in Williamsburg, Va., where more than 200 military, government and industry experts from around the world discussed their proposed ITs for CWID participation. While neither the Navy nor Defense Department endorses the commercial products used in the ITs; testing these products is the only way to determine warfighter utility.

IT001 – Service-oriented Infrastructure for Maritime Traffic Tracking (SMART)

The Italian-led Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center (V-RMTC) is a virtual network environment connecting the operational centers of participating navies to unclassified information on merchant shipping vessels to enhance maritime situational awareness (MSA).

In CWID 2010, Service-oriented Infrastructure for Maritime Traffic Tracking will undergo interoperability testing with system partners: Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and United States. SMART represents the next-generation development of V-RMTC, according to Italian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sergio Ciannamea.

But other frameworks can be easily exploited through this technology, for example, the Italian interagencies and for the European Union's new experiments, such as the demonstration for the Maritime Surveillance (EU MARSUR) network scheduled for the end of 2010, said Ciannamea. “SOA-based technology is still in its formative stages. It will be taking over where V-RMTC has left off in providing the next spiral evolutionary step for the Italian Navy MSA technology systems, built upon the standards, strategies and capabilities of V-RMTC, to build and deploy MDA capabilities.

"Data are delivered according to specific formats (XML; MERSIT, developed by the Italian Navy; OTH-T-Gold; etc.) and gathered by a hub located at Italian Navy Fleet Headquarters (HQ CINCNAV),” Ciannamea said.

"More than 300 gross-ton (and passenger) ships are obliged to have the Automatic Identification System (AIS) for vessel identification, tracking, collision avoidance and coastal surveillance. But AIS is not tamper-proof," Ciannamea said, "bad guys can alter information within AIS, so it is not always a reliable source of information for identifying vessels of interest that's why MSA is so important. And it is not only the AIS-fitted vessels that are interesting in our MSA perspective."

Another boost to MSA is the Trans-Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN) project which is the addition of more partners within the three V-RMTC enclaves, already including 29 countries. The next expansion of the partnership, will include Persian Gulf countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

IT002 – Inter Domain Services Manager (IDSM)

IDSM is a service oriented architecture (SOA) middleware application that provides integration and interoperational services for disparate data sources. Access to the integrated data is tailored for the user and can be accessed via: Web services, portals, thin or fat clients, or software as a service using a JBoss J2EE environment.

The system can rapidly take external data sources, such as systems, databases, streams, repositories and Web sites, and combine them under a mediated metadata layer that allows data mining, manual and automated analysis, and various visualization capabilities in a single application, explained William Sadler of Organizational Strategies, Inc.

The most innovative aspect of IDSM technology is in its ability to fuse and allow discovery of information at different classification levels — all within a unified security model. Users can view data, as well as photographs and video.

"We absolutely mediate all the traffic communication between one classification level and the other, and we have extensive workflow and document management capabilities built into the system. When somebody in a Top Secret enclave would build a Word document or a video out of pieces of unclassified, Secret or Confidential data that entire document would be classified as Top Secret.

"In our system, we maintain the metadata tags around traceable storage for each one of those information chunks. If that structure is not modified at the highest level, we can maintain that security traceability back to its original source," Sadler said.

"The person who is sending the document just has to push send. He doesn't need to worry about the declass situation. The workflow management system, however, looking at the tags on the data, will then alert the person with authority to declass and give him two choices: either declass the data, and here is the stuff that needs to be declassed to go down to this level, or the system can automatically redact the document. Then when the data is sent, it is missing the information that is not appropriate for a lower classification," Sadler said.

The IDSM framework provides XML-based interaction with IDSM clients, validation of client-supplied messages, IDSM data store access, and the management of process flow through the system, including identification and service processing logic.

Surprisingly, IDSM is built on open source code, open standards and Alfresco products for document management and workflow. Sadler said the security technology and its cross-domain solution are the most advanced concepts of the system.

IDSM aggregates intelligence from disparate sources and processes the data into a usable format for the commander at all levels of authority. IDSM is primarily used for operations, but it can be used down to the tactical level, and at all levels, its aim is to improve situational awareness and enhance decision-making. IDSM's robust capabilities can be pushed down to personal digital assistants for convoy security and improvised explosive device (IED) detection.

Testing will require IDSM to interoperate with the Global Command and Control System, Theater Ballistic Missile Control System, Joint Mission Planning System, Joint Automated Deep Operations Coordination System, and more.

IT031 – Joint Asset Management Integrated Support System – Automated Armory (JAMISS-AA)

JAMISS-AA is a Web-based asset tracking and maintenance management system that uses government off-the-shelf technology for total life cycle management. JAMISS-AA was designed for bandwidth-challenged or disconnected environments, and it adheres to all DoD information assurance policies and guidelines.

JAMISS-AA leverages existing technology, according to Michael Daugherty, a special missions task manager for the JAMISS project, with the expeditionary electronic warfare system division. Daugherty, who is also an employee with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., explained the business rules for JAMISS.

Assets are tagged and tracked through IUID or radio frequency identification (RFID). IUID, or Item Unique Identification, is an asset identification system instituted by the Defense Department to uniquely identify a discrete tangible item or asset.

Tangible items are distinguished from one another by the assignment of a unique identifier in the form of a unique data string and encoded in a bar code placed on the item. An item unique identifier is only assigned to a single item and is never reused. Once assigned to an item, the IUID is never changed even if the item is modified or reengineered. IUID tagging is similar to Social Security numbering.

The JAMISS-AA system is Navy-developed but Marine-owned. The U.S. Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) program sponsored JAMISS development to track maintenance actions, vehicle usage, configuration and location, and provide global visibility of the information. The system supports operational, strategic and tactical level operations, missions and planning. Users include at point of action (point of maintenance or inventory control point level) up to program management.

"JAMISS-AA will leverage a CWID trial cross-domain solution to show interoperability with NATO partners," Daugherty said. "Since its exposure in CWID, the Navy, Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security have expressed an interest in the system. There are multiple armories spread across various agencies, and the services could leverage off JAMISS capabilities.

"Currently, tracking weapons via stubby pencils and spreadsheets is prone to data error. A 3 can be mistaken for an 8, and it can take hours, sometimes days to track down a weapon. When the Marines implemented JAMISS-AA utilizing IUID, the data quality and accuracy went from about 80 percent to nearly 100 percent," Daugherty said.

CWID will provide the environment to demonstrate the ability of JAMISS-AA to exchange IUID and asset information between the Marine Corps and NATO, and it will also provide the Marines with a warfighter utility assessment.

"JAMISS is adaptable to different communities of interest where asset accountability, accuracy, tracking, [and] configuration management, are essential to total life cycle management," said James Hamric, a contractor supporting JAMISS.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific

SPAWAR and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) in San Diego, Calif., have been involved with JWID and CWID since its inception. Acquisition successes began with the demonstration, evaluation and, ultimately, the transition of Radiant Mercury to the military community. The SPAWAR team focuses on technologies that fulfill requirements in two primary areas: maritime domain awareness and coalition interoperability.

The team functions as the Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC), and coalition staff members have included representatives from Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Italy and Australia. In 2010, an officer from Finland will join the team. The SPAWAR team also supports homeland security initiatives in the San Diego area by involving local stakeholders in the development of the homeland security scenario, evaluation of various technologies, and the development of procedures that will be effective during a wildfire or other domestic disaster in the Southern California area.

Some of the homeland security organizations with which the SPAWAR team has developed ongoing relationships include the City of San Diego, San Diego Police Department, San Diego State University, the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, U.S. Coast Guard, and the California Army and Air National Guard.

Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division

CWID 2010 marks the 11th year that NSWC Dahlgren, a secondary Navy site, has hosted CWID trials. Dahlgren is the primary site for Marine Corps and Army demonstrations. SSC Pacific is CWID's primary Navy site.

"We are the site for the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Guard and Air National Guard demonstrations too," Warne said. "We are a multifaceted site. Last year we had nine separate operational centers, extremely high multidomain."

NSWC Dahlgren will also be working with the Maryland Emergency Operations Centers concurrently within CWID 2010, according to Warne. About 300 personnel support the NSWC Dahlgren site during CWID execution, a combination of military, government and contractor teams.

Keith Meyers, chair for CWID's systems engineering and integration working group, tracks the high-tech infrastructure that is needed to support CWID's unique requirements, such as the Global Command and Control System and Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.

CWID's Rich History

Over the past 16 years, CWID has grown from a U.S. Army initiative to a global event to discover new and emerging technologies and to test and evaluate them for warfighter utility.

CWID 2007 was the first year a concerted effort was made to involve programs of record which resulted in several interoperability trials to be more rapidly fielded by emergency responders and warfighters.

During CWID 2008, several technologies were close to implementation and another, Radio Inter-Operability System (RIOS) Incident Site Communications Capability (RISCC), was used in the U.S. Open 2007 and Kentucky Derby 2008.

In 2009, the U.S. Joint Forces commander directed U.S. CWID to use Afghanistan as the operational backdrop for the simulated, operational scenario providing richer context to the demonstration and more meaningful capability assessments. U.S. homeland security/defense scenarios increased interaction with worldwide organizations to improve interoperability.

CWID continues to develop and triumph over challenges presented throughout the years, and the team looks forward to a bright future in assisting warfighters and first responders with solutions to their difficult missions. Participating in CWID is both exciting and exhausting as demonstrators strive to provide warfighters with what they need to dominate the battlespace and interoperate with mission partners.

Sharon Anderson is the CHIPS senior editor. She may be reached at chips@navy.mil. For more information about CWID, go to the CWID Web site at www.cwid.js.mil.

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MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. Nov. 17, 2009 -- A light armored vehicle with Company E, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, fires its 25 mm Bushmaster chain gun during table one of qualifications at the Combat Center’s Range 109. The chain gun is the main weapon used by the company. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. M.C. Nerl.
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. Nov. 17, 2009 -- A light armored vehicle with Company E, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, fires its 25 mm Bushmaster chain gun during table one of qualifications at the Combat Center’s Range 109. The chain gun is the main weapon used by the company. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. M.C. Nerl.

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