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CHIPS Articles: Army Undersecretary sees strength of DCGS-A intelligence capabilities firsthand

Army Undersecretary sees strength of DCGS-A intelligence capabilities firsthand
By Staff Sgt. Alexandria Kyasky - August 20, 2018
FORT HOOD, Texas -- The Undersecretary of the Army visited the operational test of the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, or DCGS-A, system at the Central Technical Support Facility at Fort Hood Aug. 14.

Ryan D. McCarthy made the DCGS-A test site his first visit of the day before heading to the post's Education Center to announce that Fort Hood is conducting a limited user test for Soldiers to earn civilian professional credentials and certifications.

DCGS-A is a family of systems that provides the Army with advanced analytics to support targeting, information collection, and situational understanding to commanders.

It processes, exploits, and disseminates information and intelligence about threats, weather, and terrain, using tactical and operational ground stations that downlink data from national, joint partners, and Army sensors.

Soldiers from major commands all over the Army partnered with the Fort Hood-based U.S. Army Operational Test Command to participate in the test, which ends Friday.

According to USAOTC Executive Director Mr. John W. Diem, the test is a collaborative effort between USAOTC and 16 other partners across the Army and DoD, including intelligence analyst Soldiers throughout the U.S. Army Forces Command; USAOTC's Intelligence Electronics Warfare Test Directorate from Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Electronic Proving Grounds, and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, also at Fort Huachuca.

"We are providing a commercial solution, called 'Capability Drop-1' that can meet the intelligence needs of the tactical battalions, aligned to FORSCOM priorities for interoperability, simplicity, and portability," said Lt. Col. Matthew Paul, product manager for DCGS.

"The mission of DCGS-A is to combine a single integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance ground processing system for the warfighter," Paul added.

"These systems are poised to receive imagery at ground and surface systems from national and tactical sensors and exchanging intelligence between ground and surface systems using common components and compliance with DOD standards."

During operational testing, each Soldier was provided DCGS-A Capability Drop-1 system to perform mission essential tasks pertaining to their military occupation specialty.

"Military intelligence Soldiers were selected to focus the test on solutions for the battalion intelligence section and to ensure we responded to the voice of the system user," said Lt. Col. Kurt Schomaker, USAOTC's DCGS test officer.

Schomaker said testing provides information to senior leaders which enables the evaluation of DCGS-A Capability Drop-1's suitability, survivability, and effectiveness, including how the system impacts mission effectiveness.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, and U.S. Rep. John R. Carter, 31st Congressional District, also toured the post with McCarthy.

The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas and its mission is making sure that systems developed are effective in a Soldier's hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems.

The Intelligence Electronic Warfare Test Directorate is based at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and its mission is to conduct operational tests of Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR); Electronic Warfare (EW); Biometrics (BM); and Counter-Threat systems.

Additional editing by CHIPS Magazine.

Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy tours the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) with Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 14, 2018. U.S. Army photo
Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy talks with Lt. Col. Kurt Schomaker, U.S. Army Operational Test Command's Defense Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) test officer during a visit to Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 14, 2018. U.S. Army photo by Mr. Tad Browning
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