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US Army builds intel capabilities in cloud

US: The US Army rolled out third version of Distributed Common Ground System – Army (DCGS-A). It comprises of the Army’s share of the broader Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E). The latest version is designed to fix some serious shortcomings identified by intelligence commanders in Afghanistan in 2010, who complained that intelligence personnel still lacked the ability to tie together the overwhelming sea of information housed in a vast number of databases.
In addition, the system incorporated the military’s first tactical cloud, which came online in Afghanistan in March of 2011. According to Mary Lynn Schnurr, the chief information officer for Army Intelligence, the cloud forms the foundation layer of the intelligence gathering system. It helps store, aggregate and analyse data, with the objective of making that information available to any piece of widgetised software—built around a common architecture—that can make use of it.
“The bottom line for us has to be on the outcome,” she said. “What can we get from the cloud? The key is access. It’s all about the data, accessing the data from a myriad of sensors out there at all of those layers. We are focused on a data-intensive, algorithmic cloud. And we are leveraging and taking advantage of everything out there in the intelligence community. We don’t want to start something that others are already doing and doing pretty well.”
For instance, for geospatial data, the Army wants to use the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) as its provider, and the National Security Agency for cryptological help. The system already is taking in data from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Marine Corps, and as of now, DCGS-A provides access to 53 million records from 317 data sources.
The next steps, between now and 2014, will be the integration of an app mall where intelligence users can hand-select the widget-type applications that work for them, taking advantage of real-time data provided by DCGS-A and providing access to that data based on attributes about particular users.
Source: www.federalnewsradio.com