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The Magazine of the National Intelligence Community

Reconnaissance Innovator Betty J. Sapp Director NRO

April 2013 Volume 11, Issue 3

Hosted Satellite Payloads Activity-Based Intelligence


Electro-optical Technology Special Report: NRO


The constellations have aligned. DigitalGlobe and GeoEye have combined. We are now one.

Washington D.C. Imaged by DigitalGlobe GeoEye-1

Bushehr, Iran Imaged by DigitalGlobe WorldView-2

Tampa, Florida Imaged by DigitalGlobe GeoEye-1

Richmond, California Imaged by DigitalGlobe WorldView-2


See what the combination brings‌. Scan code or viSit 


April 2013 Volume 11, Issue 3

Cover / Q&A

10 Special Report: National Reconnaissance Office Who’s who in nro FOCus on innovation Two NRO programs specifically exist to explore cutting-edge technological innovations: the NRO Director’s Innovation Initiative and the Tactical Defense Support Reconnaissance program.

16 Betty J. Sapp Director NRO




With their promise of cost savings through shared use of satellite resources, hosted payload programs are drawing growing interest not only from commercial and military users, but also from the IC. By Henry Canaday

With clarity that would do credit to a high-definition flat screen TV, electro-optical sensors are more than ever providing military and intelligence users with crisp, clear images transmitted from airborne and space platforms. By Peter Buxbaum

In a major sign of the growing significance of activity-based intelligence (ABI), NGA recently awarded BAE Systems a multiyear, $60 million contract to provide ABI systems, tools and support for mission priorities. By Karen E. Thuermer


Electro-Optical Innovation

Activity-Based Intelligence

Industry Interview

2 Editor’s Perspective 4 Program Notes/PEOPLE 14 Industry Raster 27 Resource Center

Tom sheridan

Vice President, National Security Space The SI Organization, Inc.


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Geospatial Intelligence Forum Volume 11, Issue 3 • April 2013

The Magazine of the National Intelligence Community Editorial

Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis Copy Editors Sean Carmichael Laural Hobbes Correspondents Peter A. Buxbaum • Cheryl Gerber William Murray • Karen E. Thuermer

Art & Design

Art Director Jennifer Owers Senior Graphic Designer Jittima Saiwongnuan Graphic Designers Scott Morris Eden Papineau Amanda Paquette Kailey Waring


Associate Publisher Scott Parker

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EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE Although the passage of a continuing resolution appears to have temporarily stabilized the federal budget picture, it is clear that the funding cuts required under sequestration will have a major impact on intelligence programs as well as some of the more prominent big-ticket defense items. In recent testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper outlined a series of effects on human intelligence, analysis and acquisitions. Clapper explained that the National Intelligence Program (NIP), which he manages, is spread across six cabinet departments and two independent Harrison Donnelly agencies. Much of it is included in the Department of Defense budget, he Editor said, and Congress ordered an even more onerous set of rules to carry out cuts imposed on DoD. “This restrictive program, project and activity, or PPA structure as it’s known, compounds the damage because it restricts our ability to manage where to take reductions in a balanced and rational way. Accordingly, the sheer size of the budget cut, well over $4 billion or about 7 percent of the NIP, will directly compel us to do less with less,” Clapper warned. Impacts will include reductions in human, technical and counterintelligence operations, resulting in fewer collection opportunities while increasing a risk of strategic surprise. This includes, for example, possibly furloughing thousands of FBI employees funded in the national intelligence program. Cyber efforts will be impacted, Clapper continued, and critical analysis and tools will be cut back. “Our response to customers will suffer as well. We’ll let go over 5,000 contractors, and that number may grow, who are an integral part of the intelligence community. And this is on top of the thousands of contractors we’ve let go in previous years.” Virtually all of the 39 major systems acquisition across the intelligence community will be wounded, he said, adding that renegotiated contracts and delayed schedules to the right will cost the nation more in the long run.

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Newly Merged DigitalGlobe Announces Satellite Plans Having completed its merger with rival satellite imagery company GeoEye, DigitalGlobe has announced plans for the combined company’s future satellite construction program. The merger created a combined company called DigitalGlobe with a market capitalization of $2.1 billion. According to executives, the new company will have an expanded global presence with a larger and more diverse revenue base; a larger constellation with optimized orbits, coordinated scheduling and improved revisit rates; better integrated imagery collection, processing and analytics capabilities; and a strengthened balance sheet and financial profile. Soon after completion of the merger, DigitalGlobe confirmed that it plans to complete WorldView-3 on its original schedule to be ready for launch in mid-2014 in order to meet the requirements of its EnhancedView contract

with the U.S. government. That contract calls for completion and launch of WorldView-3, which will offer the most spectral diversity available commercially and be the first to offer multiple short-wave infrared bands that allow for accurate imaging through haze, fog, dust, smoke and other air-borne particulates. DigitalGlobe’s largest customer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, has confirmed that the requirements of DigitalGlobe’s EnhancedView contract remain unchanged. Accordingly, DigitalGlobe intends to complete the construction of GeoEye-2 in 2013, and to preserve it as a ground spare to meet customer demand or as a replacement for other on-orbit satellites. Previously, GeoEye had expected to launch GeoEye-2 in 2013. “After careful consideration and discussions with our largest customer and others, we have determined that launching WorldView-3

and preserving GeoEye-2 as a ground spare will best meet the collective needs of customers and shareowners alike,” said Jeffrey R. Tarr, president and chief executive officer. “This plan reduces our risk profile and capital footprint, while giving our customers access to the most advanced earth observation capabilities available commercially. Furthermore, as we move forward, if demand exceeds our expectations, we will be well-positioned to quickly expand our constellation. GeoEye-2 and WorldView-3 are extraordinary satellites, and I want to thank all of our team members and partners for their continued efforts toward their completion.” DigitalGlobe now provides customers with access to a constellation of five earth observation satellites and a broad suite of high-value geospatial production and analytic services.


Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Air Force Brigadier General Anthony J. Cotton has been assigned as deputy director, National Reconnaissance Office, and commander, Air Force Space Command Element, NRO. Marine Corps Brigadier General Vincent R. Stewart has been nominated for appointment to the rank of major general. Stewart is currently serving as the director of intelligence, Headquarters Marine Corps. MacAulay-Brown Inc. has hired Mark P. Chadason as a senior vice president. As head of the company’s newly formed National Security Group, he will be responsible for managing and cultivating relationships with national intelligence, homeland security and defense intelligence customers.

4 | GIF 11.3

where she will be responsible for leadership and overall management of work for two of TASC’s intelligence customers and provide program-protection services to a broad range of government customers.

Rick F. Ambrose

Keith Littlefield

Lockheed Martin has appointed Rick F. Ambrose as executive vice president of its Space Systems business, replacing Joanne Maguire, who is retiring.

TASC has appointed Keith Littlefield, former chief information officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, as the company’s chief technology officer, where he will assume leadership of TASC’s technology strategy as well as oversee its independent research and development and technical fellows programs. In addition, the company recently named Amanda Brownfield vice president of its Mission Analysis Business Unit,

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance has selected Joseph DeTrani as its new president. He is a former director of the National Counter Proliferation Center for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

BAE Systems has announced that David Herr, who has been serving as president of the company’s Support Solutions sector, has become executive vice president, Service Sectors. Ball Aerospace has hired Vonna Heaton for the newly created position of vice president and lead executive of information and intelligence solutions. She most recently served as special assistant to the deputy director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.











(TS// SI / TK)

Held annually in the Northern Virginia area, GEOINT Community Week brings together members from the defense, intelligence and homeland security communities, for a week of networking, classified briefings, technology exhibits and learning workshops.

Putting intel assets on commercial satellites offers both savings and stepped-up launch schedules. With their promise of cost savings through shared use of satellite resources, hosted payload programs are drawing growing interest not only from commercial and military users, but also from the intelligence community. The possibility of putting intelligence assets on satellites launched by commercial companies as hosted payloads offers both substantial economies and stepped-up commercial launch schedules, which can provide earlier and more reliable opportunities to position intelligence assets in space. Still, the challenges are real. Intelligence goals would have to be reconciled with the requirements of at least a few of the approximately two dozen annual commercial launches, in timing, spare capacity and position. And commercial satellite firms might have to give up some flexibility to relocate their equipment in

6 | GIF 11.3

By Henry Canaday GIF Correspondent

space, if the shared craft is also carrying intelligence assets. Security is always a major concern in using commercial facilities. But the private firms that are most heavily engaged in satellite projects are often those that do substantial U.S. defense work and thus are familiar with and capable of meeting security requirements. At the same time, intelligence agencies will also have to become accustomed to the bottom-line-oriented efficiency and speed of the satellite business. There are indications that both the private sector and the defense and intelligence communities want to overcome the difficulties and work together. Major satellite firms and

payload assemblers are eager to explore the possibilities. The Air Force has started to use hosted payloads and is apparently preparing to do so systematically. Analysts say that service may play a critical role in bringing together private capabilities with federal needs, including intelligence needs. Practical Efficiencies The reason for this mutual movement toward cooperation is simple and pressing: Satellite launches are too expensive for any organization, public or private, to give up practical efficiencies. “Just as we find with our defense customers, hosted payloads can certainly offer time and cost benefits for intelligence missions,” said Nicole Robinson, vice chair of the Hosted Payload Alliance (HPA) and marketing vice president for SES Government Solutions. “Intelligence agencies can capitalize on the lessons learned by defense missions that have been suitable for hosted payloads, including missile warning, navigation, space situational awareness and earth monitoring, to name a few.” Robinson cited the Air Force’s Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP), launched in 2011 on an SES satellite, as an example of successful hosting and one perhaps similar to an intelligence project. “The Air Force wanted to test a new type of infrared staring sensor from geoorbit. They were able to satisfy 85 percent of their test objectives by using a commercially hosted payload at 15 percent of the cost of building and operating a government satellite.” From the start of CHIRP collaboration to orbit was only 36 months. “Usually government takes a lot longer,” she said. Indeed, timely launches are one strong advantage of commercial launches. “We put up three to four satellites every year, and with a primary commercial mission we cannot be late or we do not get paid,” Robinson noted. There are hurdles to hosting sensitive intelligence payloads, she acknowledged, but they can be overcome. “Several satellite operating companies have the proper clearance levels for individuals and for facilities,” she added. SES and Intelsat are two global commercial satellite firms that are based in other countries, but have U.S. corporate subsidiaries. A third, Eutelsat, has just set up a U.S. subsidiary. Other major players in the satellite supply chain, such as Lockheed

Martin, Boeing or SAIC, are often U.S.-based may not be as accustomed to working with defense manufacturers and integrators. commercial space firms. “Hosted payloads SES has been hosting commercial payoffer a significant opportunity for the govloads for decades, and has done hosting ernment to save money, but many governfor non-U.S. governments, for example for ment users are not well-versed in using European air navigation service providers. commercial hosted payloads. Government Intelsat hosted a payload for the Australian agencies want to maintain control of the Defence Force (ADF). “There could even be mission because of their unique requireothers, but they would not be reported if ments and security concerns,” he said. they were classified,” Robinson said. Clearly, government and industry will Of course, the launch host and hosted have to collaborate and engage in give and payload must have similar objectives in take with each other to make recent hosted terms of the timing sought and position in payloads a success. Thoma argues that space desired. “Commercial satellites perintelligence agencies will have to be flexiform many types of missions,” Robinson ble, while the government may have to alter noted. “It is reasonable to think that there procurement processes to exploit hosted may be an orbital position payloads. and a launch schedule of One major example of priinterest to the intellivate hosting of public payloads gence community.” involves Thoma’s own firm, a But would a comjoint venture between Iridium mercial satellite stay in and Nav Canada that plans to the position desirable for put air-traffic surveillance payintelligence collection? loads in orbit. Between 2015 and “On rare occasions, com2017, Iridium will launch 66 satmercial operators change ellites and six in-orbit spares as geosynchronous orbital a part of Iridium Next, the comDon Thoma positions due to changes pany’s next-generation satellite in the business climate. constellation. But typically they are stationary,” Robinson Iridium found the best hosting match said. In contrast, low-earth-orbit satellites with Aireon. As a partner, Nav Canada will move constantly with respect to the earth. invest $150 million to help create a system “It’s difficult to find public informathat will provide monitoring service to the tion on hosted payloads for intelligence purworld’s air-traffic control organizations by poses,” acknowledged Don Thoma, a former using the economy and reliability of comchairman of HPA and president and chief mercial hosted payloads. executive officer of Aireon, a new company But economy and reliability did not that is developing the world’s first satellitecome easy, Thoma pointed out. “Over the based global air traffic surveillance system. last 30 years, commercial satellite operaHowever, imagery from commertors have developed a well-defined set of cially launched sensors has been purprocurement and risk-management prochased by National Geospatial-Intelligence cesses. We fix the design early and do not Agency and other federal agencies. And the change it. That keeps cost low, and we stay National Reconnaissance Office has had a on schedule.” CubeSat ride-sharing program technology Janet Nickloy, current HPA chairperdemonstration. son and director of Space Communication Systems Business Development at Harris, also believes hosted payloads have advanHigher Level Collaboration tages for intelligence collection and should be considered. Hosted payloads would essentially take Hosting means that the secondary paythese kinds of collaboration to a higher level. load shares satellite resources, such as “I think hosted payloads will be part of govthe power and telemetry, staying physiernment space programs going forward,” cally attached to the satellite while in orbit. Thoma predicted. “The cost to launch a dediWhen a customer puts another satellite cated space mission is astronomical, and the and bus on a launch vehicle, this is called government has to think about alternatives ride sharing and does not bring all the ecofor launches they can’t afford on their own.” nomic gains of hosted payloads, but does Thoma does see a particular challenge provide more flexibility. for the intelligence community because it GIF 11.3 | 7

Spearhead for Hosted Payloads (Editor’s Note: Following are the responses to questions of a hosted payloads spokesperson for the AFSPC Space and Missile Systems Center.) Q. What does the Hosted Payload Office of SMC do? A: The Hosted Payload Office [HPO] is SMC’s centralized office to spearhead hosted payload activities. The office stood up in July 2011 as part of the SMC Developmental Planning Directorate. The primary responsibility of the HPO is to maintain visibility of hosted payload opportunities and developments among industry, U.S. government and international hosted payload market participants. It identifies SMC program directorate-hosted payload candidates and maintains a hosted payload enterprise catalog and cost model. The HPO develops the most appropriate acquisitions strategies to implement government hosted payloads on commercial satellites.

tradespace. Operationally, space mission concepts of operation and program transition timelines are key elements of any hosting arrangement. Hosted payloads must be tightly integrated with operational mission architectures, ensuring required capabilities are delivered. Ground infrastructures must make appropriate accommodations for the hosted payload data stream. Certainly, considerations must be made for mission and information assurance. Contractually, the government must balance requirements and insight/ oversight with commercial practices. We still face challenges with receiving foreign launch exemptions and with maximizing opportunities while maintaining ITAR compliance. Legally, potential issues arise with orbital slot locations/movement, change of ownership and challenges with anomalies. These issues must be addressed during contract negotiations. Overall, each of these individual elements must be considered as early as possible in the acquisition cycle to take full advantage of any hosting opportunities.

Q: What are the major hurdles or drawbacks to this hosting approach?

Q: How might these hurdles be overcome?

A: Regardless of the mission, hosted payloads come with inherent challenges. Changing the paradigm and leveraging hosting payloads on commercial satellites as an affordable and resilient option needs to be in the

A: Having established the SMC/XR Hosted Payload Office as the Air Force focal point was a key commitment to overcome some of these hurdles. Conducting system architecture studies to identify creative solutions

“Each payload has a unique set of requirements, from implementation to operation,” Nickloy said. “For example, Harris is currently building the Aireon hosted payloads for a global aviation surveillance mission that will ride on the Iridium Next constellation. Working with our customer, we were able to develop a full system approach that meets the needs of the aviation surveillance mission cooperatively with the primary mission. This type of creativity can apply to other missions as well.”

Launch Schedules Fast launch timing derives from the very aggressive schedules commercial satellite firms are obliged to meet. “They may have to retire an aging satellite and replace it just to maintain continuous service,” Nickloy said. “Or they may be launching new systems. In either case, they are highly driven to meet deadlines, and that leads to greater predictability than government launches.” This fast pace has come to apply to a significant volume—about 20 commercial launches annually in recent years. Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Inmarsat are among the most frequent launch customers. Apart from the major satellite firms, there is a varied ecosystem of participants and potential 8 | GIF 11.3

participants. “Some companies build their own payloads, some work with Harris and others,” Nickloy noted. That the biggest challenges of hosting payloads are usually not technical, but involve reconciling organizational objectives and contract terms, she observed. “You must work through the terms and conditions and take into account all the interests of the primary and secondary payloads. This is happening now in the industry. People are motivated to work through agreements.” Nickloy pointed to a Euroconsult report estimating that there are about 50 hosted payloads, commercial and government, underway or planned. The move to hosting is driven by economics, with launch cost being the key component. “That may change with the Falcon 9 from SpaceX, which may be much more affordable,” Nickloy acknowledged. The shared bus is another major source of the economy of hosted payloads. This common infrastructure is half the cost of many satellites, and must be paid for even though many payloads are not using the bus’s full capacity. To make hosted payload work for intelligence, there is a need to develop agreements, terms and conditions suitable for this market, Nickloy said, adding that the government is moving in the right direction, with

the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center expected to issue a hosted payload request for proposals this spring. And there are other signs federal officials are warming to the hosted approach. “There has also been a move to relax ITAR [International Traffic in Arms Regulations] restrictions on satellite components, which applies to hosted payloads as well,” Nickloy observed. Aerospace-industry observers generally share the optimism about hosting, with some important qualifications. One analyst is Nathan de Ruiter, a senior consultant at Euroconsult and author of a report, “Hosted Payloads: The View From Within.” Based on over 40 interviews with top government and private executives, including representatives of U.S. defense and intelligence communities, the report concludes that reduction of upfront capital cost is seen as the chief benefit of hosted payloads. “Cost saving is ranked as the primary benefit by all government stakeholders, such as space agencies, defense and science,” de Ruiter said. “Next to cost saving, there are a number of secondary benefits. Most often mentioned for intelligence collection are strengthening the resilience of the space architecture and schedule efficiency, or getting capability quicker in orbit.”

is essential to tackling these issues. These studies are the key to uncovering options to leverage commercial space capabilities to complement traditional dedicated missions and to assess how operational program requirements can be satisfied by commercial hosts. Innovative acquisition approaches, such as the Hosted Payload Solutions [HoPS] IDIQ, are another enabler to overcoming these hurdles. The HPO has carefully considered these individual challenges while developing the underlying HoPS acquisition strategy. In order to maximize hosting opportunities, this contract will synchronize the procurement process with commercial satellite procurement lead times. This will allow industry the chance to develop win-win business scenarios that mutually benefits them and the government. In addition, the HoPS contract provides the flexibility to support early payload design efforts and commit to flight processing later when the payload’s schedule for commercial satellite processing is assured. The HoPS contract is designed to allow disparate payload and commercial satellite schedules to be synchronized enhancing hosted payload flight opportunities and reduces schedule risk for both the government and the commercial host. Q: What will the Air Force be seeking in its IDIQ request for proposals on hosted payloads, expected this spring?

The magnitude of cost saving is uncertain, but de Ruiter cited published estimates that Intelsat saved the ADF 50 percent of the cost of a dedicated satellite for putting up an ultrahigh frequency payload. The Euroconsult report recommends governments conduct cost-benefit analyses of three alternatives: dedicated systems, hosted payloads and capacity leases.

Security Hurdle Security of information, operational control and data access is the primary hurdle to hosting for defense and security agencies, according to de Ruiter. “Although cost saving and schedule efficiency appeal to these organizations, they will not compromise assurance of infrastructure or distribution of payload data. If the physical payload and related data cannot be sufficiently protected, the intelligence community will likely choose dedicated satellites.” Another key challenge is aligning the schedules of commercial host and government customer. “Based on prior experience, it takes a minimum of five years for a defense agency to design and develop an instrument,” de Ruiter said. “The schedule for a commercial satellite is about three years.”

A: The HoPS IDIQ contract will award integration, launch and onorbit operations of government furnished payloads on commercial host spacecraft as a full, end-to-end package. The IDIQ implements a streamlined and reproducible acquisition structure to secure fleet hosting opportunities by leveraging robust commercial practices. This enabling contract will support a wide spectrum of payloads—from research and development to operational—fulfilling SMC’s vision for affordable and resilient capabilities and civil agency mission requirements. Q: Will or might the Hosted Payload Office of SMC represent other government agencies in seeking payload hosting or in designing standard contract formats for hosting? A: The HPO has already established and maintains working relationships with other government agencies including NASA and NOAA. These government entities have expressed a strong interest in a team approach to implementing hosted payloads. Once awarded, the HoPS IDIQ will be available to non-Department of Defense federal customers to pursue hosted payload opportunities.

So one or both sides would have to adjust its timeframe a bit. If intelligence agencies want commercial speed to orbit, they will have to become more nimble themselves. Complying with current U.S. procurement methods, however, might make staying on a schedule even tougher. “U.S. defense and security agencies highlighted negotiations over joint or independent control of the hosted payload as a key challenge,” de Ruiter noted. “Most defense and security agencies will insist on independent control of the payload and the output.” Lessons learned and best practices can at least moderate these challenges. For example, de Ruiter urged that only relatively mature payloads be considered for hosting. A catalog of both hosted payloads and potential host satellites would facilitate matches between the two and minimize delays in achieving cooperation. “Furthermore, the government will likely have to operate outside of standard processes to obtain budgetary and regulatory approvals,” he added. Early planning integration of hosted payloads and clearly defined technical interfaces would also improve compatibility. Finally, trust, goodwill and compromises by all have been necessary for successful past hosted payloads.

On the positive side, de Ruiter noted that the Air Force has taken the lead with the launch of CHIRP on SES-2 and the creation of its Hosted Payload Office. Euroconsult has also seen increased Pentagon interest, driven by budget pressures, in streamlining processes for hosted payloads. Partly due to stiff security requirements, a limited number of firms could participate in hosting intelligence payloads. Intelsat and SES have been most active in offering hosting to the Department of Defense, and de Ruiter predicted that the two companies will be the main future candidates for hosted intelligence payloads, due both to security and to the size and global coverage of their satellite fleets. Hosted payloads will also require what de Ruiter calls “a restricted matchmaking process.” Exact matches must be made on schedule, orbit location and security. “To facilitate matchmaking, NASA has started to closely monitor upcoming commercial satellites that could be paired with hosted payloads. This initiative could identify early hosted payload opportunities,” he said. O For more information, contact GIF Editor Harrison Donnelly at or search our online archives for related stories at

GIF 11.3 | 9

National Reconnaissance Office programs explore cutting-edge technological innovations. In existence for more than 50 years, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has a long history of innovation. NRO innovations have influenced developments not only in the intelligence community and for national security, but also in space exploration, agriculture, meteorology, communications, medicine and technology. Innovation continues to be a cornerstone of the NRO today. “We truly believe that innovation for the mission defines the real spirit of the NRO. It is the foundation of everything we do,” said Frank Calvelli, NRO principal deputy director. “Whether it’s a next-generation satellite with state-of-theart payloads, or ground processing systems that integrate IMINT and SIGINT data to provide the analyst with a multiINT view, I am constantly amazed and impressed by the products, services and tools we provide for the mission.” To support its mission—innovative overhead intelligence systems for national security—the NRO works closely with the Department of Defense, industry, laboratories, universities, and foreign partners to use and develop cutting-edge technology and deliver innovative ideas that save lives every day. Two NRO programs specifically exist to utilize these relationships and to explore cutting-edge technological innovations: the NRO Director’s Innovation Initiative (DII) and the Tactical Defense Support Reconnaissance (TacDSR) Program.

Director’s Innovation Now in its 16th year, the DII provides a risk-tolerant environment to invest in cutting-edge technologies and high-payoff concepts relevant to the NRO’s mission. Managed by the

10 | GIF 11.3

NRO Advanced Systems and Technologies Directorate, the DII is the NRO’s primary program for identifying key concepts and ideas from developers not traditionally associated with the NRO. The program provides seed funding to push the boundaries of technology in order to dramatically improve the nation’s satellite reconnaissance capabilities. Projects funded by the DII center on the NRO research and development focus on areas of appropriate persistence, temporal responsiveness, target discrimination, the unexpected, patterns of life and operate-through. The DII accepts proposals of any classification up to Top Secret/SCI. Individuals submitting proposals need only hold a current security clearance up to the classification level of their proposal. Typically, a mixture of classified and unclassified proposals is selected for award. The efforts are nine months in duration, with a maximum funding level of $400,000. DII participants cover the full spectrum of U.S. research organizations and include government agencies and laboratories, private industry, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) and academia. “The program reaches far beyond the traditional NRO defense and space contractor base to tap into the talent available in all types of U.S. organizations,” said Henry Mulder, DII program manager. The DII considers any innovative architecture, technology or technique that has the potential to improve NRO products, boost the NRO’s rapid response to new technological opportunities or emerging threats, and result in substantial resource savings. The technologies pursued through DII span every aspect of NRO space and ground systems, and have included applications of carbon nanotubes, electro optic and infrared optical systems, phased array antennas, solar cells, microelectronics, signals and imagery processing algorithms, as well as many others. Over the years the DII has received more than 5,500 proposals and provided funding for 507 projects, of which more than 20 percent received follow-on funding or were transitioned into operations. Reaching far ahead and into new areas is what sets the DII apart from typical advanced research programs. To make this possible, the DII program embraces a philosophy of accepting high technical risk to potentially achieve high mission payoff. “The DII is one of our tools for investigating game-changers. We are not looking for incremental improvements; rather, the projects we choose focus on dramatic, disruptive orders of magnitude capability improvements to enable advanced ISR systems for the future well beyond tomorrow,” said Bob Brodowski, director of the NRO’s Advanced Systems and Technology Directorate. DII program managers take steps to minimize DII program overhead costs so that the maximum amount of funding is spent on the technical aspects of the projects. They use standardized contracts and short, standardized proposals that

reduce proposal preparation time and effort, and reduce the time and cost for the offeror. The evaluation and award process is streamlined so offerors get timely feedback and the program stays on an annualized schedule. Specific proposal guidance is in the annual DII broad agency and government sources sought announcements released each summer via the Federal Business Opportunities and the DII website:

Tactical Reconnaissance “For more than 30 years, the TacDSR Program has fulfilled its congressional mandate to expeditiously develop, mature and integrate technologies that facilitate the dissemination of national systems data (NSD) to the warfighter in the field,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Jordan, the TacDSR program manager. DoD has delegated authority to manage TacDSR to the NRO director, and the program has been further delegated to the NRO Mission Integration Directorate. TacDSR accomplishes its mission through short-term, high-impact advanced R&D efforts that integrate mission-critical NSD into military platforms, combat systems, weapons and architectures, thus providing crucial NRO capabilities to operational warfighters. Since its inception, the TacDSR program has successfully transitioned more than 70 percent of all TacDSR programs to DoD users. TacDSR directly answers emerging war fighting intelligence requirements of the combatant commands (CCMDs), services and other tactical users. Projects within the scope of the program include: • Prototype integration for vehicles, aircraft, ships, weapons, special operations platforms, ground stations and combat support equipment.

GIF 11.3 | 11

• Capabilities that bridge gaps in joint, theater and service NSD dissemination capabilities through the use of communications and networking technology. • Software, hardware, algorithms, and network equipment to support the tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination process for military users. TacDSR consists of two major R&D programs: Military Exploitation of Reconnaissance and Intelligence Technology (MERIT) and Combat Systems Integration (CSI). MERIT examines and assesses critical technology developments with the goal of increasing the utility and accessibility of national technical means (NTM) data for joint war fighting commanders. The program’s overarching goal is to provide enhanced NTM support to military operations. To accomplish this goal, MERIT emphasizes tailored assets and capabilities to satisfy operational needs as identified by the CCMDs, their component commands, and the military services. Proposals are solicited from government and industry to satisfy the operational needs. MERIT-proposed solutions can be hardware or software based. Projects are typically 12- to 24-month efforts that result in a Transition Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or higher deliverable. The MERIT program is managed by TacDSR but employs a working group of 18 personnel representing DoD services, agencies, joint staffs and CCMDs. These members of the MERIT Working Group execute the selection process that leads to funding for projects. Each funded MERIT project must be sponsored by a member of the working group. “What makes the MERIT program unique is the fact that the services, agencies and CCMDs have direct influence over which projects are funded by virtue of their participation in the MERIT Working Group,” said Jordan. MERIT allocates resources for the rapid development and prototyping of new technologies that expand the utility and accessibility of NRO acquired data and systems for the warfighter. The CSI program is similar to the MERIT program in that it accelerates the integration of NTM-related applied development into combat systems, platforms or architectures that address the needs of the CCMDs and military services. CSI projects include prototype integration into vehicles, aircraft, ships, weapons, mission planning tools, special operations systems or platforms, ground stations and combat support equipment. CSI solutions may consist of software algorithms, hardware, exploitation tools, or system engineering solutions that support warfighter requirements. CSI projects are typically 12- to 18-month efforts that result in a TRL 7 or higher deliverable, and the maximum funding for each project is $2.5 million. The CSI program issues an annual Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)/Government Sources Sought Announcement (GSSA) to solicit proposals for the following fiscal year. To ensure that proposals of varying scope and

12 | GIF 11.3

specialty area are submitted, multiple proposal sources are sought, including those from industry, academia, government labs and FFFRDCs. Preference is given to projects whose impacts have the greatest potential to advance warfighter platform capabilities and mission sets. To ensure wide dissemination, the BAA/GSSA solicitations are posted to the intelligence community Acquisition Research Center (ARC) website in the October/November timeframe of each year. Offerors may then submit proposals electronically using the ARC website. Educational institutions, non-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and private industries must respond to the BAA. U.S. government agencies and FFRDCs must respond to the GSSA. BAA proposals that are selected for award will be implemented using standard contracting procedures while GSSA proposals that are selected will be implemented using task agreements and funded by military interdepartmental purchase requests. O

(This article was provided by the NRO Office of Public Affairs.) For more information, contact GIF Editor Harrison Donnelly at or search our online archives for related stories at

Betty Sapp Director

Frank Calvelli

Maj. Gen. Susan K. Mashiko

Principal Deputy Director

Deputy Director

Robert Brodowski

James Martin

Terry Duncan

Advanced Systems & Technology Directorate

Business Plans & Operations Directorate

Communications Systems Directorate

Michael Hale

Darlene Minick

Brian Malone

Ground Enterprise Directorate

Imagery Intelligence Systems Acquisition Directorate

Management Services & Operations Directorate

Randal Barber

Col. James Fisher

Mission Integration Directorate

Office of Space Launch





Col. Cory Welch (Acting)


MOD Mission Operations Directorate

Dr. Troy Meink

Russell Waters

Signals Intelligence Systems Acquisition Directorate

Special Communications Office






Dr. Stewart Cameron SAO

Survivability Assurance Office

Tina Harrington SED

Systems Engineering Directorate

GIF 11.3 | 13

INDUSTRY RASTER Upgraded Support Ordered for WorldView-3 Satellite MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) has signed two contracts with DigitalGlobe. Under the first contract, MDA will upgrade the WorldView Production Segment headquarters’ systems previously delivered by MDA to provide full support for the WorldView-3 satellite. WorldView-3, scheduled for launch in 2014, is expected to be the first multi-sensor, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite. Under the second contract, MDA will provide operational support and enhancements to the Production Segment headquarters systems. These systems process information from DigitalGlobe’s constellation of imaging satellites to generate a wide variety of image products. MDA’s systems are in operation 24/7 yearround, to help DigitalGlobe support its worldwide government and commercial customers. Wendy Keyzer;

New Landsat Images Released NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have released the first images from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite, which was launched February 11. The natural-color images show the intersection of the Great Plains and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. In the images, green coniferous forests in the mountains stretch down

to the brown plains with Denver and other cities strung south to north. Since launch, LDCM has been going through on-orbit testing. The mission operations team has completed its review of all major spacecraft and instrument subsystems, and performed multiple spacecraft attitude maneuvers to verify the ability to accurately point the instruments.

Services Engine Extends Image Analysis Capabilities Exelis Visual Information Solutions, a subsidiary of ITT Exelis, has released new technology that makes it possible for organizations to easily extend image analysis capabilities to an entire user base through a cloud or enterprise framework. The new product, ENVI Services Engine, is based on the scientific algorithms in ENVI image analysis software. It was developed in response to the growing adoption of cloud computing in government agencies as shrinking budgets and massive amounts of geospatial data necessitate more efficient systems. ENVI Services Engine allows agencies to quickly and easily create, publish and deploy advanced image analytics as Web services. These services are then made available from a server on thin and mobile clients so that data from airborne and satellite imagery can be used for more informed and faster decision-making. The area of ISR data analytics is a strategic growth area for Exelis. ENVI image analysis products are already widely used in the military and intelligence sector, allowing the forward deployed to use imagery to detect targets, locate threats, coordinate safe troop movement, and identify important terrain conditions. The new cloud-based ENVI product delivers significant benefits, including cost savings through lower capital investment and ease of management, quality control and the flexibility to scale up or down to meet demand. Kristen Maglia;

Platform Combines Open-Source Intel, Geospatial Collaboration TerraGo has unveiled its new Location Intelligence Platform, an enterprise-level software solution that combines open-source intelligence gathering with geospatial collaboration, enabling organizations to discover location intelligence from any source, integrate geospatial intelligence and deliver situational awareness to anyone, anywhere, in online and bandwidth-restricted environments. In addition 14 | GIF 11.3

to showcasing the TerraGo Location Intelligence Platform, TerraGo unveiled new company branding, logo and imagery, which unifies and reflects the fusion of the company’s innovative discovery, integration and collaboration capabilities. The TerraGo Platform helps organizations automate the process of monitoring, discovering and geospatially visualizing relevant unstructured information from any source with TerraGo

GeoXray, which mines and processes content from news feeds, blog posts and social media. TerraGo’s geospatial collaboration software helps users produce, access, update and share that location intelligence using TerraGo’s family of innovative GeoPDF technologies, including TerraGo Publisher, TerraGo Composer, TerraGo Toolbar and TerraGo Mobile. Renee Wagner;

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

LiDAR Enhancements Offer Faster Processing and Display Global Mapper from Blue Marble Geographics offers newly enhanced light detection and ranging (LiDAR) features that include a significant improvement in the ability to load and classify massive amounts of LiDAR point cloud data, jumping from supporting files that contain tens of millions of points to those that contain hundreds of millions of points. Global Mapper 14.1 provides a dramatic increase in LiDAR processing and display speed, which is beneficial for previewing data before creating a gridded surface or terrain model. Version 14.1 includes several options for filtering data during import and rendering point clouds to reflect return type or intensity. Improved metadata access provides a detailed statistical breakdown of the point cloud and customizable point size improves on-screen display. Global Mapper Package files are now able to store LiDAR point clouds in a special compressed format, much smaller than uncompressed LAS data and on par with the best compression formats available

Terrain Modeler Aids Point Cloud Analysis Applied Imagery has released Quick Terrain Modeler Version 8.0, which makes working with LiDAR point clouds, digital elevation models and color imagery easier, faster, and more powerful. QT Modeler v8.0 offers a complete reworking of point cloud profile analysis and editing tools, interactive 3-D cross section tools, and an expansion of coordinate conversion capabilities, including vertical datum transformations. For Department of Defense users, QT Modeler v8.0 offers a comprehensive suite of travel route analysis tools that enhance understanding of situational awareness and mobility along planned routes—all in an interactive 3-D environment. In addition, exporting routes and imagery to handheld GPS can now be done with a few simple clicks, thus dramatically compressing the timeline for critical mission-planning tasks. Duane Snyder;

today. This promotes efficiency in LiDAR data archiving and sharing between other Global Mapper software users. Danielle Caron;

Location Analyzer Incorporates GIS to Understand Data Esri Location Analytics enables organizations to maximize data and applications by revealing the where in their corporate data. It extends the value of traditional enterprise applications by incorporating GIS to help users visualize, question, analyze, interpret and understand data. It consists of a scalable platform that works in the cloud, on mobile devices, and within existing IT systems. The result is access to better information for organizations at every level that unearths relationships, patterns, and

trends that would otherwise remain locked away. Esri Location Analytics enables organizations to visualize the relationship between corporate data, such as profits and inventory, and location-specific data, such as customer and facility addresses. It takes advantage of core capabilities to extract new, powerful insights. The core capabilities include mapping visualization, powerful analytics and geographic information enrichment. Jesse Theodore;

Remote Sensing Software Supports New Imaging Satellite

Combined Solution Enables Leveraging Large Datasets

PCI Geomatics, a developer of remote sensing and photogrammetric software and systems, has announced that it now supports SPOT-6 imagery within its software suite. SPOT-6, a new satellite built and operated by Astrium was launched in September 2012. SPOT-6 is an optical imaging satellite capable of imaging the Earth with a resolution of 1.5 m panchromatic and 6 m multispectral (blue, green, red, near-IR). The support for SPOT-6 will be available in the Geomatica 2013 SP2 product release. PCI’s support for SPOT-6 will include RPC model creation (allowing for very accurate corrections using the satellite orbital ephemeris data) as well as very rapid and high-quality pansharpening capability. Kevin R. Jones;

Pixia and EMC Isilon have partnered to offer a combined big-data access and storage solution that allows defense and intelligence organizations to leverage big and large datasets, especially ISR data captured by sensors for motion imagery, satellite imagery, terrain, radar feeds and aerial surveillance. Pixia HiPER Stare catalogs, organizes and shares large volumes of ISR sensor data by providing increased storage I/O from the EMC Isilon Scale-Out NAS solution. The solution offers enormous scalability to a daily mission set—up to 20PBs within a single volume—and powerful web data-as-a-service interfaces for interoperability to any toolset. It represents a fast turnkey solution to the demanding workflow requirements of sophisticated ISR environments. Kenneth Melero; Megan Lane;

GIF 11.3 | 15

Reconnaissance Innovator

Q& A

Providing Focused Capabilities for Critical ISR Needs Betty J. Sapp Director National Reconnaissance Office Betty Sapp was appointed the 18th director of the National Reconnaissance Office [DNRO] on July 6, 2012. The DNRO provides direction, guidance and supervision over all matters pertaining to NRO and executes other authorities specifically delegated by the secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence. Sapp began her government career as an Air Force officer in a variety of acquisition and financial management positions, including: business management positions in the NRO; program element monitor at the Pentagon for the MILSTAR system; program manager for the FLTSATCOM program at the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles; and manager of a joint-service development effort for the A-10 engine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. In 1997, Sapp joined the Central Intelligence Agency. She was assigned to the NRO, where she served in a variety of senior management positions. In 2005, she was appointed the deputy director, NRO for business plans and operations. As such, she was responsible for all NRO business functions, including current-year financial operations, preparation of auditable financial statements, business systems development, budget planning, cost estimating and contracting, as well as all executive and legislative liaison activities. In May 2007, Sapp was appointed the deputy under secretary of defense [portfolio, programs and resources], Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. In this position, she was responsible for executive oversight of the multibillion-dollar portfolio of defense intelligence-related acquisition programs; the planning, programming, budgeting and execution of the multibillion dollar Military Intelligence Program; and the technology efforts critical to satisfying both current and future warfighter needs. In April 2009, Sapp was appointed the principal deputy director of NRO, where she provided overall day-to-day management of NRO, with decision responsibility as delegated by the DNRO. Sapp holds a Bachelor of Arts, and an MBA, Management, both from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She is also Level III certified in Government Acquisition and was certified as a Defense Financial Manager. Q: After completing a successful launch program in 2012, what are NRO’s launch plans for 2013 and beyond? A: After supporting six launches in 2011, and four in 2012, we’ve established a great track record for a successful 2013 campaign. We have two launches planned this year from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.—a Delta IV Heavy in August and an Atlas V in December. Over the next few years we plan an average of two to three launches annually. 16 | GIF 11.3

Q: What are the key elements for your strategy for supporting and strengthening the space launch industry? A: There are two key elements involved in our strategy to support and strengthen the space launch industry: being a reliable customer for our industry partners, and collaborating with our interagency partners on broader space launch industrial base issues. We rely on the domestic launch industry to provide access to space for National Security Space [NSS] missions. NRO strives to be a reliable customer by delivering our spacecraft on the schedule we establish upfront, and by stabilizing our launch support requirements. Both of these actions provide predictability and stability the launch industry can plan against. NRO also works with our partners in the Department of Defense and NASA to invest in and sustain the current domestic launch industry, as well as to provide opportunities for new launch providers. Specifically, we leverage the investments of our interagency partners, as well as support the coordinated strategy for new entrant launch vehicle certification signed by NASA, NRO and the Air Force in October 2011. We also participate with those same partners in the Space Industrial Base Council. Q: What is the relationship of NRO to the Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle [EELV] program?

A: We have a longstanding partnership with the Air Force and the highly reliable EELV program. EELV launches have been vital to the NRO’s mission of delivering capabilities critical to our national security. In total, 14 NRO payloads have been placed on orbit riding on Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, including four Delta IV Heavy missions. The Air Force EELV block buy strategy, which we fully support, incorporates requirements for 11 additional NRO missions through fiscal year 2017. Q: NRO participated in a ridesharing-in-space effort last year. What results do you hope to see from this strategy? When is the next mission that will feature ridesharing? A: We have long recognized that there are benefits and efficiencies to be gained through ridesharing in space. In addition to the cost savings, these benefits include opportunities to conduct scientific research, demonstrate and apply emerging technologies, and reduce the risk of inserting new technologies into NRO core space systems. Last September we launched 11 CubeSats as auxiliary payloads on NROL-36, as part of the Operationally Unique Technologies Satellite [OUTSat] mission. The OUTSat mission demonstrated our capability to integrate multiple auxiliary payloads into the launch vehicle carrying our primary payload, and successfully deliver them to orbit. The OUTSat mission also demonstrated that we could achieve a price point, through ridesharing, that simply could not have been achieved through a different strategy. Because of this success, NRO is planning to place up to 10 CubeSats on our December Atlas V launch as part of the Government Experimental Multi-Satellite mission.

architectures. Finally, they let us experiment with innovative techniques against projected target trends and an ever-changing threat environment. Q: How do the NRO field reps and liaison officers support DoD and deployed units? A: In concert with our mission partners, we provide direct support to the combatant commands [CCMD], their service components and deployed tactical units. We provide them with a wide array of capabilities, products and services to include education, training, exercise support and subject matter expertise on NRO systems and products. We also provide operational coordination and innovative technical solutions to challenging ISR needs. We position experienced field representatives [FRs] at each CCMD and other key intelligence user locations to ensure we understand their needs. We then strive to find solutions to those needs, whether those involve new capabilities, modification of existing capabilities, additional training or different CONOPS. To do this, our FRs reach back and leverage the entire NRO enterprise. We directly support the war in Afghanistan by deploying liaison officers [LNOs] to key staffs and operational commands. This allows us to be responsive to the needs of the warfighter and intelligence analysts, and to ensure that they can fully leverage the capabilities of NRO ISR systems, capabilities and intelligence-derived products. The NRO FR and LNO programs have proven to be very successful. The best proof of that fact is the great feedback I receive from those they support. Q: What has NRO been doing in the past few years to support the warfighter?

Q: What is NRO’s strategy for use of new launch capability? A: NRO intends to take advantage of the full range of domestic launch capability to meet our requirements for highly reliable, affordable space launch. Last summer, we awarded a delivery-toorbit mission that will use a Falcon 9 launch vehicle, with launch planned for December 2015. We have also identified two launch missions as candidates for competition; the first of the two must be awarded no later than December 2014 to support a planned launch in December 2016. NRO efforts in this area are fully consistent with the previously mentioned coordinated strategy for new entrant launch vehicle certification. The strategy ensures a consistent, coherent government approach that new space launch providers can plan against. NRO will continue to collaborate with the Air Force and NASA, as well as with potential new launch providers, to ensure we are able to take full advantage of new launch capabilities as soon as they are demonstrated and certified. Q: NRO participates in DoD war games. How does NRO benefit by participating in war games? A: War games allow us an opportunity to demonstrate what we can provide our mission partners and customers, to learn more about user requirements and concerns, and to practice joint operations with our partners in AFSPACECOM and USSTRATCOM. They also provide us with an efficient and low-cost approach to examine a multitude of possibilities, to include alternative strategies and

A: One of the major advantages of declassifying the existence of NRO in 1992 was that it allowed us to share our products and our capabilities with a much broader set of users. As a result, while NRO remains critically important to national policymakers, we were able to become a critical player in tactical operations as well. Today, there are many operations in Afghanistan that aren’t just supported by NRO, but which truly rely on NRO. In addition to traditional NRO ISR systems and support, we provide a wide array of focused capabilities to help solve specific, critical ISR needs in the Afghanistan area of responsibility. We’ve brought dozens of innovative ISR solutions to the fight. These services, products and tools directly contribute to the highest-priority missions, to include counter-IED efforts, identifying and tracking high-value targets, countering narcotics trafficking, and special communications. However, the most important capability we provide to the fight is our people—our on-site problem-solvers. We typically have about 75 men and women deployed into harm’s way on any given day serving as liaison officers to units, providing technical expertise, or supporting those focused NRO programs. Every day, they have a direct and positive influence on combat operations and mission success, to include saving the lives of U.S. and coalition forces. As far as the programs and capabilities we provide to Afghanistan, classification and the amount of time it would take to cover our programs greatly limit what I can discuss. I’ll cover just a few highlights, but trust me when I say that we bring a lot more to the fight. GIF 11.3 | 17

We partnered with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to provide airborne light detection and ranging [LiDAR] imagery. LiDAR has been very effective in mapping the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, improving force protection, operational planning and situational awareness. At the request of the deputy under secretary of defense [intelligence] for joint coalition and warfighter support, NRO developed and fielded the Communications Externals Geo-fusion System [CEGS]. One of the key capabilities of the system has been to cue emitter locations in near real-time to full motion video operators, effectively speeding up the “find” portion of the ISR mission. The ability to combine CEGS geolocations with GEOINT has been used with great success, and has regularly contributed to enhanced battlefield awareness during combat operations, insurgent attacks and convoy operations. In the counter-IED effort, one of our most successful programs has been RED DOT. RED DOT takes the various sources of indications and warnings we receive, combines them into an integrated picture, then sends them out directly to the tactical user, to include the HMMWV on patrol. The program gets its name from the red dot it places on a map to highlight an area of concern. Last year alone, RED DOT indications resulted in the removal of more than 235 IEDs from the battlefield—a huge success for the program, and a real lifesaver for our men and women in harm’s way. A real strength of NRO is our ability to fuse multi-intelligence data to support warfighter intelligence needs. We have helped the warfighter visualize large volumes of data temporally and spatially, establishing patterns of life, identifying the unusual within a multitude of fused data sets, and integrating full motion video data with automated multi-intelligence tipping, cueing and alerting capabilities. Our cutting-edge solutions combine GEOINT and SIGINT, and span the space, air and ground operational domains to improve the warfighter’s common operational picture and enhance his effectiveness in finding, fixing and finishing targets. Specifically, the NRO has developed numerous advanced capabilities for personnel recovery and friendly force tracking, and our quick-reaction capability solutions have been employed with resounding success in counter-IED, homemade explosive materials detection, and special communications missions worldwide. Q: What are your plans for supporting the warfighter by delivering intelligence data to the field via mobile devices? A: We recognized long ago that one of the major challenges facing our servicemembers on foot-patrol in the streets of Afghanistan, Iraq or other parts of the world is getting the latest situational awareness info to them. That is one of the major reasons why we developed the Enhanced Quality Imagery Search Mobile [EQUIS Mobile] application in conjunction with NGA. EQUIS Mobile is a web-based geospatial intelligence discovery, display, production and dissemination tool. It allows users to search the unclassified NGA imagery library and then display, annotate or share the images right from their smartphone or tablet. As a note, law enforcement officials are now also using EQUIS Mobile for their operations. Q: What is NRO doing to help integrate information about its capabilities into military training programs? 18 | GIF 11.3

A: In addition to the use of our NRO field representatives, one of the most effective ways we integrate our capabilities into military exercises and training programs is through the use of mobile training teams [MTTs]. Our MTTs visit service schools and units as well as take part in combatant command exercises in order to provide insight into and instruction on NRO’s capabilities. By visiting the units and taking part in their exercises, our MTTs are able to provide valuable hands-on training and computer-based tools. These efforts all help to ensure the units are able to fully leverage the capabilities of NRO in their operations. Q: What role do you see the Ground Enterprise Directorate [GED] playing in the NRO mission, now and in the future? A: Ground functions are absolutely critical to planning and executing ISR missions, and in processing the data collected from our national satellites. One of the major challenges NRO faces is the current stove-piped nature of our systems—specific ground systems supporting specific space systems and specific functions. While these stove-piped systems were necessary in the past to address mission needs and provide critical information, they are not right for us today and into the future. They preclude us from using our overhead architecture as an architecture, and they drive support costs which are simply not sustainable in today’s budget environment. The NRO GED team has already made considerable headway in moving us toward a more holistic, “horizontal” ground enterprise— a single networked information collection and distribution system more responsive to user needs, more resilient in the face of projected threats, and much more efficient and effective in providing mission capabilities. The future NRO ground enterprise will enable the delivery of information to our mission partners and users when they need it and where they need it. Q: What is the status of NRO’s five-year strategy for optimizing IT? A: NRO, under the leadership of our Chief Information Office [CIO], has made great strides in the effort to optimize IT. The CIO, working closely with our Communications Directorate, has actively pursued innovative enterprise solutions to IT problems; developed a comprehensive roadmap to follow; tackled stove-pipes; and implemented a standards and commodity-based platform and operating model that will serve NRO well into the future. We also created an IT Executive Committee, which provides leadership, direction and guidance for NRO IT information assurance and information management programs and activities. The decisions made by this committee, such as establishing a common portfolio management approach, creating and using one corporate product list, and leveraging license agreements, have created major efficiencies for NRO. Perhaps more importantly, our efforts to optimize NRO IT have positioned us well to support and transition to the Intelligence Community IT Enterprise [IC ITE]. IC ITE is one of the biggest initiatives to hit the IC in the last 20 years or so, and one we completely support. IC ITE will allow us to operate more as a community, as well as more efficiently using fewer IT resources. The efficiencies realized will enable savings that can be reinvested to preserve our mission and our capabilities. IC ITE will enable integrated intelligence collection, analysis and sharing through an innovative, robust and secure IT environment.

Q: What is NRO’s strategy for responding to budget cuts? A: NRO always strives to preserve the mission capabilities so important to our users and the NRO workforce critical to providing those mission capabilities. We take on budget challenges the same way we take on operational challenges—by harnessing the innovative spirit and the technical talents of the NRO government/contractor team. NRO met a recent significant budget reduction by designing a more capable, resilient and affordable future architecture, enabled by technical advancements matured through our advanced research and development program. We have also achieved efficiencies through different contract strategies and buying approaches, and by consolidating IT. Q: NRO recently racked up a string of clean audits. What effects have you seen from this achievement? A: NRO has certainly enjoyed operational and financial success over the last several years. In addition to the success of our 2012 launch campaign—four launches in five months—we also received our fourth consecutive clean independent audit. Four in a row is an impressive accomplishment by the men and women of NRO. This achievement has set us apart as a leader in financial management in the IC, and increased our credibility with those who oversee us. We have also partnered with NGA on its new financial management system, GEOINT-Financials. This was a tremendous undertaking and truly a win-win situation for both organizations. For NGA, the effort modernized its financial systems, provided better information for decision-making, and laid the foundation to help achieve its goal of auditability. For NRO, this joint endeavor allowed us to test and further improve our financial management practices, and to strengthen our collaboration with NGA, one of our closest IC partners.

under EA are more cost-effective to fly since we have the same industrial base of the newer-build vehicles and can leverage those same engineers. In addition, we’ve found that an experienced industrial team can develop cost-effective technical upgrades that can improve performance and often be implemented within existing contracts and funding. That is something “clean sheet” systems do not experience. Of course, there are times when EA is not appropriate, and NRO does not use this strategy as a “one size fits all.” If a dramatic new technology becomes available, or if a current contractor does not perform well, we will not hesitate to take a different acquisition path. Q: How are you working to maintain mission assurance [MA] processes in an era of cost cutting? A: Mission assurance processes are essential to mission success. Budget-constrained environments don’t change the need for MA, but they do encourage us to re-examine our standards and processes to ensure we’ve struck the right balance between risk and cost. Therefore we constantly review our mission assurance standards—our how-to guide for the most critical elements of program development—and modify them where appropriate. Those standards are also tailored by our program managers for each of our acquisition efforts, to ensure the appropriate risk/cost balance for each program. O

Q: How would you describe your approach to evolutionary acquisition [EA], and is that approach itself evolving? A: First, let me say that we believe EA is directly responsible for NRO’s excellent acquisition performance over the past three years. We have been able to keep all our major program acquisitions “in the green” for cost, schedule and performance—a record that we have unfortunately not matched when we’ve used different acquisition strategies. EA encompasses several major tenets, but I’ll mention a few of the most significant. First, by evolving new systems, rather than using a “clean sheet,” we reduce overall acquisition risk and focus our non-recurring investment on new sensors and collection capabilities—not on re-designing the entire spacecraft. Secondly, when we want to field a higher-risk technical collection capability, we mature that in our R&D program, then as a separate “tech insertion” program that can fly when ready; we do not allow it to slow down, and drive cost, in the main-line satellite acquisition. Third, we contract for multi-vehicle block buys of spacecraft delivered on regular schedules. This incentivizes the contractor base to think long-term and implement efficient, cost-saving production processes that they wouldn’t do on single vehicle buys. Using these approaches, we have seen our major programs stabilize, then actually under-run government independent cost estimates. There are other benefits as well. Older satellites procured

GIF 11.3 | 19

NGA contract highlights growing importance of the next generation of all-source tradecraft and tools.

By Karen E. Thuermer GIF Correspondent

in the war on terror and Iraq, and open-source data harvesting There’s a sea change underway within the intelligence commuand analysis, which has provided intelligence on transactions and nity, based on an innovative approach called activity based intelliactivities. gence (ABI). For Jeff DeTroye, chair of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency defines ABI as “a disFoundation’s ABI Working Group and vice president, special procipline of intelligence where the analysis and subsequent collection grams, Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI), ABI is a radically different way are focused on the activity and transactions associated with an entity, to address intelligence problems that the classic target-based proa population or an area of interest.” cesses cannot solve. In a major sign of the growing significance of ABI, NGA recently While the concept of evaluating activities or transactions for awarded BAE Systems a multi-year, $60 million contract to provide intelligence value has been around for years, he said, until recently it ABI systems, tools and support for mission priorities. could only be applied to tightly constrained problems due to technoABI represents the next generation of all-source intelligence tralogical limitations concerning access to data. decraft and tools. Employing principles first introduced in geospatial “Advances in data communications, the advent of cloud technolintelligence and multi-INT methodology, ABI focuses on comprehenogies, improvements in compute power and breakthroughs in data sively indexing data by its geographic and temporal elements to make gathering have all combined to make ABI applicable to more of the the data efficiently discoverable across a range of intelligence sources. intelligence problems facing the U.S. today,” DeTroye said. “This allows analysts to discover new connections not yet cap“In its full implementation, ABI will be able to collect and process tured in products and reporting, and rigorously evaluate their hypothdata from a very wide area (physical or cyberspace), detect patterns of eses before making an assessment,” remarked John Marion, director activities or transactions that were not being specifically looked for, of the Persistent Surveillance Division, Logos Technologies. determine if they are of interest, if necessary quickly ABI is a discipline in which analysis and collection bring additional collection assets to the problem to are focused on the activity and transactions associgather more data, and then provide recommendations ated within an area of interest, explained Scott White, to the decision processes for action—all on timescales vice president of intelligence programs for Northrop dramatically shorter than what could be achieved just Grumman. a few years ago,” he said. “An activity is a recognizable movement or change conducted by an entity that is an indicator or has a specific meaning when viewed within a relevant context,” Counterterrorism Roots he outlined. “A transaction is a recognized movement or change conducted by an entity that indicates an While ABI is the outgrowth of a realization that exchange of information or material has taken place.” tools and techniques that applied to former problems Jeff DeTroye White added that ABI has been used successfully in were not adequate after the 2001 terrorist attacks, small pockets throughout the intelligence community this methodology or tradecraft for intelligence analfor decades. Examples include the Ocean Surveillance Information ysis became even more mainstream and accepted in 2010 after the System used to monitor Soviet submarines, full motion video used Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence released the 20 | GIF 11.3

In linear analysis, explained Donald Widener, profirst two strategic guidance papers on surveillance gram manager, global analysis for BAE Systems, A will for irregular warfare and understanding the human lead you to B, which, in turn, will lead you to C. “Then dimension. you draw conclusions. But non-linear is the exact “People started talking about it more as its own opposite. Here you’re looking at a general theme over a thing rather than a sub-discipline,” observed Patrick large area, and trying to find new questions. That’s not Biltgen, GEOINT-ISR engineer for BAE Systems. what analysts typically do. They are resource-driven.” Consequently, ABI’s roots lie in the effort to supBut with ABI, analysts take all the information port counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operathey have, put it together in a geospatial environment tions after the 9/11 attacks. and explore back and forth in time. “They pore over all “Supporting special operations required new of their resources to get to the next point,” Widener methods for rapidly collecting, processing, analyzPatrick Biltgen said. ing and disseminating detailed information regardIn short, ABI introduces a way of treating big data ing terrorists and insurgents, including their personal as an asset. and operational networks and patterns of life,” stated “ABI principles make data of nearly any volume Rob Zitz, SAIC senior vice president and ISR chief sysnavigable by having analysts apply the restrictive filtems architect. ter—the geospatial content—to their dataset first,” Prior to this, most intelligence problems were explained Marion. “This makes the information more addressed using target-based processes. For example, manageable and makes it easier for analysts to quickly Soviet tank parks were monitored to determine if the find the potentially relevant data. ABI workflows facilitanks were all present. If the tanks were still in the tate the moving in and out of various datasets, mergtank parks, that was a clear indication that the Soviets ing databases and customizing attributes to arrive at were not on the verge of invading Western Europe. an ever-more meticulously curated dataset.” “Those tank parks are examples of specific targets Rob Zitz ABI enables analysts to leverage all-source meththat could be monitored using target-based intelliods, including text-based search, but in the context of gence collection and analysis methodologies to detergeospatially and temporally indexed data. This means mine the adversaries’ intent,” explained DeTroye. analysts can quickly find discoveries already made by “Today’s adversaries are often non-state actors, and another collector or analyst. warfare is now usually asymmetrical. The bad guys “ABI is the process of piecing together yet unevaluhave no tanks or ships. They are loosely organized ated or uncorrelated data on the basis of the space and groups of terrorists whose future activities can’t usutime elements,” Marion explained. ally be divined by monitoring specific geographic locations or websites.” As a result, ABI can be a powerful tool to address Sea of Change these new threats, particularly since adversaries will leave digital trails through cyberspace that can be disFor that reason, ABI has become the key enabler Donald Widener covered using new tools capable of monitoring the for the “find-fix-finish” model of counterterrorist opervast number of transactions across the Internet. ations, and has created a sea of change for the intelligence community. “For example, their actions can be tracked by monitoring the “Supporting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations huge volume of Twitter traffic across the globe for postings by averwith ABI provided the impetus to break down INT-specific stovepipes age people who see something strange or dangerous and Tweet and led to the rise in real-time, multi-INT, full spectrum persistent their friends about it,” DeTroye described. “Subtle changes in trafsurveillance,” said Zitz. “It is the embodiment of real-time, persistent fic on remote roads across huge, open expanses of scrubland could multi-INT analysis, and it is viewed today as valuable for supporting be the only sign of an impending attack on a U.S. facility in Africa. many critical intelligence problems and a wide range of military and Monitoring these vast data sets for activities or transactions is now humanitarian operations.” possible due to improvements in compute power and our ability to Properly implemented, ABI processes democratize data and move huge data sets around the globe. Processing power to examine unlock its intelligence value. In a way, the method encourages anathese large data sets is now widely available at reasonable cost and lysts to break through artificial bureaucratic boundaries. dramatically faster speeds.” “Data now becomes defined by its spatial and temporal attributes, Often compared to “finding a needle in a haystack of needles,” not by its ‘mission’ or ‘program,’” stated Marion. the beauty of ABI is that it has been developed to find new ways to ABI is also expanding the communicability of work done within quickly tip and cue across multiple intelligence sources and devise special access programs and with highly classified data, because the new approaches for fusing and analyzing huge amounts of both clasassociated metadata is often not as highly classified or compartsified and open-source information. mented as the full data set. “The geo-temporal metadata can be “It’s not a tool, not automation, and not some kind of all-seeindexed and its associated activity mapped,” he added. ing eye that can predict what is going to happen,” remarked Biltgen. ABI also champions data neutrality. “In what might seem like “ABI is a different way of looking at intel problems in a big-data enviheresy in the intelligence community, ABI uses open-source material ronment. It’s different because traditional intelligence analysis is linto shed light on classified data,” Marion explained. “Likewise, it also ear—a Cold War-centric model where you ask a question, you collect allows appropriate incorporation of less precise data, which can always information, you exploit it and deliver that product.” later be more fully explored or discarded as the process unfolds.”

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Unique to ABI is a technique called geo-referencing, which involves taking all the data collected from multiple sources, locating it in space and time, and allowing a user to visualize and interact with it in the same environment. “This might sound remarkable, but a lot of the data that we collect is not geo-referenced and cannot be located on the map,” said Biltgen. “If you can geo-reference the data to certain accuracy in both space and time, then you can start putting it together.” ABI puts the operators and analysts in the central role; they drive collection, processing and analysis in a continuously iterative process. In addition, ABI dictates the need for persistence. “True persistence is gained through seamless, continuous and real-time integration of SIGINT, GEOINT, HUMINT, MASINT and open sources,” said Zitz.

Required Components Successful ABI outcomes require real-time, persistent multiINT, as well as significant use of sophisticated upstream processing, access to data stores across all domains, instantiation of cloud computing solutions and advanced analytic tools. “As the intelligence community moves to ‘scale up’ ABI across more intelligence issues and operations, the legacy of separate intelligence-specific architectures will evolve to support the new requirements,” commented Zitz. “In fact, we are already seeing this happen via the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise [ICITE] plans.” The incorporation of ABI requirements into upcoming IT upgrades, such as the ICITE project, is important in fully realizing the promise of ABI. That’s because ICITE plays a critical role in scaling up ABI, since a more robust multi-INT enterprise depends on the planned recapitalization of the IC’s information infrastructure. “While much of the ICITE discussion thus far has centered on reducing costs and better protecting the data and the networks, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s goals for ICITE clearly include changes that will enable ABI—that is, ‘provide seamless and secure enterprise solutions for trusted collaboration— people-to-people, people-to-data, data-to-data … to deliver a user experience that enhances mission accomplishment,’” Zitz pointed out. Over the last decade, the government had industry build many persistent collectors, he noted. These improvements led to exponential increases in data, particularly from full motion video, wide area motion imagery, and the increasing use of high-resolution synthetic aperture radar, light detection and radar, and other non-literal sources. “With analysts and operators awash in multi-INT data, an industry priority has become advanced processing of the data to detect changes and to correlate data from myriad disparate sources,” he said. “Big data and cloud computing solutions are coming to the forefront. Moving ahead, it is important that the intelligence community’s ABI experts develop a concept of operations and a technical roadmap, and ensure that ABI architecture requirements are addressed by acquisition officials responsible for ICITE and other relevant system procurements.” For the intelligence community to realize the full potential of ABI, DeTroye emphasized, changes need to be made in almost every phase of the tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination (TCPED) cycle. “This cycle has been dominated by 22 | GIF 11.3

target-centric thinking for so long that in many ways each phase of the TCPED cycle is now hard-wired to that mindset,” he stated. In essence, the tasking processes’ default action is to collect on a target location. “Trying to get the tasking processes to react quickly and flexibly to track activities through tipping and cueing, especially considering the very large areas, is usually a difficult and manually intensive process,” he remarked. The advent of airborne wide-area collection systems is an enabler of ABI techniques. But many of the spaceborne collection systems were carefully tuned over the past few decades to be target collectors, and even those that can flexibly collect from large areas are typically hobbled by outmoded security concerns that ensure the data isn’t shared widely enough to be easily used in an ABI methodology. “Processing will probably be the easiest phase of the cycle to implement ABI, but the algorithms for the reliable detection of activities or transactions in large data sets, and then the rule sets to determine which activity patterns are of interest, are not trivial,” he added. In DeTroye’s view, the exploitation world has the most significant cultural challenge. “The typical analyst is trained from their first day to be target-centric in their thinking,” he said. “For years they were given little direct access to the tasking processes. Most target analysis was then, and is now, manual evaluation by a single person. ABI requires all of this to change. “Analysts need to be given tools to help them find the intelligence ‘nuggets’ in vast data sets,” DeTroye continued. “Reporting systems need to be changed to integrate more closely with operational forces leadership. Analysts need to be able to re-task collection assets ‘on the fly’ to gather data on unexpected activities or patterns that are found in the data. And then if all that has happened is that more activities are discovered without any increased understanding of the adversary’s intent, even this new ABI methodology will be a failure. Tools will need to be developed to help the analysts use the knowledge gained to determine the adversary’s intent.” In DeTroye’s view, the dissemination phase also faces some of the most difficult policy and legal challenges. Here, he suggests, ABI will be most effective in an environment where all data is shared easily and quickly. “The dissemination processes we currently have in place are hampered by a mix of restrictions left over from our stovepiped past and bureaucratic mindsets that view sharing as a loss of power and prestige.”

Multimedia Exploitation Given ABI’s contributions to the intelligence community, a number of companies are jumping in and offering ABI systems and solutions. SAIC bills itself as having many solutions for the full range of ABI and multi-INT requirements. “We deliver persistent collection systems, including the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload and the Blue Devil multi-INT airborne system,” Zitz reported. The company has developed and fielded the Advanced Intelligence Multimedia Exploitation Suite to address the increasing demand for advanced full motion video, and the Advanced GEOINT Framework to seamlessly integrate multiple GEOINT sensor types into a consistent, thin-client environment. In addition, SAIC has developed the Advanced Analytics Suite to ingest real-time structured and unstructured data from multi-INT classified and open sources. In addition, the company recently introduced Critical Insight Solutions, an end-to-end suite of big-data optimization tools and

expertise for large organizations looking to bring order and clarity from massive amounts of disparate data in real time. SAIC provides its customers this offering for real-time big data ingest, processing, analysis and predictions of what comes next. “These highly tailorable tools include DigitalEdge, Scale2Insight, DigitalEcho and SAIC Expert Services,” Zitz added. Northrop Grumman is focused on the needs of mission partners for defining, orchestrating and executing capabilities. This includes “smart “collection systems and sensors, automating data processing, and analysis.” “Our core customers include various intelligence agencies, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies,” radars detect, classify and track human and vehicular traffic for real-time and forensic analysis in this AGI partner (Suritec) White stated. “We’re bringing some of Mobile application, Hyperstar. Hyperstar analyzes and guides pattern of life analysis in support of activity-based intelligence, and is used to the best-of-breed technology, capabil- determine the presence and movement of insurgents and marine poaching activity. [Photo courtesy of AGI] ity and expertise from different sources and cross-sharing that with our customers.” AGI software applied to the large data set represented by the Northrop Grumman’s goal is to give the power back to the space catalogue processes thousands of continuously moving operational mission user. objects (spacecraft), and through the fusion of multiple sensors on “To accomplish this goal, we are developing intelligence tools the same object, assesses whether unusual behavior or maneuvers and applications that can plug-and-play with many legacy syshave occurred while modeling trending and maneuver prediction. tems,” White said. “We excel at developing smarter collection Further, the details and implications of that maneuver are reported systems and sensors, and developing the systems to process and in near real time to the analyst. This process is automated and runs capabilities to analyze the data—full end-to-end mission ABI.” in real time. Logos Technologies offers highly experienced ABI practitio“Since AGI software operates in four domains, it is possible to ners who are deployed in theater, as well as ABI training, tool automate cross-cueing between intelligence and assets,” Aves said. and tradecraft development. “This means a target of interest observed or identified through “Our ABI experts have, for example, provided analytic and one data set (such as Twitter data) can be used to trigger an imagtechnical support to OCONUS missions and served as coordinaing opportunity from a known aviation or space asset, in another tors for live ABI training exercises held at an interagency venue,” domain, since all mobile assets are depicted and modeled in AGI’s Marion explained. “In addition, we provide imagery from our software suite.” Kestrel wide-area sensor to support ABI training.” The BAE Systems task order, which was awarded in December Logos also provides tailored development, customization and 2012, falls under the NGA’s Total Application Services for Enterprise consultation on government and commercial off-the-shelf ABI Requirements (TASER) program. tools. In addition, it offers intelligent data indexing and storage BAE Systems’ ABI solution employs advanced software analysis solutions, to build technically robust and agile cross-domain tools integrated with COTS computing infrastructure to automate data archives. “These capabilities maximize data compression, the ingestion, storage and processing of large volumes of intelliwhile preserving intelligence value and maximizing the speed of gence data across multiple sources. This solution enables intelliquery and retrieval in networked and stand-alone implementagence analysts to better identify adversarial activity patterns, and tions,” he said. helps them achieve a greater understanding of the relationships between individuals, their activities and their transactions. BAE Systems’ ABI streamlines processes to enhance analyst productivGraphics-Rich Interface ity, rapidly turning data into actionable intelligence. The TASER-ABI contract focuses on the delivery of an ABI proIn its efforts to help implement an ABI methodology, AGI duction system, including engineering, system integration, and develops software technology that provides a graphics-rich application sustainment. BAE Systems has teamed with a number of interface for the depiction, collation and analysis of very large partners to deliver its solution, including Esri, Harris, HumanGEO, temporal and geospatially located, multi-domain datasets. Intelligent Software Solutions, Lightspeed Technologies, Pixia, “This means that data from a sensor (radar, imagery, Radiant Blue Technologies and Signal Innovations Group. O HUMINT) from any domain (land, sea, air, space) can be depicted and collated, with its associated or computed error bounds, in the AGI software framework for exploitation and further analFor more information, contact GIF Editor Harrison Donnelly ysis,” explained Peter Aves, Ph.D., AGI business development at or search our online archives for related stories at director.

GIF 11.3 | 23

Improvements in optics, platforms and software make sensors more valuable than ever for military and intelligence users.

By Peter Buxbaum GIF Correspondent

“The technological building blocks of these With clarity that would do credit to your highinnovations include higher-quality optics, more definition flat screen TV at home, electro-optical stable structures and the imaging device itself,” (EO) sensors are more than ever providing military said Chip Barnes, chief engineer for civil space and intelligence users with crisp, clear images transand technologies and operational space at Ball mitted from airborne and space platforms. Aerospace. Innovations in the sensors themselves, includBarnes pointed in particular to complemening the optics and focal plane arrays, the structures tary metal-oxide semiconductors (CMOS). “CMOS which attach the camera to a platform, and the softtechnology is the device that turns photons into ware and systems that process the output of the camelectrons, and the electronics behind CMOS turn eras, have contributed to the advancement of the end images into the kind of data that can get into an product. Steven Wein exploitation system,” he said. As the UAVs and other platforms used to these CMOS has driven a phenomenon in which the EO sensors get smaller, along with their payloads, so pixel pitches—the distances between groups of have the sensors themselves shrunk to accommodots in a digital image generated by EO sensors— date military requirements, without loss of quality. have decreased from seven microns to two microns These improvements are helping analysts and warfor less over the past decade. ighters with everything from scouting out landing “CMOS is allowing both smaller pixel pitches zones to developing clearer situational awareness and and increased functionality,” said Wein. “As the enabling persistent surveillance systems. pixel sizes shrink, the optics need to become much The military relies heavily on infrared (IR) sensor faster to maintain both high resolution and sensitechnology because of its day/night and all-weather tivity. Advances in the state of the art in fast, comcapabilities. But EO sensors and their associated sysChip Barnes pact, wide-field optics have been occurring to keep tems are playing an increasingly important role. up with these reduced pixel sizes.” “It is human nature to want to be able to truly see “On the tactical side, we see a trend toward higher definition the object of interest with sharp clarity,” said Steven Wein, Ph.D., and larger formats,” said Lon Celmer, manager of tactical soludirector of ISR strategic development at BAE Systems. “EO can tions business development at Ball Aerospace. “CMOS is enabling always provide higher resolution than IR in the same size package different types of missions such as full motion video. The matudue to wavelength considerations, and only EO can provide true rity and innovation in detectors enable higher performance with color, which is something from which the human brain derives a lower noise.” large amount of information.”

24 | GIF 11.3

Fields of View

SBSS was launched in September 2010, and has an expected orbital life of at least five-and-a-half years. EO sensors have also improved with regard to fields QuickBird, an implementation of the Ball of view and image resolution quality, noted Lafe Redd, Aerospace Global Imaging System 2000, provides director of engineering at General Dynamics Global 1-meter class panchromatic and 4-meter class multiImaging Technologies. “Through the use of high-end, spectral imagery over a broad area. A constellation of broadcast-grade technologies in our EO solutions, we three satellites owned and operated by DigitalGlobe, have been able to better and more effectively meet our it is also used by the U.S. military. Ball Aerospace customers’ evolving mission requirements,” he said. designed and fabricated the 61-centimeter imaging “The integration of our EO sensors into our four- and Lon Celmer instrument. five-axis gyro-stabilized camera systems provides pre“The imaging system returns high-resolution cision pointing and stability at long-range for superior earth imagery from space,” said Barnes. “The system collects pantarget identification.” chromatic and multispectral stereoscopic data over a large field of Highly stable structures, which provide stability under varying view with rapid target selection.” environmental conditions, are also contributing to advances in EO The data is used for military surveillance, as well as such civil technology. “Structures made from graphite epoxy and silicon carbide applications as mapping, agricultural, urban planning and weather offer high stability under varying thermal conditions, either on orbit research. or on aircraft,” said Barnes. “State-of-the-art beryllium-based optics BAE Systems provides the Autonomous Real-Time Ground are also very light weight.” Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) persistent surThese advances in EO sensors enable persistent surveillance of an veillance products, including sensors and airborne processors. BAE extended area of coverage at very high resolution. “Better instantaSystems equipment aboard ARGUS-IS, which was first tested aboard neous field of view allows for greater stand-off range, enabling a platan Army Black Hawk helicopter, consists of a high-resolution, wideform to maintain higher altitude and cover a larger area while still area, real-time video sensor, an on-board processing system and capturing quality high-resolution images,” said Redd. “This capabilground processing. The system was originally funded through conity provides the mission planner with more flexibility, increasing situtracts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the ational awareness and improving response time.” Air Force Research Laboratory. “Higher-performing systems pack an extremely large number of Earlier wide-area systems had either inadequate resolution or arrays into the sensor package, so that the system can persistently required multiple passes to get updates, noted Wein. “Very high-resstare at all of the area, all of the time, with both high resolution and Johan Hansson olution imaging systems required for vehicle and dismount tracking higher frame-rates,” said Wein. “Pixel pitches of a decade ago would typically have a soda-straw view that is too small for persistent coverhave created focal plane sizes that would be completely unmanageage,” he said. “The ARGUS-IS system overcomes these limitations.” able. Having extremely small pixels allows the system designer to General Dynamics’ wies camera systems provide real-time sitpackage all of these pixels into a reasonable size assembly.” uational awareness and long-range threat detection, noted Redd. Decreased pixel pitches and smaller focal planes have translated “V-Series camera systems help detect and identify entities and deterinto the ability to create smaller payloads without loss of capability, mine if a threat is hostile,” he said. “We are able to deliver COTS noted Johan Hansson, vice president for marketing and sales at Saab V-Series systems or custom-developed systems integrating missionNorth America. “Advances have been made just in the last couple of specific payloads.” years, with smaller payloads providing improved quality of image,” he Payload options include infrared sensors and lasers, and optional said. “This means you may use a smaller gimbal. Anything that fits system features that include GeoPointing and auto tracking. into a smaller envelope at a lighter weight with the same quality is great for us on the air frame side.” Saab North America is the maker of the small Skeldar, a rotary Activity-Based Intel wing unmanned aircraft. The Skeldar’s ability to hover or fly at low speeds benefits the collection of data from some types of sensors. Today’s EO technology facilitates persistent surveillance senAlso contributing to the advancements in EO technology, noted sors that can monitor areas up to the size of a medium-sized city Hansson, is advanced software that addresses vibration and enhances for extended periods of time. Because this generates large voland improves the resulting images. umes of data, on-board or other local processing of that data is useful in providing quick alerts to analysts, planners, commanders and warfighters. Space Surveillance “If a pattern of activity changes from the norm at a certain location, there might be something of interest occurring at that location,” Ball Aerospace has been providing EO sensors and instruments said Wein. “The airborne processor can detect the unusual activity for military applications for over 50 years, including the visible senand alert the user. The airborne system would then automatically sor payload for the Air Force Space Based Space Surveillance System start streaming live video of that location and also stream video on(SBSS), which provides constant space situational awareness on-orbit demand that plays back events leading up to that moment in time.” data collection. These kinds of functions are performed by BAE’s activity-based “SBSS is a space-based sensor with the ability to detect and track intelligence (ABI) system. “We believe ABI will be a critical processspace objects, spacecraft or other distant objects without interfering layer to be used in conjunction with persistent surveillance in the ence from weather, atmosphere or time of day,” said Barnes. “Ball future,” said Wein. Aerospace’s sensor allows for accurate determination of space objects.”

GIF 11.3 | 25

various sensors streaming real time to the end-user. The data is fused General Dynamics customers are looking to activity-based intellisuch that all of the sensor data from the various sensors continues to gence to provide real-time indications and warning to the warfighter, be co-registered to the specific object or location of interest, even as according to Redd. “We see the need to tie forward-deployed sensing the object moves.” to the enterprise analytics. Initially, these may be independent sensors with some back-end processing. However, we have also been focusing on exploiting the cloud to link analytics to data where the data resides, Innovations in Control and delivering the results directly to the user.” Thanks to the large volumes of data being generated by this genAlong with advances in EO sensors and their associated processeration of EO sensors, the vast majority of persistent surveillance ing have come innovations in control devices. video is stored on-board the sensor. That helps both in sparing bandKutta Technologies, for example, has developed a bidirectional width and avoiding drowning analysts in data. video transceiver, through which an operator can slew a camera to “Persistent coverage of vast areas, with adequate resolution and a particular location based on a graphical map interface on a laptop frame-rates, generates about a hundred times more data than will computer or handheld device. Kutta is also working on a universal fit down the pipe, even with moderate data compression,” said Wein. ground control station, which will be able to interoperate with a vari“The goal is to make this on-board database behave as a server in the ety of UAV systems. sky—such that users on the ground can sift through the data and rapThe Office of the Secretary of Defense has implemented a conidly access and pull down those specific areas of interest.” sumer-style app store where developers of UAV applications can proNot all of the data collected is immediately relevant or of interest vide innovations to the user community. Kutta’s contribution is a to the user. “To this end, the airborne processors are designed to look downloadable app that allows operators to control UAVs and their payfor cues such as moving target indication, or to watch a specific localoads in a point-and-click environment. tion of interest,” said Wein. “The benefit is that users don’t have to go through extensive train“In other words, they only send down the video feeds in real time ing to learn how to use the system,” said Doug Limbaugh, Kutta’s that are directly relevant and store the rest,” he continued. “Multiple chief executive officer. The company is also working on another app regions anywhere within the very wide field-of-view can be contindesigned to reduce data latency. uously watched by the airborne processor with virtual video perimBall Aerospace touts its Total Sight Flash LiDAR, an emerging eters. If something crosses a prescribed boundary, a real-time video technology, as the future of EO sensor systems. Total Sight Flash window can be spawned and sent to the ground for monitoring. The LiDAR is a real-time, full motion color light imaging, detection, and user can also go backwards in time and view events at that particuranging that combines light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors lar location by remotely accessing the on-board storage. and laser systems with real-time processing systems. This approach of thinking smartly about what is and is LiDAR uses laser light pulses to gauge distances not sent down the link prevents analysts from becomby measuring the time delay between transmission ing saturated with data.” of the pulse and detection of the reflected signal. An “We are developing tools to take care of data locally,” aircraft-mounted range finder swings back and forth said Hansson. “We are trying to filter data so that we collecting data on hundreds of thousands of points just don’t pump out everything to everybody. Most per second. The data returned by the LiDAR sensor data is now preprocessed on board the sensor itself or provides location data on an x-y-z axis, referred to as in the ground control station before being distributed a point cloud. to users.” “What separates our technology is our ability to High-fidelity EO imagery has become a critical acquire a greater number of points per square meter Jeff Schmidt component of a multi-sensor data-fused situational picand to display the results to pilots or transmit it to ture. “The clarity and precision pointing of EO sensors the ground in real time. With ordinary LiDAR, the allows for reliable target identification during daylight and low-light information has latency to the end user. You don’t know what you operations,” said Redd. have until you get to the ground,” said Jeff Schmidt, senior manager General Dynamics’ standards-based metadata allows integraof business development at Ball Aerospace. tion with Motion Imagery Standards Profile-compliant exploitation LiDAR also typically requires forward motion of the aircraft to tools. “These systems allow analysts to rapidly search for, identify and send and receive laser pulses. “Our system can create 3-D images by exploit critical mission data from various sensor types across mulpointing and staring, which is unique,” said Schmidt. “It is electronitiple platforms in order to create a comprehensive mission picture,” cally versus mechanically steerable, which is also an innovation. The said Redd. system is also platform agnostic. We have demonstrated these capabil“Data fusion is critical to the future of persistent surveillance,” ities on fixed and rotary, manned and unmanned aircraft.” said Wein. “Fusion is much more than merely having different sensors Total Sight Flash LiDAR can be used to do mapping, to view collocated on the same platform, with each behaving more or less as potential landing areas and to assess hazards, according to Barnes. its own stovepipe with side-by-side displays on the ground.” “But the technology is cost constrained right now,” he said. “More The ability to fuse the output of different sensors so that they coltechnology, such as less expensive lasers, steering systems and focal lectively behave as one system brings greatly enhanced capability. planes, need to be developed before it becomes mainstream.” O “One sensor senses and cues another sensor to place a tracking window around the moving object of interest,” said Wein. “The user on For more information, contact GIF Editor Harrison Donnelly the ground would have a single video window on the display with the at or search our online archives for related stories at live video and all of the relevant geo-registered information from the 26 | GIF 11.3

The advertisers index is provided as a service to our readers. KMI cannot be held responsible for discrepancies due to last-minute changes or alterations.

GIF RESOURCE CENTER Advertisers Index Ball Aerospace & Technologies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 DigitalGlobe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2 Lockheed Martin IS & GS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The SI Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 USGIF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Calender May 13-16, 2013 Geospatial World Forum Rotterdam, Netherlands May 20-24, 2013 GEOINT Community Week Washington, D.C. area

July 8-12, 2013 Esri International User Conference San Diego, Calif. September 16-18, 2013 Air and Space Conference National Harbor, Md.

GIF 11.3 | 27


Geospatial Intelligence Forum

Tom Sheridan Vice President, National Security Space The SI Organization, Inc. Tom Sheridan has over 35 years of government and military experience in space-related acquisitions, operations and requirements development. He has served as commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Air Force program executive officer for space. He retired from the Air Force in 2011 with the rank of lieutenant general. Q: At a time when most federal agencies are dealing with budget cuts, how can the Department of Defense and intelligence community benefit from investing in systems engineering and integration [SE&I] services? A: The expertise and activities associated with systems engineering and integration enable everyone involved to understand systems as a whole. Once you know what makes a system tick, you can identify weaknesses or shortcomings. This is the case for very complex systems, like a space system, as well as simpler systems, like a scheduling system. When it comes to an era of budget-cutting, SE&I provides a detailed knowledge base from which to make educated decisions. Systems engineers and integrators understand the mission-critical components of a system and can pinpoint opportunities to drive cost savings. By leveraging SE&I expertise, customers can better determine where the cuts should come from and how to optimize systems for better performance or enhanced utility. Q: It seems that more and more contracts are procured using a lowest price, technically acceptable [LPTA] approach, but is LPTA an effective source selection process? A: It depends on what the customer is buying. If it’s fuel oil or copy paper, as a taxpayer, I’d hope the LPTA approach would be used. But, as a procurement becomes more complex, especially when there is research and/or development involved, a best-value approach becomes more important, and more appropriate, in my view. A very well-defined 28 | GIF 11.3

product, such as fuel oil or copy paper, doesn’t require engineering ingenuity to make a decision. Conversely, developing a brand-new set of intelligence product analysis tools or a new spacecraft does require critical thinking and innovation. If we step back and grade our procurements with respect to difficulty and risk, that would be a good way to help decide whether an LPTA approach makes sense or not. Q: What integration and analysis challenges do agencies face as they add new data sources to their multi-INT operational picture? A: Whether data sources are satellites, aircraft, ground-based sensors or databases of existing information, as we move forward in the “connected age,” all sources become nodes on a network. Interfaces are no longer just point-to-point; they become a mesh of activities and connectivity. As we head in this direction, more and more things will tend to “bump into each other.” These issues need to be sorted out and arranged so all the data sources can work together seamlessly. A request for information may never take the same path twice, and the integration of dissimilar systems will require more advance planning to ensure systems and people can successfully work together. Q: Do “big data” solutions play a role in multi-INT analysis? A: Anyone who has bought a digital SLR camera is familiar with the big data problem. Now, instead of rationing your pictures,

you take pictures of everything—in high quality. That is the issue today, the ubiquity and availability of data. Unlike the past when there was a dearth of data, our challenge today is to extract both value and intelligence from the terabytes and petabytes of structured and unstructured data. At the SI, we are engaging our mathematicians and engineers to extract value from the volume, variety and velocity of data collected by leveraging our advanced analytics capabilities. In addition, we are helping our customers address another big data issue— how to manage the storage, retrieval and archival of data. Q: What is the SI doing to provide customers mission assurance in a budget-constrained environment? A: We are examining each system or system-of-systems where we have responsibility and advising customers if and where they might be able to trim activities without hurting their mission. Our vantage point as systems integrators helps us know the details and interrelationships of programs and enables us to provide critical thinking and advice. Q: How does collaboration between government and industry play a role in the future of national security space systems? A: Just the same as it always has. I’ve been a part of national security space for over 30 years. I’ve always viewed it as a partnership between industry and government. No one sector can be successful on its own. We have to collaborate and rely on each other– it’s in our DNA. Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add? A: National security space remains a bellwether series of capabilities to provide the U.S. and our allies incredible access and insight into world situations as they arise. This type of rapid global insight is critical to defending our freedom in the complex world in which we live. O


May/June 2013 Volume 11, Issue 4

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

Dr. Joseph F. Fontanella Director, U.S. Army Geospatial Center and Army Geospatial Information Officer U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Features: Imagery Software

The Army is working to streamline the delivery of maps and imagery through the use of specialized geospatial products that work with the Army’s primary mission command information system, known as Command Post of the Future.

LiDAR Systems

A number of companies are developing new capabilities for light detection and ranging (LiDAR) analysis software.

Big-Data Analysis

The power of big-data analysis is transforming understanding of geospatial intelligence.

Full Motion Video

Standards for image quality will be crucial to improving the intelligence value of full motion video.

Bonus Distribution GEOINT Community Week U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation May 20-24, 2013 Washington, D.C. area

Insertion Order Deadline: April 29, 2013 • Ad Materials Deadline: May 6, 2013



The SI has proven techniques to mitigate the impact of anomalies, extend the life of operations, and identify bottlenecks in space and ground systems. We specialize in complex challenges and exceeding expectations.

Power of Integration

Š 2013 The SI Organization, Inc.