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Analysis brings information faster to warfighters

by Staff Sgt. Amanda Savannah
Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 06 Public Affairs

4/21/2006 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- Fusion for the Air and Space Operations Center is one of many important initiatives currently being tested here during Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006.

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance analysts are testing the Predictive Awareness and Network-Centric Analysis for Collaborative Intelligence Assessment advanced technology demonstration. The analysis, known as PANACIA, provides integration of mature fusion and reasoning engines to support the warfighter in an AOC weapons system and the Air Force-Distributed Common Ground System.

PANACIA helps warfighters because at any given time, they will be able to receive information they need faster, said Col. Mike Canna, ISR division chief for JEFX.

“In the past, each division (within the combined air operations center) only knew their own information and ISR analysts would have to go to each section for that information,” Colonel Canna said. “The only time everyone saw the whole battlefield was during briefings. PANACIA brings all that data together. Analysts can now automatically review the information, turn it into intelligence and get information back to the warfighter faster.”

The fusion in the center initiative is made up of two main elements -- PANACIA and a tactical fusion cell at Langley Air Force Base, Va., the colonel said. PANACIA is used by analysts in the combined air operations center's ISRD and at Langley to correlate information received from multiple sources.

While PANACIA is proving a valuable tool for information sharing, the link back to the fusion cell has evolved during JEFX ’06, the colonel said.

“Initially it was believed the TFC would provide direct support to the combat operations division,” Colonel Canna said. “However, in practice we’ve found the real utility for the TFC is as an information source supporting the analysis, correlation and fusion cell in the ISRD. We’ve found that by the time we receive information from the TFC in the ISRD, we’ve already passed the actionable intelligence to the combat operations floor. The value of products from the TFC has been to support the organic intelligence analysis function in the (air operations center).”

The definition of “fusion” is, in a way, also being developed here, said Capt. Curtis Madeley, chief of the ISR analysis correlation and fusion team.

“Fusion is the bringing together of various types of information and intelligence and matching it up; it’s almost like using triangulation to develop an assessment. Together, the team comes up with a current picture of combat operations and tries to predict the enemy’s actions,” Captain Madeley said.

Fusion for the air operations center should also improve the commander’s predictive battlespace awareness. This gives the commander an overarching view of what could impact current plans and helps better predict the enemy’s course of action, Captain Madeley said. 

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operators said they are excited about the analysis program because it “helps them provide a better picture to the commander quicker,” Colonel Canna said.

“This will allow us to collaborate information with other division operators,” Captain Madeley said. “For example, if one analyst sees a group of people talking, and another sees suspicious movement, PANACIA helps us bring those pieces together to determine if the activity is related. It definitely has the potential to make us better at supporting the commander.”

JEFX is an Air Force chief of staff-directed series of experiments that combines live, virtual and constructive air, space, naval and ground force simulations, and technology insertion into a near-seamless joint and coalition warfighting environment. This highly focused, multinational, multiservice experiment rigorously assess and makes recommendations on selected capabilities that fill identified gaps or produce desired effects in the battlespace, Colonel Canna said.

The combined air operations center is the experiment’s environment, designed to execute the air and space component of a war, combining operators and systems from all different air assets and coalition forces to make one integrated system. The goals of this experiment are to better integrate processes, expand the use of data links and extend networks to link the operational and tactical levels of execution.