Spencer Edwards

The Electronic Systems Center of the US Air Force (USAF) has awarded contracts for further improvement in the capabilities of the distributed common ground/surface (DCGS) system integration backbone.

A small business innovative research technology transition contract was awarded in April 2012, followed by a development contract in May, for the supply of common, reusable security services, enabling operators to discover and retrieve information products based on their higher-level security access systems.

According to USAF, the DCGS integration backbone features a common set of services and standards, which are used to facilitate intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information sharing across the DCGS user community.

DCGS Multi-Service Execution Team Office Operations team leader, Brian Smith, said the DIB provides the DCGS with data discovery and retrieval services, which are capable of identifying the nature, location and retrieval path of the available information.

"Prior to the existence of DIB, personnel might have (had) to connect to and search different data sources one at a time in order to do their analysis. Now the different data sources are all searchable through the DIB federation," Smith added.

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The air force also released an updated version of DIB, called DIB v4.0 in March, which offers a flexible and extensible framework, called the distributed data framework (DIF) to enable rapid installation of new data sources and formats, ensuring compatibility with legacy capabilities of earlier DIB versions.

"This latest version of the DIB simplifies the integration of web service components and data sources. It also allows for greater data exposure to applications and interfaces such as widgets and portals."

Smith, however, stressed that the ultimate goal of the service is to ensure the availability of critical information.

"Data is spread across the enterprise with different access points and continues to evolve. And we need to ensure warfighters can retrieve what they need, when they need it."


Image: USAF Second Lieutenant Spencer Edwards reviews data demonstration from the DCGS integration backbone at Hanscom Air Force Base, US. Photo: US Air Force photo, courtesy of Rick Berry.