Beefed-up command and control system doubles soldiers' battlefield vision

The newest version of the Global Command and Control System (GCCS) recently fielded by the Defense Information Systems Agency nearly doubles the number of friendly or enemy forces that a user can view, according to a top DISA official.

Users can now view about 11,300 tracks—- movements of friendly or enemy ships, planes or ground combat units—- on the Common Operational Picture (COP) screen of GCCS Version 3.0, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Gary Salisbury, commander of DISA's Joint Interoperability and Engineering Organization. Users could only view 5,536 in older versions.

Users also will have more flexibility in selecting which tracks they want to display in the new version of GCCS. Older versions arbitrarily allocated a certain number of tracks to air, marine and ground forces.

Salisbury said DISA plans further enhancements to GCCS this summer, when it will add the capability to display tracks of theater ballistic missiles (TBMs) such as the Scud missiles that Iraq fired at Israel and at U.S. forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. DISA plans initially to install the TBM capability on GCCS systems used by U.S. Forces Korea and plans to test it in a large-scale exercise called Operation Ulchi Focus Lens in August.

Although DISA is developing a system similar to GCCS, called the Global Combat Support System, to manage logistics functions, Salisbury said the agency has started to add the ability to draw data on aircraft movements from the Global Transportation Network to the GCCS COP.

Salisbury said DISA is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to adapt advanced technologies to GCCS, including "video ingestion," which involves the storage of massive amounts of daily, real-time video observations of potential targets, and video archiving systems that users can access to more easily archive and then locate specific data from reconnaissance platforms such as Predator unmanned aerial vehicles currently in use in Bosnia. DISA expects to add this capability to GCCS within the next 18 to 36 months, Salisbury said.

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