Task force shaping view of air threats

A unique task force is working on recommendations that would help weave

data from the individual military services into a cohesive view of air threats.

The Single Integrated Air Picture System Engineering (SIAP SE) Task

Force, chartered in October, will evaluate the way the services currently

integrate information from a variety of sensors. Within a year, the task

force will make engineering recommendations to ensure that all military

services continue to work together, using compatible processes, data and

systems.

The goal is to make sure combat forces receive a clear picture of airspace

and coherent information for decision-making.

The task force may have to create modeling tools for the military, and

task force officials also will need to make sure everyone in the Defense

Department treats the identification of targets and objects the same, according

to Air Force Col. Harry Dutchyshyn, the deputy SIAP SE systems engineer.

"I'm not trying to invent something new," Dutchyshyn said. "I want to

look at existing [systems] as a starting point. I want to try to influence

the development of new widgets" for 2010 and beyond.

The task force has the authority to hire as many as 30 engineers. It

received $4 million in funding in fiscal 2000, and budget proposals call

for it to receive $20 million in fiscal 2001, according to Dutchyshyn.

He called the SIAP SE Task Force, "a unique construct," because the

Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the individual military

services are "all interested parties," but the task force works for none

of them in particular.

The task force's initial budget comes from contributions of 22.5 percent

each from the Air Force, the Army, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization

and the Navy, with the Marine Corps adding another 10 percent, Dutchyshyn

said.

By December 2001, SIAP task force officials plan to make their recommendations

for a joint aerial tactical picture to the Joint Requirements Oversight

Council, Dutchyshyn said.

However, "People are strapped for resources," he said, so it will be

hard to get the services to implement the framework. He called the high-level

DOD approval behind SIAP SE a "stick" that task force officials would prefer

not to use to ensure compliance."

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