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DARPA moves ahead with program to unify imaging and other battlefield intelligence sensors

Posted by John Keller

ARLINGTON, Va., 11 Dec. 2012. Intelligence analysts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are moving to the next phase of a program to design a next-generation intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) exploitation and resource management system that fills gaps in today’s military intelligence analysis capability.

DARPA released a broad agency announcement (DARPA-BAA-13-07) for the second phase of the Insight program to refine and mature technologies developed in the program's first phase intended to help fill gaps in today’s military intelligence analysis capability.

Phase-one Insight contractors are the BAE Systems Electronic Solutions segment in Burlington, Mass.; and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) in McLean, Va. The companies in spring 2011 won a $12.9 million contract and a $14 million contract, respectively.

In the Insight program's first phase, BAE Systems and SAIC started designing a next-generation ISR exploitation and resource management system that may help U.S. intelligence experts detect threat networks, irregular warfare, and terrorist operations.

The companies developed technologies that combine intelligence information from imaging sensors, crowd-source and other social network or text-based sensors, and other sources for further analysis, and cross-cue different intelligence sources automatically.

U.S. intelligence-analysis systems today link intelligence sources to tactical operations centers manually by chat-based operator interaction, which can limit the ability to deal with fast-moving and rapidly changing threats.

The Insight program seeks to rectify this situation by integrating human and machine reasoning into intelligence equipment to blend operator knowledge and reasoning into intelligence-processing computers when dealing quickly with complex data from different sensors.

BAE Systems and SAIC have built model-based behavioral correlation, modeling, prediction, and threat network analysis tools that combine intelligence information across many different sources automatically to improve the efficiencies of multi-intelligence sensors.

The have made progress in developing a unified data-management and processing environment that integrates new intelligence sensors and software algorithms.

While the first phase created the baseline system with an initial focus on counter-insurgency operations, the second phase not only will mature phase-one capabilities, but also will add additional capabilities for expanded missions.

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The next phase will analyze and use information from imagers and other kinds of battlefield sensors to help warfighters detect and identify threats by using behavioral discovery and prediction algorithms.

The next phase also will detect and identify enemy networks by integrating information from all possible sources, including military intelligence repositories, human reporting, and space, air, sea, and ground-based sensors.

Among the program's goals are replacing existing stovepipes with an integrated ISR system; provide tools and automation to increase analyst productivity; promote efficient collaboration among analysts; and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of individual analysts through a unified global ISR picture.

DARPA scientists are asking for an open, standards-based, multi-source, plug-and-play architecture to enable rapid integration of existing and emerging ISR technologies and make it easy to add, remove, substitute, and modify hardware and software components.

DARPA will brief industry on the Insight program's second phase on 18 Dec. in Chantilly, Va. Those who would like to attend the briefings should register no later than 14 Dec. 2012, which is this Friday. Register online at http://caci-conferences.com/default.aspx/insight201212.

For questions or concerns contact DARPA's Benjamin Cutler by e-mail at InsightPhase2BAA@darpa.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-BAA-13-07/listing.html.


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