Interop On A Grand Scale - @

Interop On A Grand Scale


Kristi Savino | | Tuesday, June 26, 2007

CWID 2005 Tests New Technologies for Unified Operations

A radiological dispersal device (RDD) explodes at the Port of Seattle. Law enforcement immediately taps into NICACS (National Incident Control and Action Communication System) to alert other responders and the command center of the spreading disaster. Military and civilian agencies rapidly plan their next move in a coordinated approach, using NICACS as a vehicle for communications.

This simulated attack was part of one demo at the annual Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) 2005. NICACS is a mass-alert system that disseminates information across multiple communication systems and groups. It would also enable law enforcement to use reverse-9-1-1 and would alert command centers as required, using existing communication systems among diverse federal, state and local organizations. In Photo A, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard studies the simulated RDD attack and launches the alerting system accordingly.

On June 20, the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) hosted the CWID 2005 media day at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo., and other designated locations. Originally formed in 1994 and previously known as the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID), the annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff event is designed to conduct interoperability trials and test new technologies that will enhance homeland security/defense and response to disasters and attacks. The U.S. military, federal and local agencies, and international allies are all coalition partners. For this exercise, the term coalition applies to government agencies and first responders, as well as to traditional military groups.

Private companies may apply to bring their technology and interoperability solutions to CWID. The CWID Senior Management Group reviews the applications and selects companies to participate in the trials and demonstrate their new products for CWID assessment. According to its organizers, ˙CWID 2005 demonstrates the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance solutions developed by private industry that will enhance interoperability between the military, first responders, and our strategic allies.Ó

CWID 2005, which took place from June 13Ï23, included federal and local law enforcement and emergency personnel. International partners, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and NATO member nations, also participated, with test sites spread throughout their areas.

The U.S. Navy at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego also took part in CWID as the Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) in the Coalition scenario and NORTHCOM Naval Forces in the homeland security/defense scenario (see Photo B). Members of the National Guard Bureau, Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, U.S. Navy, U.S. Navy Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps, German Navy and New Zealand Navy conducted performance evaluations of various technologies and responded to simulated terrorist attacks, such as the RDD scenario in Seattle.

The soldier in Photo C tests the Masking Shunt, a complex cyber-defense device developed by HQ Joint Forces NZ, meant to outsmart hackers who have become sophisticated enough to break through firewalls. The Media Access Control (MAC) address, which all defensive devices and firewalls contain, is a vulnerable number that identifies the vendor and is easily obtained via the Internet. The Masking Shunt scrambles the MAC address and replaces it with the addresses of other devices, making it difficult for hackers to find the key that unlocks the door, so to speak.

The Joint Warning and Reporting Network (JWARN) test was designed to demonstrate rapid military and civilian chem/bio information sharing. The sponsor was the Joint Project Manager Information Systems (JPM IS). JWARN is a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) information system providing connection from sensors to a common operational picture to warn of and report on CBRN events. JWARN Block 1D is currently in use by the U.S. Military in Iraq.

For CWID, JWARN incorporated both civilian and military systems to enable crucial information sharing regarding the agent_s impact over time. The JWARN trial featured emergency responders and sensor networks providing chemical and radiological event information to the NORTHCOM action officer for analysis. The action officer removed sensitive military information before releasing the data to civilian agencies. Civilian responders in various demonstration locations were notified and connected to the Webbased JWARN service to receive the timebased plume information. This process enabled the rapid assessment and development of response plans according to the hazard prediction model (plume) generated by the JPM IS Joint Effects Model, illustrated in Photo D.

Instaknow Active Collaboration Engine also went through trials at CWID this year. Like JWARN, it provides information sharing, but additionally generates a detailed situation report of the event. A demonstration of the program included a simulated chemical spill and laid out the response options and information. Users could initiate an automatic conference call, pull information from other sources such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and give instructions (e.g., ˙Isolate 900 feetÓ) according to a pre-assigned I.D. number (based on the type of event and such details as wind direction).

In a classified area, other CWID participants performed additional trials of communication and surveillance technologies. German Navy Commander Dirk Siebenmarck, who played the role of battle watch captain of the CFMCC (Photo E, seated, left), is surrounded by other international and local participants testing these technologies. He explains that although the demonstration is run through the United States, other member countries have the opportunity to test new tools in a multinational environment.

These personnel test satellite imagery software with a variety of applications, such as humanitarian operations (e.g., post-tsunami assessment of destruction and recovery) and targeting. Software programs for encrypting outgoing information also underwent trials at CWID. One such program, PGP Universal, is an automatic security architecture that operates without command or first responder intervention. The information is then decrypted on the other end, with different levels of information included, depending on the classification level of the receiving party (see Photo F).

After the trials, those technologies determined by CWID working groups to warrant further evaluation are put on a list for more research. Three teams of assessors evaluate the success of their relevant trials. For example, the interoperability assessment team observes data exchanges and must ensure that the data are processed correctly by the receiving source. If the technology is accepted for use, it_s scheduled for implementation within the next six to 18 months.

CWID organizers believe that the demonstrations will validate existing technologies and give rise to new processes. The intention is to enhance and guarantee interoperable communications in a variety of crisesƒsomething vital to successful coordination at the local, state and federal levels.

The CWID 2005 Final Report, a formal assessment magazine, will be made available to CWID participants and interested parties in fall 2005. For more information on the demonstration, visit

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