HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

Air Force Distributed Common Ground System

The Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS), also referred to as the AN/GSQ-272 SENTINEL weapon system, is the Air Force’s primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) collection, processing, exploitation, analysis and dissemination (CPAD) system. 
(U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS), also referred to as the AN/GSQ-272 SENTINEL weapon system, is the Air Force’s primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) collection, processing, exploitation, analysis and dissemination (CPAD) system. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Mission 
The Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS), also referred to as the AN/GSQ-272 SENTINEL weapon system, is the Air Force’s primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) planning and direction, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and dissemination (PCPAD) weapon system. The weapon system employs a global communications architecture that connects multiple intelligence platforms and sensors.  Airmen assigned to AF DCGS produce actionable intelligence from data collected by a variety of sensors on the U-2, RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and other ISR platforms.   

Features 
The Air Force DCGS is currently composed of 27 regionally aligned, globally networked sites. The sites have varying levels of capability and capacity to support the intelligence needs of the warfighter.  An Air Force DCGS Distributed Ground System (DGS) is capable of robust, multi-intelligence processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) activities to include sensor tasking and control.  It can support multiple ISR platforms in multiple theaters of operation simultaneously. A Distributed Mission Site (DMS) normally has specialized analysis/exploitation capabilities, limited sensor command and control (C2) capabilities, and may be limited to select platforms and/or sensors.  The Air Force DCGS PED Operations Center (DPOC) and 480th ISR Wing DCGS Operations Center (DOC) provide worldwide command, control, mission management and data dissemination allowing the Air Force DCGS to operate as a federated enterprise to meet worldwide intelligence needs. DGS and DMS sites are manned by a mixture of active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and coalition partner units working to provide an integrated combat capability. 

AF DCGS active-duty units are assigned to 25th Air Force (Air Combat Command), however AF DCGS employs a total force integration (TFI) concept for expanded capacity, using both Air National Guard units assigned to their respective states until activated by presidential order and classic associate Air Reserve intelligence units. The 480th ISR Wing, headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia,  is the Air Force DCGS lead wing and is responsible for executing worldwide Air Force DCGS operations. 

The individual weapon system nodes are regionally aligned and paired with corresponding Air Force component numbered air forces to provide critical processing, analysis and dissemination of intelligence collected within the numbered air force's area of responsibility; however, globally networked capabilities enable other DGS sites to execute missions beyond their numbered air force’s geographic area of responsibility. 

The 480th ISR Wing DOC relies on daily coordination with liaison officers embedded in worldwide theater command and control elements to ensure current knowledge of dynamic PED capacities. This ensures the weapon system remains operationally aligned to specific theater collection priorities, and intelligence missions are executed in keeping with the combined forces air component commander (CFACC), joint force commander air component commander (JFACC) and the joint force component commander-isr (jfcc-isr) apportionment and allocation to fully satisfy joint and coalition intelligence needs. 

Air Force DCGS participates in operations throughout the world, including those led by the UN, NATO, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Forces Korea, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Southern Command. 

Background
Air Force DCGS evolved from ISR programs dating back to the late 1960s, however the current weapon system traces its direct  lineage to the Contingency Airborne Reconnaissance System (CARS) established in 1992 at Langley AFB.  CARs was housed in approximately 27 deployable shelters and undertook deployments to Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) and Saudi Arabia.   In October 1994, ACC and the Pacific Air Forces signed an Organizational Change request (OCR) that stood up DGS-1 (Langley AFB), DGS-2 (Beale AFB), and DGS-3 (Osan AB). In 1996, CARS became AF DCGS.

Since its early inception, Air Force DCGS has evolved from a deployable system to a distributed ISR operation capable of providing world-wide, near-real-time simultaneous intelligence to multiple theaters of operation through a robust reachback communications architectures. The system integrates data collected by ISR platforms with exploitation performed by intelligence professionals to provide critical and actionable intelligence to leadership and supported commanders worldwide. Through a federated/distributed architecture, AF DCGS can move data between multiple worldwide sites to align intelligence production to meet ISR collection demands. Over the years, the Air Force DCGS weapon system and its predecessor systems have supported ISR operations in every major conflict in which U.S. forces have been involved. In addition, AF DCGS has provided intelligence exploitation during humanitarian and coalition partner operations via specialized products specifically cleared for release.  

General Characteristics 
Primary function: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance 
Major system contractors: Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, Leidos, UTAS and Houston-Fearless 
Major support contractors: Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, TASC, MITRE and General Dynamics 
Daily operational tempo:  more than 50 ISR sorties exploited, over 1,200 hours of motion imagery reviewed, approximately 3,000 Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) reports produced, 1250 still images exploited  and 20 terabytes of data managed daily 
Operational crew size per 12-hour mission: high altitude U-2 or RQ-4 multi-INT = 45; medium altitude MQ-1/9 multi-INT = 8.  Mission crews are tailored according to mission demands and supported by maintenance, communications and contractor personnel. 
Unit cost: approximately $750 million (includes facilities, equipment, communications fees, and costs associated with personnel) 
Initial operating capability: DGS-1: July 1994; DGS-2, July 1995; DGS-3, November 1996; DGS-NV, October 2001; DGS-4, February 2003; DGS-5, October 2004; DGS-KS, July 2006; DGS-AL and DGS-AR, November 2006; DGS-IN, September 2009; DGS-MA, December 2009, DMS-UT, Oct 2014
Inventory: five active duty DGS sites (DGS-1 through 5), four active duty DMS sites (DMS-GA, -MD, -HI and –GE), eight Air National Guard DGS sites (DGS-Ala., -Ark., -Calif., -Ind., -Kan., -Mass., two collocated with active duty sites), one Air National Guard DMS site and four Air Force Reserve units (all collocated with active duty sites). In addition, robust tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) development and test and evaluation 

 

 


(Current as of October 2015)

 

 

 

 

Engage

Twitter
Capt. Joseph Scerra, an F-15C Eagle pilot, is the first 159th FW pilot to complete a sortie w/ the F-35A. The miles… https://t.co/HCi9TnGn5S
Twitter
The 92nd Medical Group at @TeamFairchild, Washington, honed their skills during a week-long readiness exercise. Dir… https://t.co/RDEqLsy2hJ
Twitter
The Air Force Sustainment Center Contracting Directorate @RobinsAFB_GA hosted the First Look Program workshop. The… https://t.co/uhYMqYR5d5
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones launched her official Twitter account last week! Follow @UnderSecAF
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: #OTD we celebrate the official end of #WWII and the anniversary of the formal signing of the Instrument of Surrender abo…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Actions meeting words: In his confirmation hearing, SecAF Kendall said: “Our military is people first and foremost.” Y…
Twitter
Lt. Gen. Robert Miller, U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, visited the Center for Sustainment of Trauma & Readiness Sk… https://t.co/Pv571RpgaW
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF's message to #Airmen on their extraordinary efforts to evacuate U.S. citizens & others from #Afghanistan: "You off…
Twitter
The @39thAirBaseWing at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, reaches a milestone with its Agile Combat Employment program.… https://t.co/u4ucRL8duB
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: “We achieve deterrence by having a strong enough force that the potential enemy is afraid of us. That’s my job; to give…
Twitter
Airmen from Moody AFB, Georgia, conducted training near @SLDelta45 to prepare for operations supporting #SpaceX and… https://t.co/iBAAGOnsVn
Twitter
Reserve #Airmen from the @403rdWing at Kessler Air Force Base, Miss., joined over 250 Air Force Reservists and 4,0… https://t.co/yGq4xIPXbD
Twitter
A B-52 Stratofortress is rinsed off after a mission at Andersen AFB, Guam. Known as bird baths, this quick rinse… https://t.co/Q0N83eWt0V
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr was ceremoniously conferred a pin from the French Air and Space Force's Fighter Squadron 2/4 Lafayet… https://t.co/CLqypWZMPt
Twitter
#ICYMI - @USAF_ACC declared initial operational capability for the tactical air control party mobile communications… https://t.co/p09eQw9QXh
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: To date, @RamsteinAirBase has facilitated 42+ aircraft departures carrying more than 10,000 evacuees en-route to the USA a…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: With allies and partners, @INDOPACOM is committed to enhancing the stability in the Asia-Pacific region, by building secu…
Twitter
Aircraft and maintainers from across the #AirForce traveled to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to particip… https://t.co/w2xSJtXNr1
Twitter
RT @HollomanAFB: #Airmen continue to establish support facilities, while also creating additional infrastructure, for the arrival of Afghan…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,371,905
Follow Us