HomeNewsArticle Display

Looking to a cloud to share data faster

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- The Kill Chain Integration Branch here has begun an experimentation campaign to look at ways to provide warfighters data in the fastest and most efficient ways possible.

The campaign, Data-to-Decisions, is in its early stages but, according to officials, is already showing the potential to provide promising results.

“Currently, once data is gathered, it’s sent back for data processing and analysis,” said Capt. Elizabeth Simkus, the Data-to-Decisions lead engineer. “It could take a while before that information gets back to a warfighter; we’re working to make that a more immediate result.”

The projects under this campaign are all part of a larger effort referred to as “combat cloud,” which aims to bridge the gap between different types of data and how that data is communicated across multiple platforms.

This model is different than the typical cloud models provided by commercial cloud vendors, Simkus explained. It is more of a hybrid approach, consisting of multiple models in which data is processed, stored and communicated in a dynamic, distributed environment.

“Our network model is very challenging to solve because it has to account for the ever-changing air and ground environment in order to be fully integrated and optimized for data correlation,” she said.

However, it’s putting that piece in place that will help drive results.

“This, in turn, will help to enable faster and more efficient decision making in a wartime environment,” said Capt. Brenton Byrd-Fulbright, the Data-to-Decisions program manager. “One project the team is looking at is called the Tactical Cloud Reference Implementation, or TCRI.”

TCRI is a software platform, which will provide a common framework to manage operational data while also performing analysis on this data through the use of automated, mathematical algorithms and analytics. Essentially, the concept is similar to how people utilize clouds to sync different data on their numerous smart devices such as tablets and smartphones. The difference is TCRI will largely function automatically, with little user input, and will only provide information that the user designates as relevant.

“It’s basically putting the architecture (in place) for the combat cloud,” Simkus said.

Simkus said that it will incorporate all commercially available, open source software. This provides myriad benefits including utilization of industry expertise and flexibility in design.

“This will also keep the Air Force on pace with industry innovation,” Byrd-Fulbright said.

The TCRI program is a joint program being worked on by the Air Force, Army, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Navy. Although originally led by the Navy, the Air Force will be sharing the lead role as future development progresses. Simkus said the team here is constantly looking at and leveraging the versions that are being released by the other organizations.

This past July, the team used the Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center (HCIC) to conduct an experiment with TCRI. In the experiment, the team collaborated with a local company, Avwatch, to demonstrate a new proof of concept: the ability to use a cloud to share data from a plane to a processing node on the ground. The team utilized an airborne TCRI laptop to ingest imagery taken by the aircraft camera and passed the imagery down to the HCIC. Along with this, the TCRI laptop on the aircraft also ingested GPS data from the plane’s location as it was taking images and passed this information as well.

Byrd-Fulbright said the result was a live update of the aircraft’s current and historical position or “airtrack” as it took the images, along with the actual images overlaid on a visual interface.

“The importance of this is that this concept can be utilized to help optimize imagery collection and data dissemination on an airborne platform via the cloud’s ability to sync data with other relevant information from other sources,” he said.

The team is planning another experiment, using the HCIC, where they connect to multiple nodes, this time passing along not just information, but utilizing analytics to automatically identify specific objects, as well as anomalies that may be missed or hard to detect with the human eye.

Currently, the team is also looking to set up a software development and modeling and simulation environment at the HCIC.

“Our software engineers would like to use it to develop and write code,” Simkus said. “And although we’d be the first users, once it’s stood up and functional, the idea would be that it would be available to other programs for use as well.”

In addition, she also mentioned the team is creating a new Hanscom initiative called the Hanscom Academic Cloud Team (HACT). This initiative will be a partnership between Hanscom, the Massachusetts Open Cloud consortium, and other non-local universities that would like to collaborate on research and development efforts towards cloud computing concepts, models and prototypes.

Officials say this initiative leverages the knowledge of students from top universities and industry partners. The HACT will also attempt to provide opportunities for Hanscom engineers to work side by side with some of the best software developers and engineers through internships and advanced academic degree programs in an effort to bring that expertise back into the military.

“We want to collaborate and see where military, academia and industry can help each other,” Simkus said. “The research others are doing could help with military applications.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @DefenseOne: JOIN US TODAY @ 2 P.M. ET when our “State of Defense” series continues with a live interview featuring U.S. Air Force Chief…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Teaching service members how to effectively shoot weapons. That’s the job of Combat Arms Training and Management. Watch…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Team - 25 years ago today, we lost 24 U.S. & Canadian Airmen in the Yukla 27 crash. It was a surveillance training so…
Twitter
Taking care of Airmen and their families! https://t.co/AVeidzDPcV
Twitter
Wherever Airmen go, the Federal Voting Assistance Program ensures their voice is heard. @FVAP works to ensure servi… https://t.co/tkJts1yo3Z
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: For #HispanicHeritageMonth, we're celebrating the stories of Hispanic & Latino Airmen! @188thWG SSgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez…
Twitter
#TotalForce Airmen participate in night operations during a base-wide, total force exercise @HAFB. Airmen & pilots… https://t.co/kJYNKwHY7n
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: California fires/smoke no match for UTA Airmen - https://t.co/pJysQ6snRh (Story by the @940Wing) #ReserveReady #ReserveRes
Twitter
Whistleblowers are NOT insider threats. Learn the difference and how you can appropriately report questionable gove… https://t.co/AaTvBfHcTv
Twitter
SrA Denise Arabie, 319th Operations Support Squadron radar approach controller @319thRW, describes the importance o… https://t.co/zkwMx6Qw3i
Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
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
1,281,142
Follow Us