The idea is simple enough: Create a cloud-based software tool that can comb through the entire universe of military intelligence reports for a given region, group, or individual and come back with actionable intel that battlefield commanders can use on the ground, and do it in realtime. But a couple of analysts that have used the system, as well as documentation obtained by Politico, show that the tool is hurting more than it is helping because it doesn't work properly. And that's when it works at all.
The Distributed Common Ground System, or DCGS-A as it's known in milspeak, was conceived as a means of parsing the reams of intelligence reports, drone data, and other battlefield reportage and delivering to commanders the intelligence they need right when they need it--even during actual combat activities.
So, for instance, if a unit is tracking an insurgent the system would allow a commander to pull up all the recent intelligence reports generated about that individual, and plot his activities or known whereabouts on a map for simpler geographical tracking. The commander could also quickly draw connections between that subject and others in the region, helping him to connect the dots and perhaps close in on the subject through his or her associations.
But according to analysts familiar with DCGS-A, it suffers from very fundamental problems. The search function doesn't work very well. The search program and mapping program aren't compatible and cannot share data. The hardware is also buggy and full of problems, like frequent crashes or failure to boot properly.
Some lawmakers are calling for the adoption of a second analytical system designed by Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley company founded by Stanford computer scientists and PayPal veterans, but thus far the Army and others in elected office have pushed back. The Army says DCGS-A is receiving software upgrades that will solve some of the glaring holes in its functionality. Besides, the brass argues, DCGS-A is already paid for--even though support and troubleshooting costs continue to mount.
Says one former intelligence officer interviewed by Politico: "Almost any commercial solution out there would be better."
Meanwhile in Pakistan a guy tweets about a helicopter and the general public learns about a team of SEALs taking out OBL.
So any one know which contractor built it?
There might be some security issues with this idea, but here goes nothing. Why not use a Google based but private search engine with a few tweaks in it for security and functionality and make the mapping programs compatible with it, or how about they ask Google to make a good, functioning, compatible search engine for the rest of the system. But that probably makes sense and is probably too efficient for the government give it any thought.
"The hardware is also buggy and full of problems, like frequent crashes or failure to boot properly"...So who makes the hardware Mr.Reporter?
Another example of american excess. Our military spending is going to drive this country in the ground. Americans need to vote to cut military spending about 75% of what it is now.
1) is being used already, it's called intelink... here's a review: impublished.org/intelink.htm
@boka : Not to say that some of the spending in the US military isnt frivolous, but I suggest you read up on government spending in the US. Our military budget is not our biggest expenditure...
I do have to say that this article is not up to the journalistic standards usually put forth by Clay.
Maybe he was having an off-day...
Anyone else catch the first guy in the picture playing a racing game? Where do I enlist?
@ Peabods ; He could very well be driving an autoloading, driverless tank. Then there are a couple other remote controlled vehicles that are in testing at a couple places. And it's not hard to find out where to enlist.
On Topic : So someone correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we pay 270 million dollars on this boondoggle? Is another 270 going to buy us something better than a room full of separately operated PC's? IF OUR MILITARY DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE SHOPPING FOR THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO SPEND ANY US TAXPAYER MONEY. IF THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY GETTING THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO SPEND ANY US TAXPAYER MONEY. IF IT DOES NOT WORK AS ADVERTISED, I WANT THE US TAXPAYER MONEY RETURNED TO THE PEOPLE.
Who made this crap? EVERY DAMN PIECE OF IT? I WILL FILE A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT TO RECOVER OUR MONEY. THINK AMERICANS WILL SIGN UP? I'm betting yes.
Oh, 2.7 BILLION? Oh, yeah, I'm filing. I'm tired of this crap.
@ quasi44, Thanks guy, i figured you would know i was kidding there...especially the enlisting part!