Agile Engineering Process assisting Multi Function Teams

Jan 29, 2013

Facilitating actionable intelligence at the lowest echelons has been a challenge that the Army has been working its way through since the earliest days of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, when it was determined that there was a dire need to disseminate and collate the plethora of human and signals intelligence that was being collected.

In response to the intelligence gap that existed, the Army created Multi–Function Teams that were introduced into the Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BfSB) force structure in 2006. The MfT construct provides multi–disciplined intelligence collection, exploitation and limited analysis to generate actionable intelligence and time–sensitive detection, tracking and locating of key targets while operating at the tactical edge.

However, the MfTs had challenges operating at the BfSB level because they could not reach out to lowest echelons where much of the available intelligence is gathered and they were limited in the intelligence support systems that were available to them, often having to rely upon upper echelons for intelligence needs. Although the MfTS had been in use for six years, a determination was made that in order to successfully support mission sets within the maneuver-enhanced Brigade Combat Team (BCT), BfSB, and the proposed Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade (E–MIB), MfT Soldiers would require a responsive, operationally adaptive, multi–disciplined, close-access intelligence collection and rapid, tactical site exploitation capability.

To support that effort, the Intelligence Center of Excellence (ICoE) conducted an extensive review and analysis of intelligence operations, current and future force structure, and gathered significant lessons learned from deployed Commanders and Soldiers. The totality of the data suggested that a Multi–function Team (MfT) construct consisting of four Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and three Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Soldiers fielded with an architecture–based, integrated, multi-intelligence (Multi–INT) capability was needed.

“MFTs can apply data collected on–site to theater or national level databases and receive an almost immediate or near real time response,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Todd White, SIGINT/EW Team Requirements Determination Directorate.

Agile Approach

MfTs in the maneuver element are slated to be stood up in 2014, which means the Army needs to find a way to deliver capabilities that could be utilized within that timeframe. However, developing a new system traditionally takes five to ten years to go from concept to full rate production.

In an effort to curtail the time it would take to get the critical capabilities into the hands of the MfTs and allowing them to become more effective, the Program Executive Office for Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S), in conjunction with their requirements partners, embarked on an agile engineering process that could cut valuable time and best identify material solutions.

“The process is leveraging existing program requirements and limited integration to develop an equipping strategy that provides collaborative multi–intelligence capabilities to the MfTs,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Slater, Product Manager Prophet. “We are looking to share processing and communications capabilities enabling the unique Intelligence Soldier with the ability to cross cue and rapidly share critical information.”

To ensure the MfT is properly equipped, existing intelligence and communication capabilities need to be incrementally modernized and integrated into more mission capable packages. ICoE and PEO IEW&S conducted a detailed requirements crosswalk based on current programs and quick reaction capabilities. It was determined that Multi–INT requirements to support MfT operations are already embedded in intelligence systems Capability Development Documents and Capability Production Documents as well as requirements for sensor data ingestion and Mission Command. The Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) collection, Processing Exploitation Dissemination (PED), and other sensor capabilities are contained in the current Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Automated Reporting and Control System (CHARCS), Biometrics/Forensics, and Prophet Electronic Support/Control program requirements.

Soldier Comparing Equipment with Afghani Soldier

Sgt. Jacob I. Sherman, a movement non-commissioned officer with the 622nd Movement Control Detachment, and Lt. Mohammed Tila, an executive officer with the 4th Kandak, 4th Brigade, 203rd Corp, compare thumb drives during a break on October 3, 2012 at Forward Operating Base Shank. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)

Rehearsal of Concept

Sgt. Jacob I. Sherman, a movement noncommissioned officer with the 622nd Movement Control Detachment, and Lt. Mohammed Tila, an executive officer with the 4th Kandak, 4th Brigade, 203rd Corp, compare thumb drives during a break on October 3, 2012 at Forward Operating Base Shank. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams

To support the increasing numbers of MfTs, it was determined that a rapid equipping strategy was needed, referred to as Pursuit and Exploitation (P&E). Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) ICoE, headed by TRADOC Capability Manager (TCM) Intelligence Sensor (IS), in conjunction with PEO IEW&S supported by PEOs Command Control Communications–Tactical and PEO Enterprise Information Systems , led a Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drill to initiate the rapid acquisition process which was informed by adhering to system of system engineering (SoSE) principles.

The ROC Drill, very similar to a Customer Interview in the system engineering process, in which requirements are gathered and functionally decomposed, led to the creation of a Capability Need (CNs) list. More than 200 CNs were collected which highlighted capabilities required to support MfTs through all phases of operations including humanitarian missions. Those CNs were then refined via two non–traditional System Requirements Reviews (SRRs) down to 73 core capabilities.

Traditionally a SRR is a multi–disciplined technical review to ensure that the system under review can proceed into initial systems development, and that all system requirements and performance requirements derived from the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) or draft Capability Development Document (CDD) are defined and testable, and are consistent with cost, schedule, risk, technology readiness, and other system constraints. For P&E, the SRRs were conducted to ensure all P&E CNs were understood, achievable, and executable to support the equipping strategy which included near term time–synchronized modifications (leveraging Army Regulation 750–10 “Army Modification Program”) to existing Programs of Record and to meet long term end state objectives.

Additionally, through the SRR process, each CN was traced to existing Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System approved CDDs, Capability Production Documents (CPDs), to ensure that the capability was fielded or being developed and therefore did not initially require a new validated requirement. In parallel, “To Be” and incremental architectures were developed to define the functional architectures, including system configuration, internal and external interfaces, and system elements to support design decisions. The architectures also assisted the identification of high risk items, and what trade analyses were required to be conducted immediately.

For example On–The–Move (OTM) communications was identified as a high risk item. Consequently a quick turn trade analysis was conducted between alternative variants of the Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN–T) architecture to identify which one would support the P&E Communication CNs collected through the ROC drill and refined during the SRRs.

Utilizing the ROC Drill, two SRRs, and architecture products assisted the team to identify potential low risk and affordable materiel changes to PoRs in support of an FY14 BCT MfT First Unit Equipped date. In addition, this new rapid acquisition process informed by SoSE indentified a time–synchronized incremental modernization strategy that provides prioritized capabilities affordably over time. In applying such a process, leadership was able to rapidly understand the technical boundaries and potential cost over time to support critical acquisition decisions.

The next step is to present all the results developed through the process to the Department of the Army to identify if the equipping strategy, which includes early materiel modifications to Programs of Record followed by an incremental modernization strategy, is a viable option to equip MFT’s by the end of FY14.

The P&E capability which is the result of this rapid engineering process may satisfy the existing Multi–INT collection gaps identified in the Intelligence Warfighting Function Initial Capability Document (ICD) at the BCT and BfSB where risk to the force is greatest.


P&E is projected to provide a network and enterprise–enabled collection asset capable of generating actionable intelligence while on the move (OTM), at the halt (ATH), at the quick halt (ATQH), and on the objective (OTO) using common core, modular plug–and–play, rapidly reconfigurable, software definable hardware solutions within a PED architecture with connectivity to the tactical edge. This will provide MfTs the capacity to optimize and synchronize intelligence operations; rapidly detect, track, and report high value targets (HVTs/HVIs) in a timely manner; and access time–sensitive data in support of precision targeting and follow–on operations. The P&E capability will also enable MfTs to communicate with and cross–cue aerial assets as part of an Integrated Sensor Coverage Area (ISCA) to generate precise and timely actionable intelligence in response to the Commanders’ Critical Information Requirements (CCIR).

“The architecture and integrated systems provided under the P&E concept will greatly reduce the latency between the point of capture, follow–on exploitation and analysis,” said White. “Additionally, P&E will close the gap between the collector or operator on the ground and high level analysts in CONUS or sanctuary locations.”

Systems currently in the inventory that could be utilized by the emerging MfTs with some modifications or limited additions include: Prophet Enhanced, CHARCS, WIN–T, Nett Warrior and Biometrics and the Distributed Common Ground System–Army.


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