TechWeb

Air Force To Build Intelligence Sharing Cloud

Apr 25, 2011 (11:04 AM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=229402189


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The Air Force is building a cloud-based system aimed at sharing intelligence information across multiple military and federal sources.

The military arm has awarded Intelligent Software Solutions (ISS) a $49.9 million contract to use its Web-Enabled Temporal Analysis System (WebTAS) to help the Air Force gather and analyze intelligence information it uses to plan and execute missions, according to ISS.

ISS also will expand its work with the United States Central Command's (CentCom's) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations around the world by using WebTAS to assess how they can better support the overall intent and activities of mission commanders, the company said.

The new one-year contract is part of a $500 million award ISS received in 2009 from the Air Force for various services to help it process, analyze, and visualize intelligence information coming from disparate sources. The linchpin of that award is WebTAS, a software toolkit that provides visualization, integration, and analysis of disparate data in a service-oriented architecture-based platform.

The award will include the creation of a private cloud-based information-sharing system that eventually will touch multiple federal intelligence organizations, integrating how information is shared with the Air Force, according to ISS.

The federal government is increasingly using the cloud for its cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and other benefits, but agencies that handle sensitive information tend to opt for private rather than public options. The U.S. Army, for instance, is consolidating multiple e-mail systems on a private cloud hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Evidence of the risks with using a private cloud surfaced last week when Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud suffered an outage for several days. However, while several federal agencies have websites hosted on EC2, most were largely unaffected by the problems.

The new WebTAS project also will provide a bridge between various services being developed under the larger project, which includes more than 100 projects for 70 different Air Force user communities, according to ISS.

"This is part of the U.S. military and government's goals of improving their ability to 'connect the dots' across disparate information networks," said Carl Houghton, vice president, strategic initiatives, ISS in a statement.

In addition to intelligence analysis tools, other projects the larger WebTAS contract supports including providing IT systems and support for advanced research and development for complex event processing and the development and deployment of next-generation command and control applications, according to ISS.

ISS also provides IT and support to U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, with more than 120 personnel in those regions.