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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Front-Line Intelligence

For the warfighters at the front line, mobility, flexibility and ease of use are key elements in intelligence deployment
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By Barry Hochfelder

We all know that the Cold War is over. Sadly, there are "hot" wars around the globe. The U.S. government has had to adjust to modern days and ways of warfare. It's summarized in a Department of Defense (DOD) report titled "Military Transformation: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (updated Jan. 17, 2003)."

The military, including its intelligence community, had to shift from preparing for a scenario of the former Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, to what it now calls "21st century adversaries, including entities who conduct or are otherwise associated with terrorism." A key component of this transformation is DOD's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability.

The report cites the DOD's 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which pointed out: "We cannot predict with a high degree of confidence the identity of the countries or actors that may threaten (our interests and security.)"

It went on to say that "the U.S. is no longer physically protected by distance from its adversaries. It sees a 'broad arc of instability' from the Middle East to Northeast Asia, where non-state entities whose activities are damaging to U.S. interests (drug traffickers, terrorists, etc.) are growing in strength and finding safe-haven in weak and failing states. In addition, new technologies (especially information technologies and those related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or enhanced high-explosive weapons) are increasingly within the reach of potential adversaries, and warfare may extend to space and cyber space."

Technology, of course, also is on "our" side and the DOD understands that. "The huge increases in both information processing technology, including data collection and storage, and communications technologies such as increased bandwidth and networking, are equipped, organized and employed."

For the warfighters at the front line, mobility, flexibility and ease of use are key elements in intelligence deployment. One of the newest tools, released in February, is the 3.1-pound VideoScout-MXR from L-3 Interstate Electronics Corp. (San Diego, Calif.).

"For the average forward-deployed operator, it's getting easy to have a video tool in hand so guys at the front of intel collection can take advantage of digital video, leverage it, and communicate to a wider group," says Larry Vernec, VP Marketing and Business Development at L-3.

"The problem we're solving is that a lot of sensors are out there sending videos around," he adds. "People say, 'We've got video.' Well, what's next? Now what? How are you improving life? How are you making the base safer? How are you making things more secure?"

The VideoScout-MXR includes an integrated receiver to enable forward personnel to directly receive, exploit and disseminate video and telemetry data from multiple Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) sensors including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). VideoScout-MXR deliveries will begin the second quarter of 2009.

L-3's VideoScout-MXR allows personnel to display live video with full DVR features, extract subset video, create images with telemetry data, and annotate and archive video and images for easy search, retrieval and dissemination. To help INTEL operations share a common view of the battle space, VideoScout-MXR has capability to connect to a network, large monitors, keyboards or peripherals to create a full, shared workstation environment. In addition, VideoScout-MXR's interoperability allows users to access and use common Windows applications on the same system or via network.

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