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$2.7 Billion Later, the Army’s Intelligence-Sharing Computer System Still Doesn’t Work

• Clay Dillow via

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.

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