Tactical Homepage Operations 

by Chief Warrant Officer Three Gregory Gluck

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

The traditional problem associated with providing timely intelligence to tactical commanders is the inadequate communications methods available to the intelligence community for transmitting the data. The 1st Cavalry Division G2 and analysis and control element (ACE) has developed an intelligence dissemination method that has proven highly effective in supporting the subordinate commanders. The method of dissemination we have adopted is the tactical homepage which works on the client-server principle.

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Figure 1. Products and Databases on the 1st Cavalry Division ACE's Homepage.

Previously, the ACE has used various methods of intelligence dissemination including tactical FM voice communications, tactical facsimile, and file transfer protocol. All of these methods ultimately proved to be too time consuming, labor intensive, unreliable, and most importantly, not timely.

Equipment and Operation

The tactical homepage resides on a standard Sun Sparc 20P4MTM stand-alone computer, using hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). The server connects directly to the division's Multiple Subscriber Equipment (MSE) tactical local area network (TACLAN). This provides connectivity at the Secret level to the entire division.

During field and contingency operations, the server connects to the division's MSE LAN as well as to the TROJAN Special Purpose Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal (SPIRIT) LAN. Connection to the TROJAN SPIRIT LAN provides the division with wide-band high-speed access to the corps' homepage and to national-level intelligence databases.

Subordinate commands (our clients) access the server through the MSE LAN using a personal computer (PC), usually a laptop, equipped with a LAN card and a commercial net browser such as Netscape TM or Mosaic TM software. Clients can access the G2 server and retrieve current, near-real-time finished intelligence that has been processed and analyzed by the ACE. Clients have read-only access to intelligence information on the homepage. They can query the database and save the results to a file which can then be manipulated as required to meet their commanders' requirements.

Available Products

Our tactical homepage offers a number of products and databases. They are posted to the G2 server on a periodic basis and include the items in Figure 1. The homepage also supports numerous blank message masks such as: RFIs, SALUTE (size, activity, location, unit, time, equipment) spot report format, RECCEXREPs (reconnaissance exploitation reports), friendly situation reports, and obstacle reports. These message masks can be accessed by any client, filled out, and submitted electronically to the G2 for action.

Final Thoughts

The tactical homepage has revolutionized the dissemination of intelligence during division operations. The need for subordinate units to continuously query the division G2 for information has virtually come to a halt. Now subordinate commanders have access to the same picture of the battle as the division commander.

The functionality of the tactical homepage has been incorporated into the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS) Remote Workstation (RWS). In the future, when the ASAS-RWS has been fielded down to the battalion level, the tactical homepage will probably become obsolete. The ASAS-RWS has one distinct advantage over the tactical homepage: the ability to graphically display the current enemy and friendly situations and to manipulate and annotate that information to meet each individual commander's needs.

Chief Warrant Officer Three Gluck is currently the ASAS Chief, ACE, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 312th MI Battalion. His previous assignments include Enhanced Tactical Users Terminal Officer in Charge and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Collection Manager in Panama, ETUT OIC and HUMINT CM in Saudi Arabia, and SIGINT Analyst in Germany. CW3 Gluck has an associate of arts degree in Liberal Arts from Central Texas College. Readers can contact him at (254) 287-9216, DSN 737-9216, and via E-mail at [email protected]