FEBRUARY 24, 2017, REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – More than 100 million people watched Super Bowl 50 not knowing that systems designed by members of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command were keeping emergency personnel prepared for contingencies.
Members of the USASMDC/ARSTRAT worked alongside Air Force and National Guard Bureau personnel to develop three tools to support emergency personnel. The specific prototyping and experimentation technologies provided by the USASMDC/ARSTRAT to the Warfighters and first responders were Eagle Vision and Rover Responsive Exploitation of Space Products for Tactical Use, or EVR2EST, Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation — Portable, or GIIEP, and the Information Sharing Dashboard, or ISD.
The technologies were used by organizations such as the California National Guard, U.S. Air Force North, or AFNORTH, Joint Air Component Command Element, or JACCE, the Santa Clara Fire Department and California Highway Patrol to plan, coordinate and execute activities that helped ensure the safe conduct of Super Bowl 50 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
“This is Incredible,” said Thomas L. Merrill, Joint Intelligence Plans and Policy Branch chief, National Guard Bureau. “When we started this upgrade project four years ago I never dreamed that we’d have a home run this soon. I kept an eye on it throughout the event – it did everything as planned, as required and as advertised.
“Great job to all,” he added. “Your team has my respect and admiration. No other team was able to build a tool and tie everything together on a real-world mission. Nearly every other government and state agency has tried but it’s only been done here.”
Capabilities provided by the technologies included the processing, analysis and dissemination of full motion video, or FMV, from airborne platforms such as Army National Guard’s UH-72 helicopters and Air National Guard RC-26 fixed wing aircraft, collaboration and interoperability between organizations and common operational pictures and the dissemination of commercial space-based imagery products around the Levi’s Stadium area.
The ISD pulled data together for all organizations involved and allowed all information collected via EVR2EST, GIIEP and other means to be integrated and disseminated to pertinent officials.
“The purpose of the dashboard is to provide modern, web-centric capabilities that combine situational awareness with mission tracking capabilities for use by not only Department of Defense organizations, but also the entire joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational community at federal, state and local levels,” said Terri Schrimsher, SMDC military analyst. “This capability was used in support of the Super Bowl by a deployed JACCE to monitor the North American Aerospace Defense Command air picture, collaborate with partners and provide access and distribution of relevant documents and other geospatial intelligence data. This service, originally developed to support integrated air and missile defense systems within Army air and missile defense commands, is now being re-used to support Warfighters performing other roles.”
Local emergency units utilized Eagle Vision, which is a family of deployable, commercial satellite ground stations that collect and process near real-time optical and synthetic aperture radar imagery from commercial satellites. Commercial satellite imagery is then provided to agencies using EVR2EST.
“We supported the Super Bowl with a suite of products and services that are produced here for other agencies,” said Justin Novak, SMDC Future Warfare Center computer engineer. “The Eagle Vision imagery was disseminated and shared throughout all of the systems using EVR2EST. Eagle Vision was able to downlink it prior to and during the Super Bowl and that gave a very clear picture of what the ground-truth is. They could tell where tailgaters were set up as well as where staging areas were set up for different emergency services.”
EVR2EST, pronounced Everest, allows the rapid distribution of space-based imagery and radar products generated by the Eagle Vision Program’s deployable satellite ground stations. EVR2EST provided a common web-based platform for the U.S. Air Force A2QS Eagle Vision Systems to catalog, archive and disseminate their commercial space-based imagery products. Teams supporting the Super Bowl had access to timely space-based imagery and radar products directly from the deployed ground station on their laptops, tablets and smart phones.
“We are really pleased that everything went smoothly and we were able to partake in this joint venture,” Novak said. “We are pleased that we were requested for this type of support with the products and services that we produce. They are really making a difference out there for the Warfighter and emergency personnel.”
GIIEP, pronounced jeep, is a man-portable, multi-band receiver that analyzes a variety of visual and textual data. During the Super Bowl it enhanced emergency personnel’s ability to respond to potential disaster situations and provided annotated and compressed imagery products, both still and video, which could be quickly disseminated to mission planners.
“The California Air National Guard has been using the tool since June, and they were tasked with monitoring various aerial feeds and looking for suspicious activities,” said Curtis Miller, GIIEP Sustainment project lead. “The Super Bowl is an opportunity for terrorists to do horrible things, and because we have a tool with which information can be shared by many different organizations, those organizations can respond more efficiently.
“It makes me feel good to know that our tools were used to protect those who were at the Super Bowl,” he added. “Our goal from the beginning was to give the National Guard and local authorities the ability to communicate and share information to protect people and ultimately save lives.”
The National Guard Bureau J2’s GIIEP system was integrated into the incident awareness and assessment, or IAA, cycle in California allowing government members of the interstate and interagency at the federal, state and local levels to collaboratively plan, coordinate and execute activities that ensured the safe conduct during the Super Bowl. California Reserve servicemembers, as well as local first responders, were able to leverage GIIEP technologies and California interagency aviation assets into the overall Super Bowl 50 IAA solution.
“The communication flow worked so well that at one point when nefarious actors were arrested using the incident awareness and assessment cycle, the whole Super Bowl 50 operations center cheered,” said Air Force Capt. Megan Stromberg, California Air National Guard DJ2 incident awareness and assessment coordinator “It was amazing that we got everyone in there and that IAA worked so perfectly.”