Integrated Training Area Management—A New Resource for Terrain Analysis

by Captain Robert L. Cordray, II

I first heard of Integrated Training Area Management (ITAM) when I was at the MI Officers Advanced Course in early 1998, and thought all it did was provide environmental-impact analysis of training areas at military posts. After some research, I realized it not only does that, but it also has the capability to do much more.

After arriving at Fort Riley, Kansas, I learned that I would be a battalion S2 for a National Training Center (NTC) rotation in a few months. I had to prepare.

Having never set foot in Fort Irwin, California, one of my concerns was terrain analysis: specifically my ability to describe the area of operations (AO) to my commander. I left no stone unturned in my search for maps and terrain products. I thought I had found the terrain analyst’s dream when I uncovered a butcher-block compilation of maps produced by the 64th Engineer Detachment at Fort Hood, Texas, from June 1978. It included maps analyzing surface configuration and drainage, engi- neering soils and geology, cross-country movement and slope, lines of communication, etc. The problem was that it was twenty years old, and was not World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS-84)1 datum. Although the terrain has not changed significantly in twenty years and I could convert coordinates to make it useful, I found a better way using ITAM technology.

The Fort Irwin ITAM Office, located in the range control building, houses hundreds of CD-ROMs (compact discs, read-only memory) containing data that terrain analysts and commanders need to plan missions. The difficulty is in assimilating all of the available terrain data into a useful product that the S2 can use for analysis and the commander can use to visualize the terrain or create an operational map. Clearly, the Fort Irwin ITAM Office alone cannot support every request of battalion and brigade S2s. This is where the ITAM office at your post can help. With only a coordinating request, Fort Irwin provided gigabytes of data to Fort Riley’s ITAM office, enabling them to create terrain products of the NTC. In particular, they were able to provide any requested scale of the standard National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) NTC map, slope shaded maps, digitized overlays, updated road and trail networks, satellite imagery and soil composition maps. Most Army posts have ITAM offices, as well as the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and Combined Maneuver Training Center (CMTC).

Another unique capability of the ITAM office is its ability to produce data files for use in Terrabase (see http://www.wood.army.mil/TVC/ TerraBaseII.htm). Commanders value Terrabase because of its ability to analyze threat weapons system range fans and provide intervisibility lines. At this time, there is not a Terrabase data file for the Fort Riley training areas, but we are working with the Fort Riley ITAM office to create a detailed, current WGS-84 data file.

The Army’s ITAM program is operating at posts worldwide and is a valuable asset to S2s and terrain analysts. To see if a particular post is a participant, check the ITAM website (at home page http://www. army-itam.com/home.htm) and search by major command.

Endnote

1. The World Geodetic System 1984 is the most up-to-date datum used for producing map sheets of the NTC. WGS 84 and the similar North American Datum 1983 (NAD 83) supercede NAD 27 maps for currency and accuracy. The datum reference is on the upper right-hand corner of NIMA map sheets.

Captain Rob Cordray is the S2 for 2-70 Armor, 3d Brigade, 1st Armored Division. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management and received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. A branch-detailed officer, CPT Cordray’s previous assignments include Tank Platoon Leader in 1-37 Armor and Adjutant for 1-63 Armor. He is a graduate of the Armor Basic Course, Military Intelligence Officer Transition and Advanced Courses, the Counterintelligence Course and the Combined Arms Senior Staff School. Readers can contact the author via E-mail at cordrayr@riley-emh1. army.mil and telephonically at (785) 239-1515 or DSN 856-1515.