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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

National Input Segment [NIS]

The third-geneation Defense Dissemination System [DDS III] System-III National Input Segment (NIS) receives and routes low rate data and imagery from national systems. The NIS provides input for the Army's Imagery Processing and Dissemination System (IPDS) which provides a means to receive, process, exploit and disseminate digital imagery intelligence (IMINT) data from national and theater collection systems. The Joint Services Imagery Processing System [JSIPS-N] National Input Segment provides deployed Marine forces with national imagery support, addressing shortfalls in its imagery intelligence capabilities. The National Input Segment (NIS) and Precision Targeting Workstation (PTW) of JSIPS-N will also be added to vans employed as unified CinC Rapid Deployment Suites (RDS) for the TOMAHAWK Afloat Planning System (APS). The system will provide highly accurate target coordinates, target offsets, and the latest available imagery to embarked Battle Force/Battle Group (BF/BG) staffs, tactical aircraft (TACAIR) strike planners, Special Operations Forces (SOF), and Marine forces afloat. The NIS is procured through the Defense Dissemination Program Office (DDPO). The JSIPS-N Project is heavily dependent on the US Air Force for procurement of the National Input Segment (NIS) and the Tactical Input Segment (TIS).

The NIS is a system developed for the dissemination of national intelligence community imagery and complies with the USIS 2000 vision. The National Input Segment gateway also serves to provide the national intelligence community [NIC] infrastructure with imagery from CIGSS systems. The NIS is a scalable and configurable stand-alone system designed to order, exploit, archive, and disseminate NIC imagery in accordance with the USIS 2000 vision. The NIS interfaces with the IESS to request imagery from the NIC infrastructure and track requirements satisfaction through completion of the dissemination request. The NIS is currently in production. Development of the next generation NIS began in 1996 with production deliveries starting 3Q CY96.

While the NIS includes most of the functions of all USIS elements except the collection element; in the context of the Common Imagery Ground/Surface System (CIGSS) it serves as a data link transceiver which connects to the CIGSS LAN and enables the duplex transfer of data. When a NIS gateway is required, the collection element to site infrastructure element interface includes the TFRD, S2025A and S2025P standards (until the transition to NITFS 2.0 is completed).

NIS is a commercial standards, 100 percent COTS-hardware based system that is scalable in performance and functionality and configurable to meet user specific requirements. Imagery is disseminated from the NIS to COTS exploitation workstations, high performance NIC exploitation workstations, tapes, media, IPA and to ultrahigh resolution Hardcopy Reconstruction Unit (HRU) or advanced hardcopy units.

The NIS reprocesses data it receives to different compression ratios using the DCT, DPCM, and (in the future) the 12 bit JPEG algorithms, and the TFRD and NITF 2.0 imagery formats as requested by the user. The NIS provides specialized imagery processing to maximize the image quality and interpretability of the data disseminated to ultra high-resolution hardcopy reconstruction units. The NIS provides support data generation and management services, and continuously accepts new and updated processing requirements from the CIGSS. This allows delivery of near-original quality imagery from national sources in near-real time for analysis and exploitation at the CIGSS.

Imagery data is provided in both NITF and the Tape Format Requirements Document (TFRD) format to ensure interoperability across a large number of currently deployed imagery exploitation systems. The NIS is required to store imagery and support data using both tape and disk media for a minimum of 7 days in the TFRD and NITF 2.0 formats, and in the compression in which it was received to reduce the effects of concatenating compression and expansion operations.

The NIS communicates with other CIGSS components across an FDDI local area network using TCP/IP and FTP. Starting in late 1996, the NIS plans to support a HiPPI link to high performance softcopy systems using the HiPPI framing protocol or TCP/IP.

The current operational NIC infrastructure uses the digital cosine transform (DCT) and digital pulse code modulation (DPCM) algorithms as defined in S2025A and S2025P TFRDs. Also supported is the NITF 2.0 format with SDE v1.0 (10 June 1994 w/Oct 94 change letter), TCS-037-028/94, and the NIC 12 bit Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) algorithm as defined in S2035. The JPEG algorithm will be implemented across the NIC starting in 1997. To ensure interoperability with operational systems, the CIP will have the capability to send NITF 2.0 formatted and uncompressed or JPEG compressed data to the NIS. When required, the NIS will reformat and compress the imagery using the DCT algorithm and the TFRD format prior to storage or dissemination via the NIS. By using the inherent capabilities of the NIS to handle the TFRD (DCT and DPCM) and NITF (12 bit JPEG), the CIP design can be simplified to support only the NITF/JPEG combination while remaining interoperable with existing systems. The functionality of sensor specific algorithms are described later, as are the standards associated with cross-platform software development.

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Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood

Updated Thursday, February 10, 2000 12:11:21 PM