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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

FORSCOM Automated Intelligence Support System (FAISS)

Forces Command [FORSCOM] developed a PC-type workstation called the FORSCOM Automated Intelligence Support System (FAISS -- pronounced "face") to use as an intelligence analyst workstation. They developed a variant of the FAISS that could provide the division terrain teams the ability to automate terrain analysis functions. The FAISSs processed MSI data using Terrabase/MS Imager software developed by the United States Military Academy's Geography Laboratory. This software provides a similar but more limited capability than ERDAS. Its strength lies in the fact that terrain analysts had trained with the software before. Eight FAISSs were distributed to division and corps terrain teams. Landsat imagery was provided to these teams in the form of digital tapes. This imagery had been preprocessed by a number of organizations prior to final delivery to the terrain teams. Multispectral image capabilities were not available to all units that were supported by organic terrain teams.

The SIDEARM program was initiated in 1989 to provide the capability to transmit and receive imagery products to a wide variety of users in the joint environment of DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. The capability provided by SIDEARM (then called FAISS SID System) was one of the few success stories of the war related to interoperability of imagery systems.

The FAISS terrain team systems were delivered to Saudi Arabia in December 1990 and to divisions in January 1991 for Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM. Recent Landsat imagery was not readily available to the topographic units. Aggressive response to the shortfall was hampered by a cumbersome image procurement process. This process effectively left the topographic units without up-to-date imagery until mid-November 1990. Once the process was refined and organizational responsibilities were sorted out, Landsat imagery was delivered to all Army users. Delivery of imagery to the deployed topographic battalion was accomplished by courier. The courier arrived in theater in mid-January 1990, and imagery was delivered to the terrain and topographic users soon after. This late delivery, coupled with late delivery of the FAISSs, left some divisions with little or no time to exploit the capabilities available.

Army forces deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM used Wraase receivers to receive METEOSAT and U.S. and Soviet polar orbiting weather satellite data. Two were integrated into FAISS to allow additional processing of weather images. A commercial Weathertrac system was connected to the FAISS to digitize, enhance, and manipulate the imagery. Although METEOSAT provided the lowest resolution imagery, it was available every 30 minutes.

Sources and Methods



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Created by John Pike
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Updated Wednesday, February 23, 2000 5:29:35 PM