JDISS Celebrates 25 Years of Service to the Fleet- and the Nation!

JDISS Celebrates 25 Years of Service to the Fleet- and the Nation!

Remarks of Christopher James Page

Assistant Chief of Staff for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (N6) and Command Information Officer (CIO), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)

During the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration of the Joint Deployable Intelligence Support Systems Joint Program Office (JDISS JPO)

Editor’s note:

Mr. Christopher Page began his present assignment as the Office of Naval Intelligence’s (ONI) Command Information Officer in August 2014. In that position, he is responsible for the effective, secure, and efficient execution of Information Technology, Information Management, and Information Assurance operations by ONI for itself, the broader Naval Intelligence community, and that Information Dominance Corps component’s global network of naval, joint, interagency, international, and industrial shareholders. In his remarks he pays tribute to the people who developed and sent to the Fleet the Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System (JDISS). From its origins as DRAGOON RUSS, then as LANTDISS and finally as JDISS, ONI personnel made all-source intelligence go the last tactical mile to support warfighters.

1300-1500, 27 September 2015
At the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in Suitland, Maryland

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen… and thank you very much for joining us here at the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in Suitland, Maryland to pay tribute to the proud professionals of the Joint Deployable Intelligence Support Systems (JDISS) Joint Program Office (JPO) as they mark the successful completion of a quarter century of sustained service to the United States Navy, the broader Joint Force, and the Nation.

I, as our master of ceremonies stated, am Christopher Page, ONI’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Command, Control, Communications, and Computing (N6) and its Command Information Officer (CIO). Much more importantly for our purposes today, I am a person who has had the distinct pleasure of serving alongside the uniformed military personnel, civil servants, and contractors of JDISS for the better part of that amazing, twenty-five year history.

I am truly humbled and honored by this unique opportunity to share with you a few, brief remarks about those truly remarkable men and women. They have, through their impressive words and even more impressive deeds, proven themselves over the years to be – without argument -- not only the best of the best in the arena of Information Technology but the crew to call in times of crisis. They are, put simply, our warhorses.

Mr. Myers did an excellent job summarizing what those warhorses were able to accomplish as their small program office emerged from the aftermath of DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, began -- under the proactive leadership of such key personnel as Colonel Robert Maynard and Captain Tom Dove -- helping the Department of Defense’s globally distributed Joint Force reshape itself to face the security challenges of the post-Soviet world, and then rolled into such joint and combined battlespaces as the ones encompassing Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo.

My objective is to pick-up the narrative from that point, focusing our collective attention on what JDISS has done for us in the present era. That era began in earnest on 11 June 1999, when we as a Nation were celebrating the successful conclusion of the combined campaign for the heart and soul of Kosovo and getting ready to face what we then then believed to be our generation’s biggest challenge: making it through the Year 2000 – or Y2K -- transition.

In the same year of our stunning victories for Kosovo and over the Y2K bug, the executive leadership of Defense Intelligence asked JDISS to absorb the Linked Operations-Intelligence Centers Europe – or LOCE, -- the network that played such an important role in enabling the remarkable success of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in not only the Balkans but every place where the Atlantic Alliance needed to focus its forces and resources.

JDISS took the integration of LOCE in stride, quickly and efficiently adding to its mission set the sustainment of Intelligence interoperability with the LOCE participant-states and, through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases, other allied powers. In rapid succession, it then took-on the Global Command and Control System Integrated Imagery and Intelligence (GCCS-I3) and Collection Management Mission Applications (CMMA) with equal ease and agility under the brilliant leadership of Captain Mark Greer.

With traditional JDISS software baselines as well as LOCE, GCCS-I3, and CMMA capabilities in its growing mission space, the “little program that could” found itself smack-dab in the middle of the Director of Military Intelligence’s Four Thrusts campaign and, more specifically, the Interoperability Senior Steering Group (ISSG) effort led by an up-and-coming Brigadier General Keith Alexander, then the Central Command (CENTCOM) Director for Intelligence (J2).

Throughout 2000 and the first eight months of 2001, JDISS amazed all observers by doing what was then deemed nigh well impossible: successfully moving GCCS-I3 and CMMA through the entire Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) certification process by the book and then beginning the deployment of those powerful capabilities to the fleet and field for sustained operations within the Joint Force.

It’s important to note that the DoDIIS Certificate for Field for the CMMA tool suite – which then consisted of the Battlespace Visualization Initiative (BVI); Malololo; and the Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management (PRISM) – hit the wires in August 2001. At that point, the plan was to field CMMA around the globe at an accelerated pace, one that would result in the suite reaching Full Operational Capability (FOC) by August 2003.

In September 2001, all of our lives and our plans changed forever. The changes triggered by al-Qaida’s attack against the American homeland were readily apparent within JDISS JPO, a program office that moved-out smartly under the inspirational leadership of Captain Susan Chiaravalle, marched to the sound of guns, ramped-up its CMMA and GCCS-I3 deployments by extremely significant degrees, and otherwise played a critical role in rapidly readying CENTCOM and the adjacent commands to go to war twenty-six days later.

I could read-off a litany of acronyms and abbreviations in an attempt to illustrate the scale, scope, and impact of the hard work performed by the men and women of JDISS since the 7 October 2001 commencement of conventional operations in Afghanistan. What I’d like to do, though, is let others tell the story. The “others,” in this case, aren’t program managers or resource sponsors but deployed personnel who benefited from that important work over the past fifteen years of continuous warfare.

As you hear these words, note the diversity of the voices. The praise comes not just from forces operating in the Middle East but in such other areas as the Far East and Europe, not just from American forces but from those of our allies and coalition partners, and not just from Intelligence personnel but those who make use of Intelligence to conduct full spectrum combat operations aimed at taking the fight to our common enemies.

Note, too, the diversity of those who received the praise. The good words from those who matter most – the customers -- came not only for Government and contractor personnel working within the JDISS JPO proper but the many collaborating teammates from such partner organizations as the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWARSYCOM) and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). JDISS couldn’t and, in fact, wouldn’t have wanted to get the job done without them.

The first set of words came on 24 March 2009 from Rear Admiral Matthieu Borsboom of the Royal Netherlands Navy. That allied Flag officer, posted at the time as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Stability of the Kabul-headquartered International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said of two forward-deployed JDISS JPO personnel:

“…Please, accept this letter of appreciation regarding the outstanding support provided by Mr. Martin Brink and Mr. Mike Ahern… in Kabul on 25-26 February 2009…Without their engagement and support, the Provincial Reconstruction Team conference’s success would clearly have been open to question. Their willingness to contribute is a credit to their professionalism and dedication; they should be commended…”

In September of that important year, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Rossow of the United States Air Force offered the following praise a JDISS JPO member as he was departing his post at the Defense Intelligence Operations Coordination Center (DIOCC) on what we now call Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling:

“…As I prepare to leave the DIOCC today, I just wanted to pass along my sincere thanks and appreciation for the great support we received from our JDISS Field Engineer, James Bourne. He’s a key member of our DIOCC team on this end and has helped us in so many ways. The success of Flight Control and the DIOCC COP would not have been possible without his support…” One of his United States Air Force colleagues, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Berning of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) wrote-in from the other side of the globe six months later with high praise for two of JDISS JPO’s longest standing and most valuable collaborators:

“…Rich Snow and his team, especially Leo Garneau, have been a godsend to us here. I have worked with them…since I was at CENTCOM. Their skill, responsiveness, and commitment to installing upgrades, fixing bugs, and adding capability is no kidding the best I have ever seen for a DoD program…”

Two years later, praise began pouring-in from several corners of far-away Afghanistan, as forces engaged in the hard fight to stabilize and secure that former al-Qaida stronghold, began expressing not only their appreciation but their outright admiration for the JDISS JPO personnel fighting alongside them. I’ll touch on but three of those examples:

First, “…During this period, Mr. [Miguel] Vega supported five named operations, allowing Company B, [1st Reconnaissance Battalion Forward] to conduct over 18 platoon missions…[His] persistent support and dedication to his duties demonstrated a level of commitment to the warfighters of Company B not normally seen from external agencies and reflected great credit upon him and [the JDISS] team…”

- That came from A.H. Armstrong, Captain, United States Marine Corps, Commanding Officer, Company B, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 2 June 2012

Second, “…[Mr. Jason Aldridge, I] appreciate your hard work and dedication while serving as the lead Allied Collaborative Collection Requirements Unified Environment (ACCRUE) manager in support of…Task Force Leatherneck…your expert analysis of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) enabled the 1st Marine Division (Forward) G-2 Collections Cell to gain a better insight into insurgent activity and intentions in support of combat operations…” - Those words were penned by D.H. Berger, Major General, United States Marine Corps, Commanding General, Task Force Leatherneck, 15 August 2012

And third “…As Jim Phillips is getting ready to rotate back to CONUS, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for his exceptional services. [ISAF Joint Command/ISR Division] will miss Jim’s leadership, collection management experience, and flexibility more than words can express…Jim’s superlative support and expertise have made him a valued member of this ISR team. In my experience, it has been rare to find contractors with such mission orientation, flexibility, and passion. I would go to war with Jim anytime…” - That came from Thomas K Hensley, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force, Chief, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, ISAF Joint Command, 8 August 2012

Those last three passages are particularly poignant. They speak volumes about the operational and even tactical contributions of those JDISS JPO personnel who operated under the Allied Collaborative Collection Requirements User Environment (ACCRUE) and Task 47, two efforts focused on providing direct support to the warfighters in the region extending from the Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea. ACCRUE and Task 47 became the eye-watering successes because of JDISS JPO professionals like Messieurs Jim Sigafoose, Greg Floyd, Chuck Johnson, and Mike Kasselman – people who willingly put themselves and their Defense Intelligence program at great risk for the sake of the greater good, the good of the Nation.

Those who’ve spent time around Department of Defense and Intelligence Community programs know that glowing words and positive phrases along the lines of “outstanding support,” “helpful,” “responsiveness,” “commitment,” “dedication to duty,” “leadership,” “better insight,” and “I’d go to war with [him] anytime” don’t come easily or often. They are reserved for those who truly get it and those who truly do it: the warhorses.

The warhorses of JDISS earned tons of praise over the years not only from those few individuals whom I chose to highlight but the many people who made effective use of things like the aforementioned GCCS-I3 and CMMA both ashore and afloat, the AN/USQ-163 FALCONER Air and Space Operations Center Weapons System (AOCWS) at Combined Air and Space Operations Centers (CAOC) around the world, and AGILE CLIENT.

AGILE CLIENT, an interactive Common Operational Picture (COP) visualization tool produced by DISA with help from both the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) and JDISS, stands as an excellent example of the power of interagency and Government-Industry partnerships, the proven ability of JDISS to solve even the hardest of hard problems for American and allied forces operating in the most challenging of overseas combat environments, and the absolute brilliance of such thought- and action-leaders as JDISS JPO’s own recently retired Mr. Web Essex.

During the opening days of the current campaign to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), it was the men and women of JDISS JPO who rose to the occasion, bringing tools like AGILE CLIENT to bear in support of leaders charged with planning and executing the campaign. Those deployed leaders were so favorably impressed, they requested and received permanent JDISS representation to support their high profile operations in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

Today, we continue to face significant challenges in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and throughout the Middle East and North Africa. We also, though, face challenges emanating from such other locales as the Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China. Trust me when I tell you that the warhorses of JDISS are in the fight, working with due haste to bring their solutions to bear in support of those who are defending our Nation’s interests on those flanks.

Innovative as ever, the proud men and women of JDISS are working to ensure the solutions they deliver take full and effective advantage of the latest capabilities the Information Technology industry has to offer, whether the capability in question happens to be something like the Windows 10 operating system or an application optimized for use by personnel around the world via desktop and mobile JDISS clients running Windows 10 or its predecessors.

Nowhere is their unbridled spirit of user-focused innovation clearer than in the case of the Federated Order of Battle Management (FOM) tool that JDISS is bringing into the Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) portion of the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE) ecosystem in support of the Hawaii-headquartered United States Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) and its assigned, attached, adjacent, and supporting forces.

As you engage with the JDISS Program Manager and his amazing personnel this afternoon, I encourage you to ask them more about the work they’re doing to make an IC ITE-empowered FOM a reality for PACFLT and other forces engaged in tackling operational problems with strategic consequences. I guarantee you that you’ll, like so many others through the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, be profoundly impressed.

You’ll be profoundly impressed with not only their grasp of and ability to harness the power of leading-edge information technologies but their embrace of JDISS JPO’s traditional commitment, demonstrated through twenty-five years of excellence in action -- to the success of the Joint Force. Warhorses one and all, they are proud to be in the fight, proud to be shouldering a heavy load, and eager to do more for the Navy, for the Nation, for us.

Thank you.