Weather info delivered to warfighter faster with integration

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amanda Mills
  • Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment '06 Public Affairs
Net-centric weather integration is one of the many important initiatives being tested during the Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

This integration, sponsored by the Air Force Weather Agency, demonstrates the capability to provide critical, time-sensitive weather information to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center through Tactical Targeting Network Technology, or TTNT. TTNT is an Internet Protocol-based, high-speed dynamic impromptu network designed to quickly target moving and time-critical targets.

"In the past, weather within the CAOC was not fully integrated into the command and control applications because of stovepipe processes," said Maj. Dean Carter, senior weather officer for JEFX '06.

"In the past, warfighters received their weather via PowerPoint briefings or word of mouth," Major Carter said. "Now with NCWI, weather is fully integrated into the CAOC processes and provides 'heads-up' weather information for operators to incorporate into quick decision-making."

Weather information is critical to fighting a war, Major Carter said.

"If we don't use the weather to our advantage, the enemy will," he said. "Instant weather information is important during operations because targeting decisions happen fast. Servicemembers need to be able to make time-critical decisions with accurate weather data. They can't afford to spend time hunting down weather information."

NCWI is an extension of a JEFX '04 initiative. It interfaces with the Web-Enabled Execution Management Capability, or WEEMC, application for time-sensitive targeting coordination and tactical targeting technology providing real-time weather information to the cockpit, said James Reardon, AFWA plans and programs.

WEEMC allows numerous commanders to collaboratively plan and execute strike missions, as well as search and resolve efforts.

"This is a time-sensitive target tool for making target decisions," Major Carter said. "Previously, planners had to enter information by hand. WEEMC has the capability to enter groups of information automatically."

Ultimately, knowing the weather is a key to air superiority because it means controlling the battlespace, the major said.

"Based on my experience in the CAOC during Operation Iraqi Freedom, I experienced the difficulty for one man to get the message to the warfighters, and a lot of the time messages got lost. With NCWI, my job is easier and weather information is more important," Major Carter said.

As a net-centric operation, NCWI uses Joint Weather Impact Server data from the CAOC for command and control operations. A major objective of net-centric operations is to shorten the find, fix, track, target, engage and assess process.

"It's important to get information to the warfighter as fast as possible," Mr. Reardon said. "Now, decisions can be made within seconds, allowing decision-makers to get information out right away."

JEFX is an Air Force chief of staff-directed series of experiments that combines live, virtual and constructive air, space, naval and ground force simulations, and technology insertion into a near-seamless joint and coalition warfighting environment.