Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2009 Contents 23
ABOVe: The synchronized Handheld Information
Repository & Local Observation collator is an
information tool that runs on PDA devices, designed
for soldiers in the field through the Reachback
program. MAIN: DsTO scientist Mitch ferry on
deployment in Afghanistan 2008.
defence magazine ›
fly away or deploy?
When a project team is required to visit an
operational theatre but does the bulk of the scientific
development of a solution in Australia, a small ‘fly
away team’ is deployed. This usually consists of the
project team leader and selected team members.
Recently deployed to East Timor for nine days,
OPSTSR team leader Jaci Pratt has been working
on improving the ADF Intelligence processes
and tools in East Timor.She found the work to be a
great opportunity to work with and assist defence
personnel in the field, as well as to broaden her
experiential base and bring back operational
knowledge to share with her DSTO colleagues.
Jaci found the short term operational support suited
her personal circumstances well.
Operations analyst Drew Knight, who was
deployed to East Timor for four months last year, agrees
that it is an interesting balance between family and
work, but that his deployment gave him an immense
appreciation of how tough life is for ADF troops.
“It reinforced my commitment to not only
providing the best possible advice to Commanders
in the field, but also to bring what I’ve learnt back to
the labs to share with my colleagues,” Drew said.
Since 2005, more than 60 civilian and military
operations analysts have deployed on ADF
operations around the world. However, analysts
don’t grow on trees.
from the lab to the battlefield
Taking scientists out of a laboratory and putting
them into the field requires a rigorous process
of selection and training. This responsibility lies
with Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Jack Gregg, who
is in charge of training and sustaining a pool of
deployable civilian and military analysts.
LTCOL Gregg said that that preparing
operational analysts for the challenges that await
them in an operational environment has been
an iterative process, backed by a combination of
lessons learned from returned analysts, feedback
from Commanders in the field, and understanding
the tenets of Operational Art.
“The annual course that we have developed
over the years has come a long way since our first
deployment,” LTCOL Gregg said.
“Along with the Defence scientists and military
attending the course, we now have observers from
Canada, Sweden, Germany, Norway and Britain
studying how we prepare our analysts.”
A significant element of the Australian model
is the ability for operational analysts in theatre to
leverage the significant DSTO science and
engineering expertise in Australia.
supporting the deployed analyst
No one scientist can be an expert
in everything, so DSTO developed an
Operational Reachback Program where DSTO
scientists can work on problem-solving back
Reachback Team Leader, Paul Rogers,
said that when analysts are faced with a
problem-solving task that is not aligned to
their skill set, or the tools they have with
them, then the task comes back to the
Reachback Team based in Adelaide.
“Where the Reachback Team cannot
provide a particular skill set for the task,
the full weight of DSTO’s pool of over 2,000
scientists and engineers then comes into
play,” Paul said.
The Chiefs of DSTO Divisions are
asked to contribute staff with the relevant
expertise to help find a timely and effective
solution that can be fed back to the deployed
analyst who, in turn, provides advice to the
Paul said that the ability to draw from
all DSTO staff to contribute to finding a
solution that can be used in the field is the lynch-
pin of the Reachback Program.
“Another key to the success of the program
is the corporate memory of deployed analysts
that is captured and added to the greater pool
of knowledge managed by the Operational Data
Exploitation team in DOSC,” he said.
Applying novel analysis
to battlefield data
Knowledge management is the acquisition
and storage of information (or data) that can then
be readily accessed at a later date. Operational
Data Exploitation (ODE) provides a data
management and analysis capability to assist
DSTO’s Operational Support community.
ODE Team Leader, Kathleen Zyga said that
ODE employs all types of analysis techniques,
including geospatial, temporal, statistical, data
mining, information extraction, and futures
forecasting to support deployed forces, HQ Joint
Operations Command and the Counter Improvised
Explosive Device Task Force.“This analysis can be
provided to decision-makers in the form of a report,
or applied to further scientific investigation,”
Kathleen said. “This includes investigating
emerging enemy tactics, from which planners can
develop effective countermeasures.
commitment and dedication
The four core elements of the DOSC are
staffed by dedicated scientists, engineers, support
staff and ADF members, who work tirelessly to
get the best science and technology solutions into
theatres to support the ADF.
But the dedication and commitment doesn’t
stop there. DSTO as a whole supports operations
with Division Chiefs allocating their (sometimes
stretched) resources, often at short notice, to make
sure the ADF get immediate, effective solutions
in extremely tight timeframes, while continuing to
work on enabling research for future capability.
Links Archive Issue 2 2009 Issue 4 2009 Navigation Previous Page Next Page