Joint Interoperability Test Site Expected to Grow
The Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) was designated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the authority that certifies whether critical information systems used by the Defense Department meet interoperability requirements for joint military operations.
JITC, which is part of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has provided on-site technical support, throughout the past decade, during military exercises and contingency operations. JITC’s commander is Air Force Col. Terry Pricer. Denis Beaugureau is his deputy.
The command conducts operational testing for all DISA-managed programs, as well as for other Defense Department agencies that do not have dedicated test resources. JITC also serves as a Major Range and Test Facility Base (MRTFB) activity, which means it can extend its test resources and certification processes directly to other federal government agencies, private industry and allied nations.
Until recently, JITC’s test operations were located at Fort Huachuca, in Arizona, a facility best known for evaluations of tactical data links, strategic switches, high frequency systems and theater missile defense systems.
As requirements for compatible and interoperable systems increased, JITC expanded. In 1993, it established the Messaging and Information Systems Division (MISD) in Cheltenham, Md., which then moved to the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) at Indian Head, also in Maryland, in 1998.
The MISD, managed by Michael P. Mangan, tests, evaluates and certifies critical information systems, such as the Defense Message System (DMS), the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), information assurance, military logistics and intelligence interoperability.
The MISD serves as the DMS test coordinator and is responsible for the oversight and execution of all product testing and developmental testing events. Product testing is conducted at the Lockheed Martin Federal Systems facility in Manassas, Va. The DMS developmental test laboratories are located at Fort Detrick, Fort Huachuca, and Indian Head. Connectivity established between these three test labs allows testing of system interoperability and performance, to assess DMS readiness before operational testing.
GCCS serves as an automated crisis management and planning system for the Joint Staff and the commanders in the field. The MISD conducts functional testing and assessments of GCCS and ensures that tasks outlined in Joint Vision 2010 are satisfied. The current GCCS laboratory environment involves both Solaris and Windows NT architectures. The MISD uses a database as a repository for information formatted and collected during GCCS tests. It is the only database that tracks requirements throughout the life cycle of the system.
In March 2001, the MISD built an information-assurance laboratory, to test network vulnerabilities and systems’ reactions to unauthorized intrusions. The laboratory has various operating system platforms, including Windows NT, UNIX and Linux. The Joint Intrusion Detection System, originally developed for the Department of Energy, is an example of an information-assurance product that has recently gone through stringent testing by MISD. The MISD also provides assistance during the Defense Department Information Technology Security Certification Process (DITSCAP) and the National Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (NIACAP).
JITC supports several logistics programs and initiatives. It also performs developmental testing, operational testing and interoperability certification of logistics systems such as the Standard Procurement System (SPS), Financial and Air Clearance Transportation System (FACTS), Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS), Transportation Coordinator’s Automated Information for Movement System II (TC-AIMS II), and the Defense Logistics Agency’s Fuels Automated System.
The Joint Logistics Warfighting Initiative (JLWI), sponsored by the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Logistics and Material Readiness (DUSD/L&MR) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s director for logistics, was designed to experiment and test commercial products and business practices.
In December 2000, the JLWI laboratory was established at the Indian Head facility. It is used to demonstrate new commercial business practices and to test the integration of emerging web-based requisitioning and interoperability technologies.
There is often a disparity between the testing environment and the operational environment, which results in a major interoperability risk. To help mitigate this risk, the MISD developed the Advanced Technologies Testbed (ATT).
MISD has incorporated advanced switching technology and wireless communications systems to support connectivity between multiple laboratories. The testing capabilities provided by the ATT will move the MISD test environment closer to the operational environment, reducing much of the interoperability risk. The MISD will be able to support network-centric programs such as the Navy’s IT-21, the Army’s Force 21 and Joint Vision 2010/2020.
MISD currently is adding approximately 1,300 square feet of laboratory space to support testing and subsequent interoperability certification of intelligence systems.
The JITC Intelligence Laboratory (JIL) will be established to evaluate the Defense Department Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS).
The lab will help JITC ensure that the intelligence community complies with the Defense Department’s guidance to “bring Intelligence in line with the rest of the command, control, communication and computers community.”
MISD will build a Defense Counterintelligence Information System (DCIIS) laboratory to serve as one of the distributed test nodes of the DCIIS architecture.
The new Command Test Center (CTC), covering more than 1,500 square feet, provides an interactive environment for distributed test events and the conduct of meetings, video teleconferences, multimedia presentations, training sessions and virtual tours. Designed in a theater setting, the CTC is equipped with a state-of-the-art audio-visual system, modular conference tables, and two 128-inch high-definition display screens.
MISD will add another 4,500 square feet of test-bed space by December 2001.
Chris Watson is a telecommunications project officer at the Joint Interoperability Testing Command. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.