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Greetings Mission Planners,

Well as usual, NGA, and especially it's director, just can't get a fair shake from the Liberal News Media.  Check out this piece written about the recent GEOINT conference in New Orleans:

The ambiance of the conference was really set by the dynamic duo of General Clapper and General Hayden. When they were on stage together talking about the nature of their roles, you could see elements of Generals from a previous time. In our time, the Generals will shape the outcome of events through intelligence, rather than battlefield strategies and tactics [my emphasis; ed]. These Generals were both combinations of Bradley, Eisenhower and Patton. General Clapper seemed to be more Patton and Bradley with a sprinkling of Eisenhower. General Hayden was a mirror of that combination with perhaps the bias toward Eisenhower and Bradley. Both were absolute compliments to each other. The reason these two men together on the stage was so significant, was they were shaping a level of cooperation between their agencies that had not been seen ever before in Government. The objectives were to make the boundaries between their two agencies almost invisible.

For a slightly different point of view, read How Technology Failed in Iraq

The network wasn’t much better for the marines pushing forward on a separate front. Indeed, the marines’ lessons-learned report says that First Marine Division commanders were unable to download crucial new aerial reconnaissance photographs as they approached cities and towns. High-level commanders had them, but the system for moving them into the field broke down. This created “a critical vulnerability during combat operations,” the report says. “There were issues with bandwidth, exploitation, and processes that caused this state of affairs, but the bottom line was no [access to fresh spy photographs] during the entire war.”

Clearly there's a disconnect between the folks at the GEOINT conference and our forces in the field.  I'll point out the same Marine lessons-learned report said how invaluable the 1 Meter CIB was as the Marines advanced.  With absolutely zero new satellite imagery the advancing forces used what they had.  1 Meter CIB gave the advancing troops a more detailed, more current  map of what they were moving into than any other product.  GEOINT that requires a live, broadband connection is GEOINT I can't rely on in combat.  Ain't got no SIPRNET in my airplane, in my SEAL Delivery Vehicle or in my Bradley.

Mission Planning Tip: TaskView's Table View

So far we've talked about using TaskView to view the Air Tasking Order (ATO) and Airspace Coordination Order (ACO) using the standard tools and views.  While there's a lot you can do using TaskView classic, real power users will get the most out of TaskView using the Table View:

The Table View puts ATO/ACO information in a customizable grid.  When you first pull it up you'll see ATO Missions listed by package:

The Table View let you "Filter" ATO missions - an essential feature when you've got a real world ATO with hundreds or thousands of missions.  Select a filter field from the list on the left hand side of the Table View:

By default the "Filter By" field  is set to Package, but it can be switched to any field displayed in the table.  When another field is selected the "Filter By" list will change to reflect that field's values in the ATO:

After switching to the Mission Type (Msn Type) field and selecting the filter values (in this case "CAP") press the "New Filter" button:

Now you've got a listing of the ATO CAP missions.  Filter the list further by changing the "Filter By" item, setting a new filter value and clicking "Add Filter".  Return to the full mission list by clicking "Clear Filters".  Apply a new filter to the full list by changing your filter value and clicking "New Filter".  For example switch the selected value from "CAP" to "EW", press "New Filter" and the grid will update to display the ATO's EW missions.

You can change what fields appear in the Table View using the Customize - Customize Table menu choice:

The current Table View columns are in the right hand list.  Add or remove fields using the arrows between the lists:

Items added to the Table View appear at the bottom of the list.  In the example above I've selected "IFF Code".  Clicking on the right arrow moves it into the Table View.  Once it's added you can use the Up/Down arrows to change the order of the list:

 

The IFF codes are now at the top of the list so they'll be the far left column in the Table View grid.  I also removed the "Package" field:

It'd be much easier to find an IFF code if the grid were sorted.  Fortunately the Table View will sort on any column when you click on the field name:

Select missions by left clicking and select multiple missions with the CTRL and Shift keys.  After the missions are selected you can use the action buttons at the bottom of the Table View:

The action buttons can plot missions in FalconView, bring up text descriptions, create PFPS routes or export the data to Excel (more on that later)  Clicking on "Text" brings up the same info you could get in a classic TaskView window:

Although the examples above relate to ATO Missions, the same functions work for ACO Airspace:

You can save and load customized column display/order settings in a Table Layout file and switch the default Layout to match what  you need:

The Table View is a powerful tool and invaluable for those working in the Mission Planning Cell, Wing Ops Center, TACC, AOC or any other Command and Control node.  Having said that, most normal users will find the standard TaskView window has all the ATO/ACO tools they'll need.

Paul