192nd Intelligence Squadron, Civil Air Patrol exercise GIIEP capabilities

The 192nd Intelligence Squadron works with the Civil Air Patrol during the Commonwealth Guardian exercise to fulfill a joint tasking utilizing Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable technology. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Meaghan E. M. Selki, Virginia Air Guard Public Affairs)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The 192nd Intelligence Squadron from Langley Air Force Base worked with the Civil Air Patrol at Newport News Williamsburg International Airport during the Commonwealth Guardian exercise July 23, 2012, utilizing Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable technology. Their objective was to provide Incident Awareness and Assessment to the adjutant general of Virginia and joint staff at the Joint Operations Center in Sandston, Va.

During the exercise simulating extreme winter weather conditions, the JOC tasked the 192nd IS and CAP to provide damage assessments at six locations: two near Norton City, and four between Bristol and Montgomery, Va., along Interstate 81.

Maj. Jim E. Byrd, CAP mission pilot, and 2nd Lt. Sanae S. Kenner, CAP mission observer, together with 192nd IS domestic operations planners, took off toward Bristol, Va., with GIIEP technology. While Byrd and Kenner focused on piloting and navigating the aircraft, a 192nd IS observer deployed the image and video capturing capability at specific locations, transmitting the information to analysts on the ground.

The mission entailed disaster assessment for the simulated winter weather scenario at six locations: two near Norton City, and four between Bristol and Montgomery, Va., along interstate 81. In a real world situation, this capability allows leadership to understand the extent of the damage across the state, and can assist in deciding where to allocate resources and personnel. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Meaghan E. M. Selki, Virginia Air Guard Public Affairs)

“CAP aircraft are specially equipped for communications, visual search and rescue, and are relatively slow-moving, which is conducive to clarity in imaging operations,” said Byrd.

Meanwhile, back at the airport, a 192nd IS domestic operations planners received near real-time footage and communicated with the airborne team via Internet chat to clarify additional needs. Additionally, IAA analysts attached to the 192nd IS captured the footage and annotated the imagery to ensure the data provided a clear assessment for senior leadership. Footage of the mission was also broadcast over the Internet to the JOC, allowing decision makers there to view affected areas in real-time.

The ability to provide that coverage in an inclement weather event, or other natural disasters and emergency events, proves invaluable to senior leaders to assist in making decisions about where personnel and resources should be allocated.

“This inter-agency partnership is a force multiplier that provides situational awareness to incident commanders so they can allocate resources appropriately and help ease the suffering of Virginia’s citizens during times of a disaster or loss of property,” said Col. Steven R. Swetnam, Virginia National Guard director of intelligence.

The 192nd IS typically performs federal missions, delivering real-time, high-confidence intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance products and services to joint and coalition forces and other government agencies. However, during the exercise, members of the IS had the opportunity to exercise their ability to provide homeland defense, civil support and conduct missions with the Civil Air Patrol.

“The Civil Air Patrol, as the non-combatant auxiliary of the United States Air Force, provides additional force multipliers for mission planners by utilizing CAP aircraft for geo-spatial imaging missions. CAP civilian crews are well-trained, non-paid volunteers, thus decreasing the cost of missions and utilizing local talent,” said Byrd.

“Utilization of CAP aircraft makes perfect sense by making more resources available to military operations rather than over-tasking existing resources needed for more specialized missions,” he said.

CAP has three primary missions- emergency services, cadet programs, and aerospace education. The Virginia Wing has 11 aircraft across the state. In cases of emergency, CAP is able to provide increased social awareness and search and rescue capabilities in various scenarios working with the National Guard, State Police, and the Virginia Department of Emergency Services.

To view photos from the event, visit: