July 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 3 
Special Features

NCO to play big role in Homeland Security

Homeland security is emerging as a significant market for Boeing’s network-centric operations solutions, second only to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Indeed, Boeing sees homeland security as a growth area with an addressable market of $4 billion to $6 billion a year from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alone.

Boeing Phantom Works is developing new network-centric operations (NCO) technologies for use in homeland security solutions, and is working with the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems business unit of Homeland Security and Services to implement them.

A major aspect of homeland security is the protection of global networks of transportation, finance, information and energy. A key pilot program for Boeing is Operation Safe Commerce, in which IDS will demonstrate Phantom Works–developed technology to improve security of cargo that enters the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach and the Port of New York/New Jersey. Boeing is proposing systems that will integrate real-time, in-transit container information with existing and future networks and databases to enable government users to detect and mitigate threats.

The Boeing team is integrating several advanced technologies to create a highly sophisticated and multilayered system that analyzes intelligence, detects terrorist threats, protects critical infrastructure and coordinates a response in the event of an emergency.

Integrated Defense Systems and Phantom Works also are working together to conduct a series of airport demonstrations to show the value of NCO tools to produce a proactive security environment, said John Stammreich, Phantom Works vice president of Homeland Security Advanced Systems.

One such demonstration, being conducted primarily by IDS, will take place at Midway Airport in Chicago in cooperation with the City of Chicago and Midway Airport. The other demonstration, to be conducted primarily by Phantom Works, is being proposed for Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain, for the Spanish Airport Authority.

At the airport demo in Chicago, Boeing will employ tools that can be applied now—such as the Visual Security Operations Console, an IDS-developed system that employs photo-realistic, three-dimensional visualization tools to give security personnel complete situational awareness from a computer workstation.

In Madrid, the emphasis will be more on showing what the possibilities are with the use of an NCO-type network to link not just one airport, but an entire national airport system, Stammreich said. “Spain is the ideal place to demonstrate this kind of technology because all 49 airports in Spain are under the control of one federal authority,” Stammreich said. “Our hope is to show the power of an NCO-type network that’s airport-based that we can stand up in Spain in cooperation with our Spanish partners and the Spanish government, and then be able to say to the U.S. government, ‘this is what you could do if you had a network that ties together the 30 major U.S. airports.’”

A major Boeing effort on commercial aviation security is a joint project by Phantom Works and Boeing Commercial Airplanes that has produced an economic model of an entire aviation security system from reservations to the arriving passenger. The model, which has been endorsed by the Transportation Security Administration and major airline and airport associations, has been used by a government/industry partnership that includes Boeing to help determine the viability of proposed federal regulations for airport security.

“If airports, airlines, the TSA and Boeing say they agree on the economic effect of proposed regulation, that has great value in convincing a congressman to endorse or reconsider proposed legislation,” Stammreich said.

Another effort in which Boeing is applying NCO solutions involves chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) protection. Boeing is capitalizing on its NCO skills to tie detection and surveillance systems into a network that combines weather and other data to determine an effective threat-response-and-mitigation approach.

The network will be able to generate a threat analysis and suggested responses almost instantly. The Boeing CBR concept first protects individuals and then facilities, such as military bases, airports and seaports.

Phantom Works is conducting technology demonstrations for the protection of military and commercial facilities. Systems under long-range development would detect a CBR attack, protect facilities and their occupants and communicate critical information to authorities.

Overall, Boeing is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security on defining effective NCO solutions, Stammreich said. “Clearly, having programs like Future Combat Systems puts us in a leading position from the standpoint of having the right tools,” he said. “Our challenge is to raise the level of understanding within the management of the Department of Homeland Security that network-centric operations is not something that should reside solely within the purview of the chief information officer, but should be an integral part of the operational strategies of the entire Department of Homeland Security. This will enable us as a nation to move from a reactive stance to a proactive stance in the war against terrorism.”

“Ron Prosser (Boeing IDS vice president of Homeland Security and Services) and I are in Washington, D.C., almost all of the time,” Stammreich said. “The Department of Homeland Security has formed a science and technology organization that’s asking how technology can help win the war on terrorism. We’ve had good discussions and briefings with them, and we’re at the beginning of a process of transformation in security systems that we at Boeing want to lead.”

—Daryl Stephenson

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