As part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Integrated Early Warning (IEW) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD), GSE helped execute the PERCEPTIVE DRAGON 3 (PD3) Technical Demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia from September 16-19. The goal of PERCEPTIVE DRAGON 3 was to demonstrate future concepts for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threat assessment that support Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) amphibious and Air Force expeditionary operations. The demonstration was focused on the utility and feasibility of using novel CBRN detection and characterization capabilities, employing manned and unmanned aerial and ground systems to conduct reconnaissance for CBRN threats, providing awareness to tactical commanders through existing Marine and Air Force Command and Control systems and ultimately supporting rapid decision-making. The PD3 demonstration was the culminating integration event for the IEW program’s technology development in FY19.
Planning for this year’s event began almost immediately after the completion of last year’s PERCEPTIVE DRAGON 2 (PD2) Technical Demonstration. The planning phase involved coordinating with our USMC and USAF stakeholders to initially develop goals and objectives in an interactive process with our technical lead, the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Center, Chemical Biological Center, Edgewood. GSE’s role in this process was to facilitate the dialog between our technical lead and the warfighter to help the warfighter understand what was possible from a technical standpoint and to help the technical team understand the requirements of the warfighters.
The PD3 technical team conducted multiple trials of each of four scenario phases. Each trial included: (1) a pre-mission brief; (2) a run-through of a scripted schedule of events; and, (3) a post-run hot wash session to assess performance and gather operator feedback. There were no releases of agent simulants during this demonstration. Alternatively, an emulation environment within the technology team’s White Cell was incorporated that included virtual enemy projectile points of impact and alerts, CBRN sensor arrays and associated data, virtual dismounted infantry Marine movement, as well as other intelligence feeds and data that complemented other actual data feeds from live sensors. The combination of real and emulated data feeds provided an efficient and realistic operational context for data and information flow into the Marine and Air Force command and control/common operational picture (C2/COP) systems.
Marine and Air Force service personnel served as role players in the various command centers and C2 systems. About 25 Marine and Air Force Emergency Management/CBRN specialists participated in various roles and operated forward-positioned technologies and the C2/COP systems at various command echelons. The C2 laydown included Marine Battalion and Regimental Combat Operations Centers, Air Force Operations, and Marine Headquarters and Alpha Companies. Dismounted ECBRN reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) teams with handheld COPs were also utilized. These participants, along with other operational stakeholders and subject matter experts who observed the technical demonstration, provided comments on the utility of proposed solutions and made recommendations for continued technology development. Together, their valued input assists the ATD development team toward continued IEW mission focus and resource use in the immediate future.