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Lead Agency: DOD
Contact: Col. Dave Rhodes

Establish User-Specific Situational Awareness


Fundamental to our entire 2025 Concept is “Net-Enabled Information Access”. This capability will make information available, securable and usable in real time according to defined “communities of interest”. Information will be used to distribute decision-making appropriately during normal operations, abnormal events, and system-wide crises -- improving the speed, efficiency and quality of decisions. The concept leverages DoD’s investments and experiences with network-enabled operations. And, as the DoD can attest, moving to this capability will require all of the changes described on the previous chart. Hallmark’s of the capability include:

• Aircraft become mobile “nodes” integral to this information network, both using and providing information, but also being able to route messages or information being sent from another aircraft or a ground source.

• Safety information (engineering data, operations information, etc.) will be shared to manage risk throughout the air transportation system. Real-time access to such data will enable system operators and users to exploit risk-management practices to enhance safety.

• Creation of a “cooperative surveillance” model for civil aircraft operations, where aircraft are constantly transmitting their position, flight path intent, and other useful aircraft parameters. In addition to being used for air traffic management, this information will be used together with a separate sensor-based non- cooperative surveillance system as part of an integrated federal surveillance approach for national security purposes.

The central tenet of the net-centric environment is that data enables effective decision-making. In the NGATS context, data encompasses all relevant assets—flight plan information; pilot, passenger and cargo data; aircraft telemetry; surveillance information; weather data, etc. Information might be in the form of records, databases (pilots licenses, aircraft maintenance records, etc), voice communications, images, etc.

In summary, everything operating in the system becomes part of the system. Aircraft operating in the system become data nodes critical to information sharing. Information is both “pushed” to known users, and available to be “pulled” by other users to include users perhaps not previously identified as having a need for that data. Known users will receive “alerts” when new or updated data they need is available. Providers will ensure data is appropriately protected to ensure its secured as necessary for national defense, security and privacy concerns. Authorized users and applications will employ “metadata” tagging (data about data) to facilitate rapid correlation and discovery of data—identifying just that data needed for a particular application. Data sharing will be transformed from “private” control/dissemination to “enterprise data”. Various “communities of interest” will evolve to enhance data sharing capabilities necessary to their common interests.

The Shared Situational Awareness IPT will establish detailed action plans that will break the project down into manageable tasks. Specific IPT activities include:


  • Provide Shared Situational Awareness.
  • Provide decision makers with quick access to the critical information they need, such as during a 9/11 terrorist attack scenario.
  • Facilitate faster decision-making, increased collaboration and better decisions based on simultaneous access to more information.
  • Ensure that data is appropriately protected for national defense and security concerns.
  • Ensure that Shared Situational Awareness contributes to safety, security, efficiency and reliability.


  • Transform how information is managed.
  • Use Net-Centric/Network Enabled Operations that leverage the attributes of a Web-based network.
  • Make information available in a secure and useable form and in real time and distribute it to decision makers simultaneously and in all conditions.
  • Employ aircraft as “mobile” nodes in this information network, which use and provide information, and are capable of routing information sent from another aircraft or ground sources.
  • Shift information sharing policy, organizational innovation and cultures to new ways of exchanging information.


  • First successful Network Centric Operations demonstration project was conducted in 2005. More to come in 2006.
  • JPDO has identified two opportunities in the FY 07 budget that could advance Shared Situational Awareness.
  • First: jump start cooperative surveillance (ADS-B) where aircraft constantly transit their position flight path intent and other useful data.
  • Second: jump-starting Network Enabled Information Sharing. We need to synchronize DoD, FAA, DHS and DoC’s network centric efforts, especially in the areas of interoperability and compatibility.
  • In July 2006, the JPDO will conduct a demo project involving the FAA’s SWIM (System Wide Information Management) – the beginning of Net-Centric operations in the National Airspace System.

If you want to dig into the technical details behind the next system's transformation, this is the place to be. The TechHangar is where JPDO posts pre-decisional papers, presentations, and other material in development.

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