The Space and Missile Defense Command-developed Domestic Operations Awareness and Assessment Response Tool has moved to a cloud-based web service to improve stability and cost effectiveness.
DAART, developed and sustained by SMDC for the National Guard Bureau to provide users with a domestic operations tool kit for response activities, was one of the first Department of Defense programs to successfully migrate to the Amazon Web Services Cloud Environment in January as part of its Risk Management Framework process for its authority to operate.
“DAART’s migration to the cloud benefits Americans by reducing costs to the taxpayer while increasing the Guard’s efficiency in responding to disasters and other events,” Curtis Miller, SMDC DAART sustainment lead with the command’s Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence, said. “The National Guard Bureau benefited from the move to the cloud by gaining user satisfaction and trust. The users benefit from the move by seeing improved system performance and reliability, and increased capabilities.”
DAART provides joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational rescue personnel at federal, state, local and tribal levels with a capability that provides synchronized and integrated processing, analysis and dissemination of geospatial data in support of domestic operations to include providing full-motion video collection, exploitation, storage, search and dissemination; providing still and all-source imagery; and providing collaboration with all operational participants supporting the National Guard’s Information Awareness and Assessment mission.
“The DAART tool suite, DAARTPad, DAARTBoard, DAARTPlan and DAARTPort, enables the tasking, acquisition, processing, assessment and dissemination capability to present time-critical information to the appropriate (federal, state, local and tribal) organizations within an affected area assisting authorities in planning, coordinating and responding to events for the purpose of saving lives, mitigating suffering, minimizing serious property damage and protecting infrastructure,” Miller said.
Two important reasons for DAART moving to a cloud environment are stability and resource expansion when needed. A system operating in a cloud environment is not dependent on a single suite of servers greatly improving the stability of the system with little to no down time, Miller said. Numerous expansion capabilities exist in the cloud environment allowing for resources to ramp-up as users and other demands increase.
“SMDC, as the developer and sustainer of DAART, benefited from the move by refocusing their attention more on operational requirements versus hardware maintenance requirements,” Miller said. “Also SMDC is able to utilize the many system monitoring and security tools offered by the AWS Cloud Environment.”
Miller serves as the DAART project lead supporting the National Guard Bureau, J-2. His role includes managing all DAART programmatic efforts as well as daily management of sustainment and modernization activities. Through his and his team’s efforts, SMDC has been supporting a wide array of civil response activities this year.
“Since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states began to utilize DAART and its collaboration and coordination capabilities,” Miller said. “DAART was also used for monitoring activities during both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention this year. As the 2020 hurricane season started, the coastal states loaded plans and information into DAART in anticipation of responding to calls for support as they have done in years past.”
Justin Novak, SMDC Center of Excellence computer engineer and one of Miller’s colleagues, said the National Guard Bureau was searching in 2009 for an affordable solution to produce and share live video from the field to support the Guard’s various missions, to include natural disaster response.
“Our team had several missile defense technologies on the shelf that, when combined, would produce a low-cost solution for sharing live video from aircraft fielded to guard units in all 54 states and territories,” Novak said. “This capability would evolve into the cloud-based information sharing tool suite known in the response community as DAART. I knew DAART would be used but could not have imagined how DAART would evolve over the past decade. This was due in large part to the innovative ways Soldiers and airmen have adapted this technology to meet the demands of their various missions.
“Commercial cloud technology allows DAART to scale from a small training event to a multi-state, multi-agency event such as COVID-19 and Hurricane Sally response. With commercial advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning it will be interesting to see how DAART’s role will evolve over the next decade.”