By BOB DIMICHELE, Distributed Common Ground System-Army
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md.- As an Operational Intelligence Advisor for the Project Manager of the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, known as DCGS-A, Eric Grover works to make sure the Army’s premier family of systems for the tasking, processing, exploitation and dissemination of intelligence data functions as it should for Soldiers in the field.
Grover said he “represents the user interface” with the intelligence analysis and fusion system.
“I want to make sure our systems and processes don’t hinder, but amplify, Soldiers’ capabilities,” Grover said simply as he described his job.
He is a member of the DCGS-A Intelligence Process and Analysis Team, or IPAT, and he analyzes system software and operational workflows to assure DCGS-A works effectively in the tactical environment for which it was designed. His evaluations better enable Intelligence Analysts’ use of the system. Sometimes, he said, the system requires software rewrites to create interoperability and sometimes it takes a workflow modification to facilitate the tasks required of intelligence analysts such as information collection and targeting.
According to Grover, there aren’t standardized operational workflows tied to DCGS-A’s system architecture by the intelligence user community. Therefore, he said, workflows he analyzes and recommends are simply “one way” in which workflow execution can happen within DCGS-A. “I want to offer the best way to unleash the power of the system of systems,” he explained. Grover regularly meets with system engineers, design engineers and testers to develop a way for Soldiers obtain DCGS-A’s full potential.
Grover spent ten years in the Army as an All Source intelligence analyst, first trained in the Soviet order of battle and then in counter insurgency operations. He deployed to Iraq in 2006 and served at the V Corps G-2 as a specialist.
“It was a great experience. I was the only All Source analyst in my cell so I got to work with all ranks.”
Grover deployed again in 2009, this time to Afghanistan with the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, where he served as a targeting non-commissioned officer in charge in the brigade’s Analysis Control Element.
“That was my first DCGS-A experience but the system didn’t meet my expectations then,” he said.
He left military service in 2012 and joined the IPAT in 2013. But, that first experience with DCGS in Afghanistan “informs and motivates how and why I assure operational integrity of the systems,” Grover emphasized. “I want to make sure the system does what it is supposed to do.
He has been working on the incremental development of the Threat Characteristics Work (TCW) Center since joining IPAT. The DCGS-A TCW supports analysts in creating relevant intelligence planning and threat analysis tasks that can enhance a commander’s situational understanding of the operational environment. Working with the DCGS-A Systems Integration Laboratory and a commercial vendor, Grover has helped to create a tool that enables a workflow for every order of battle for conventional force-on-force operations. His focus now for TCW is to make it easier for Soldiers to use by streamlining how a unit develops threat templates and develops enemy courses of action.
Grover also advises military intelligence units on system utilization. For example, he and other members of the IPAT recently collaborated with members the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade at the Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to develop technical skills, increase professional knowledge, and contribute to a culture of learning there. The 470th MIB provides intelligence support to US Army South. There, he held a two-way dialogue about processes and workflows. “We went to solve issues and gain insights into their thought processes associated with the system.”
Grover attributes his success to operational experience and an adaptive mindset.
He said, “You must understand who the customer is and what their objectives are.” In summarizing his work, Grover said, “I’m simply trying to enable the Soldier to better inform the commander. Commanders’ situational awareness is greater because of our tools.”
While his work involves software and workflows and data entities, Grover is a family man who loves the outdoors. With his wife and two young children, he can be found canoeing or hiking in the Codorus State Park of South central Pennsylvania.
Between work and family time, Grover fits in his other love, his Harley motorcycle. “My hour commute to and from work is about the only time I have left for a motorcycle ride.”