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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

Method to Enable a Homeland Security Heartbeat - Heartbeat e9-1-1

Steven McGee
Simple Always Wins Concepts LLC (SAW Concepts LLC)

     Full text: PDF
     Last modified: August 16, 2006

Abstract
SUBJECT: use of the TCP/IP Heartbeat protocol / Heartbeat (XML) message (OASIS Common Alert Protocol – CAP) schema(s) to implement a Homeland Security/NCW Digital Heartbeat

PURPOSE: Describe a scenario where the TCP/IP Heartbeat is applied as the basis of a Homeland Security Heartbeat / Heartbeat e9-1-1 service in context with SAIC’s Public Safety Integration Center (PSIC) during a live demonstration / simulation such as JEFX06 where the heartbeat protocol has been added to provide publisher and subscriber awareness.

BACKGROUND: Military situational awareness (SA) systems and Telco networks apply two common denominators: the TCP/IP heartbeat protocol and heartbeat (XML) messages. What if the DOD and the world's Telco networks agreed on common procedures based on these building blocks? Heartbeat e9-1-1 involves reapplying Network Centric Warfare (NCW) procedures commercially leveraging the world's network providers (Telco’s) that provide up to 80% of a unit’s leased network connectivity. The goal is to improve interoperability & operational synergy via direct message/data exchanges reapplying war tested operational procedures that update router/switch multicast group subscriptions linking DOD Situational Awareness systems/networks & Telco Public Safety Answering Points – PSAPs that apply regulations stipulating the use of the heartbeat protocol & heartbeat schemas.

ASSUMPTIONS: PSAP’s processing NORAD aircraft tracks and DOD SA systems processing aircraft tracks do not directly exchange messages / XML schema’s with each other Given that up to 80% of a unit’s communications can be commercially leased, this implies that only 20% of a force’s network centric warfare supporting assets (router/switches) are employing network centric warfare practices and that if these military assets were not available, soldiers would not be able to fight as they have trained nor would they be able to discuss an event “apples to apples, oranges to oranges” with First Responder counterparts given different OPTEMPO data collection / screen refresh rates and symbol sets.

Direct message / XML schema exchanges between .mil and .com SA aircraft systems will improve interoperability and response times mitigating the reoccurrence of another 9/11 event by directly linking e9-1-1 and .mil systems. A demonstration in SAIC’s PSIC involving a heartbeat protocol initiated failover of a military system that relies on military terrestrial / satellite communications to a commercial system that is also employing network centric warfare heartbeat protocol / heartbeat message set type procedures will demonstrate applying network centric warfare procedures applied to a unit / organization’s entire communications portfolio instead of only the organic military assets thus increasing the power of network centricity while allowing soldiers to function as they have trained with their civilian First Responder counterparts in terms of OPTEMPO synchronized EAC screen refresh rates and similar symbolic views. (Simulation / Demo’s scenario / goal), Hanscom AFB’s Airborne Network Centric Warfare program / Electronic Service Center - ESC may be willing to assist team SAIC (ARINC, Boeing, Northrop,…) since it has reviewed the scenario described (attachment) and has stated in July that it needed funding for the simulation to be moved up in priority (SAW Concepts interpretation of the MITRE representative’s response). Hanscom AFB’s ESC is conducting a Airborne Network Centric Warfare data relay exercise during JEFX06 that will do much to establish preconditions on the military side of the equation. MITRE Nashua NH stated that it was not a system integrator. SAIC is.

FACTS / KEY REFERENCES: The C4ISR/Sim Technical Reference Model Sourcebook published by MITRE and VMASC with assistance from Northrop Grumman et al, page 13 describes the role of the heartbeat in context with C4ISR systems: 2.3.1.4.1 System Health/Heartbeat/Status: Definition: Information necessary to initiate and sustain a connection to a C4ISR system. Examples: “Ping” message to enable a system to transmit data. Heartbeat message to indicate the presence of a system; Keep Alive signals, Health & functional status messages... Physical Models: Models that replicate the physical characteristics of a system or entity, for example, range & bearing calculations, aerodynamics, and aircraft systems simulations. Relating this to like military systems such as Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), BACN is an Internet protocol-based airborne communications relay and information server that links radios and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems for DOD networks. Flying at extremely high altitude, BACN extends the range of line-of-sight radios, relaying information to airborne and surface-based units, and, via satellite, to distant command centers”.

Common ARTS Air Traffic Control Systems
Automated Radar Terminal Systems (ARTS) manage air-traffic control at U.S. airport locations such as New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, Southern California, and Atlanta. The Common ARTS program sought to develop a common software baseline at the Nation’s Terminal Radar Approach Controls (TRACONs) and incorporate more COTS products. Thousands of tracks are supported, and so are hundreds of displays. Because Common ARTS is a safety critical application, a standby system is always ready to take control if any subsystem ever ceases to broadcast its heartbeat on the network. Programs are written in C language and run under the LynxOS RTOS. LynxOS provides POSIX conformance, which increases ease of porting to other systems. Though the system currently operates on a PowerPC platform, the software formerly ran on Motorola 68K CPUs. LynxOS is relied upon for its absolute reliability in this safety-critical system.

“ICI’s Improved Data Modem (IDM) is a communications and targeting system that can interface between the different communications formats in use by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. An RTOS resides inside the IDM. Future plans called for incorporating in the IDM an embedded subset of the Army’s Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) system software. Historically, FBCB2 software ran on the Solaris operating system, while VxWorks was being used in the IDM. After three years of unsuccessful attempts. to port the FBCB2 software to VxWorks, the original project team cut its losses and turned to the LynxOS RTOS. In six months, the port to LynxOS succeeded.”

AT&T has developed a movement detection process that it calls the “Heartbeat Solution.” To implement this solution, AT&T has designed its VoIP telephone adapters to enable it to detect when an adapter has been disconnected and then reconnected. Once the Heartbeat Solution detects a reconnection, “the AT&T network will temporarily suspend the customer’s service and will post a message at the customer’s web portal directing the customer to confirm the existing registered location address or register a new location address.” http://www.fcc.gov/ogc/briefs/05-1248-110805.pdf

Comparing the AT&T Heartbeat Solution with the DOD’s use of the Heartbeat with the DOD’s application of the heartbeat protocol & heartbeat messages; AFCEA’s SIGNAL Magazine article “Defense Knowledge Management Hinges On Compatibility” By Robert K. Ackerman May 2005. “Using Web services technology and a laptop computer, these researchers separated the FBCB2 application from Blue Force Tracking data according to an established schema. An extensible markup language (XML) wrapper exposed the discovery metadata to a portal for updating every 30 seconds”.

The Heartbeat protocol and messages are part of Defense Information System Agencies Network Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) Technology Development Strategy Version Two dated 26 May 2004. The heartbeat protocol as part of DISA's Network Centric Enterprise Services Technical Plan, Telco regulations, and bell-weather IT firms public safety strategies, is a simple but effective means to improve interoperability leveraging the power of net centric warfare.

ANALYSIS: Describing the above paragraphs from this same source document, the DOD’s program that contributed greatly to the development of the network centric warfare concept: Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and its SATCOM variation Blue Force Tracking, soldier worn system Land Warrior and Joint variation JBFSA also rely on the heartbeat protocol and are moving towards implementing an entirely (binary) XML message payload vice the current hybrid military proprietary tactical data link (TADL) / XML header message / web server approach that provides 30 second refresh rates. In contrast, fast mover updates at the National Training Center in the Mohave Desert are required to be in the millisecond range that requires a constant stream of telemetry vice periodic web refreshes. From this same document describing air traffic control systems, ARINC cites the FBCB2 program and how its code was ported to the same OS (Heartbeat e9-1-1 is OS independent). The point being made is that Air Traffic control systems and the DOD are already on the same page using common denominators or building blocks – with the caveat that OPTEMPO rates and schema structures are employed differently. The DOD’s SA producing systems and the assets that they would work with and protect are poised to share data directly vice indirectly via data replication strategies or any number of middleware strategies. It is important to state here that DISA’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) product (Amberpoint) employs an end to end heartbeat protocol, heartbeat XML message based system health monitor of the NCES runtime environment that it is offering to all other agencies. In short, from foxhole to enterprise, the heartbeat protocol and heartbeat message schema exchange between DOD/military and commercial First Responder domains is clearly worth simulating to examine the potential increase of the power of network centricity and direct collaboration in response to mitigate the next (inter) national event.

RECOMMENDATION: Reapply Network Centric Warfare (NCW) procedures commercially leveraging the world's main network providers (Telco’s) that provide up to 80% of a military unit’s connectivity. Simulate from SAIC’s PSIC, a Homeland Security Heartbeat / (inter) National Common Operational Picture (NCOP) to demonstrate system failover, improved interoperability & operational synergy by direct message exchanges & use of battle tested procedures to update router/switch multicast group subscriptions between DOD SA systems/networks and Telco Public Safety Answering Points or PSAPs & selected key events, programs e.g., JEFX06, Capital Wireless Integrated Network CAPWIN.




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