Experts: Army’s $2.7 Billion Intelligence Computer Doesn’t Work

Analysts Familiar With System Say It Is Actually Hindering Intel Sharing

by Jason Ditz, July 05, 2011

How much money does it cost to build a computer system which shares real-time intelligence among troops fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan? The question is still out, but we know for sure that the $2.7 billion the Army has spent didn’t accomplish the goal.

That’s the report from experts and analysts familiar with the system, and which have used the system, and concluded that not only does it not work the way it was supposed to, it is actually making intelligence sharing more difficult.

At its core, the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) is supposed to quickly parse through text-based reports to find relevant information. In practice, the experts say, it crashes all the time and the search engine doesn’t work very well, when it works at all.

One of the intelligence officers familiar with the system insisted that virtually any commercial solution would have worked better, and there are calls to buy a different system. The Army is insisting the current system is already paid for and will eventually be fixed to work properly, but with support costs mounting and the system virtually useless, it seems difficult they will be able to argue that the sunken costs are anything but a total loss.

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