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US: Army, Industry Speed Document Exploitation

by Ann RooseveltDefense Daily
February 10th, 2004

 

The Army has enlisted The Sytex Group, Inc.'s Sytex unit and American Management Systems [AMSY] to aid soldiers in Iraq translate and manage captured foreign documents with the Document and Media Exploitation (DOMEX) Tactical Support Suite (TSS).

 

 The software suite saves time and can offer tactically useful information because an analyst can use the tools to quickly winnow through the volume of documents captured or found, even if the soldier is not a linguist, Sytex's Robert Gleason told Defense Daily at the National Defense Industrial Association's Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict conference in Washington D.C., last week. Thus the suite becomes a force multiplier since the Army doesn't have as many linguists as it would like.

 

 "We found many important people by using the DOMEX system," Gleason said.

 

 Former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, using a version of DOMEX, working closely with soldiers was able to wade through the vast reams of paper in the painstaking search for weapons of mass destruction, said David Place, INSCOM associate director for technical services.

 

 "It's a partnership," among the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the two companies to leverage operational knowledge and the techniques of document exploitation, Place said.

 

 The DOMEX suite consists of a computer, a document scanner and several specialized computer programs allowing the operator to scan, store, index, search and translate documents, in any of the major foreign languages, Gleason said. Once scanned, the documents are manipulated "to give us an idea what this document is about." The operator can then translate the document immediately or let it wait until later. Also, the suite is linked to tactical and national systems and associated intelligence specialists.

 

 "Almost every major organization was coming to us for information," Gleason said of the unit set up in Baghdad. DOMEX there was hooked into powerful servers and able to connect to tactical and national systems and databases. As well, soldiers take laptops and scanners out to the field with units to use on the spot as documents are found.

 

 The system is easy for soldiers to use, Gleason said. "A day of training and they can do this," he said.

 

 A commercial document management system used by the military, federal agencies called High View has "been around almost 15 years and is now in its fourth iteration," said Douglas Dearie, AMS's senior principal. The DOMEX Suite is a step up in capabilities.

 

 "The idea is to have a product able to ingest a large volume ofdocuments, so analysts and linguists can extract intelligence," Dearie said.

 

Gleason said the system uses several products from the Language and Speech Exploitation Resources (LASER) advanced concept technology demonstration, such as optical character recognition, information retrieval and machine translation through automated workflows.

 

 A demonstration in December 2002 took the concept to prototype in 63 days with $500,000, Place said. After the demonstration, the Army signed a "statement of urgency" to get the suites to Iraq.

 

 For the future soldier, Dearie said, there's no technological reason why a soldier in the field couldn't use a personal digital assistant or other computer capability with a pen-like scanning tool to send data back to analysts and linguists.

 

 AMS is based in Fairfax, Va. Sytex, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sytex Group, Inc. based in Doylestown, Pa.





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