Advancing Airfield Security
Fort Bragg, N.C., known as the Army’s “Home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces,” houses the 82nd Airborne Division, one of two rapidly deployable Army divisions that make up the XVIII Airborne Corps. On any given day, approximately 14,500 82nd Airborne Division soldiers stand ready to execute airborne forcible entry missions into any area of the world within 18 hours.
Each soldier, regardless of his or her primary job, must maintain qualification through training exercises taking place continually on the base. Without a secure training ground on which to conduct these and other exercises – such as air mobility, air assault and surveillance – the soldiers would fail to achieve a constant state of readiness.
Simmons Army Airfield, one of two airfields located on the 251-square-mile-Army post, serves as one of these training grounds. The airfield is home to 203 military and civilian aircraft valued at more than $1.4 billion. To support aviation unit and individual training exercises, Fort Bragg officials sought to increase physical security on the airfield to prevent and deter threats and terrorist attacks. In addition to advancing perimeter security, officials needed to deliver real-time security information to its security operators in the event of a breach or attack. Fulfilling the need involved the integration of multiple sensor technologies into a common operating picture for its operators. Fort Bragg security officials looked to Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.; ObjectVideo, Reston, Va.; and Stanley Security Solutions, Indianapolis; to develop an Integrated Incident Management Center solution.
Based on Intergraph’s Computer-Aided Dispatch System (I/CAD), an intelligent mapping and data entry system, the incident management system integrates information from geographic information systems, E 9-1-1 radios and sensors to form a command-and-control center providing situational awareness and preparedness through a real-time map display. The I/CAD system enables operators to perform call handling, dispatching, records and information management, remote access and mobile data access.
Intergraph partnered with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory, to design the sensor network. Named the Bragg Experimental SensorNet Testbed, or BEST, the technology integrates chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) sensors, detectors and data for emergency response, Homeland security and defense applications. Before being integrated into the Simmons Airfield security plan, BEST had already been deployed across the entire Fort Bragg installation. To secure Fort Bragg, a string of operators access and monitor fire alarms, anti-intrusion sensors and CBRNE sensors from a single incident management facility. Securing Simmons Airfield works in a similar manner, with cameras acting as sensors.
David Borchert, program manager for BEST, says an important detail about BEST is that it allows for the integration of technology from different vendors. “BEST is not a single system; it is a standards-based framework that allows sensors, detectors and alarms from various vendors to participate together,” he says. “This includes technologies such as intelligent video surveillance, access control, incident management and dispatching first responders.”
Work on the Simmons Army Airfield perimeter security project began in the spring of 2006. Fort Bragg officials chose to integrate ObjectVideo VEW video analytics software to help manage perimeter intrusion detection. Using the software, security operators can set parameters and rule sets for images that appear on any of the 50-100 fixed and PTZ cameras dispersed throughout the airfield. The rule sets are linked to an alert capability, which sounds an alarm when a rule is violated. The images are digitized onto a set of servers, and as those images change, the software considers this change and compares it to a set of protocols. For example, a rule can be set to track objects taller than 3 ft. or vehicles that stop. If one of these conditions is violated, an alarm sounds. Upon an alert, the software provides users with an image of the specific violation, the location of the violation and a trajectory of the object before and after the event.
The ObjectVideo VEW system also enables a leader/follower camera capability and a cross-camera tracking function. Leader/follower tracking allows a fixed camera to control a PTZ camera and track moving targets in high-resolution. Cross-camera tracking enables target “hand-off” from camera to camera without an overlap in fields of view. VEW is configured to send a field-of-view map to the I/CAD system, enabling it to display camera locations and live video shots to airfield operators working in the incident management center.
Stanley Security Solutions aided in installing and integrating the airfield security devices, in addition to providing access control solutions for entry and exit gates.
John Halsema, Intergraph’s director of technology for advanced security solutions, stresses the importance of the system enabling communication between base security officials working on and offsite. “We needed to virtualize the system, to connect people who are not physically there,” he says. “The question became ‘how do you push information out so that people on the scene will have the data needed to deal with the particular event?’ This was the solution.”
The installation was completed in September 2006.