Army Rainmaker

Challenge

The U.S. Army has hundreds of intelligence feeds used to support operations in the field—ground sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), human intelligence (HUMINT), etc. As data collection grows exponentially, end-users must deal with the rising volume and corresponding complexity of information. Army computing platforms must also scale to meet both the rising volume of data as well as increased demands required to extract useful information in support of the mission—anything from entering a village to capturing an enemy leader. In parallel, the Army must make this capability available through a streamlined and fielded operational infrastructure (the machinery that allows our troops access to timely information where they need it, when they need it).

Solution

In 2010, Engility worked with the Army to build and deploy a cloud-based intelligence system called “Rainmaker” to Afghanistan. The solution is set to become the foundation for their next generation infrastructure. It is literally a cloud-in-a-box that is deployed in a shipping container to sites in the United States and overseas. This cloud packs a punch of 1,800+ cores and a petabyte of data storage (each cloud can store half of the information housed in all of America’s academic libraries). It provides infrastructure, platform, and Software as a Service (SaaS) for Army operations. It is being leveraged to not only consolidate current Army applications into the cloud, but also to provide massive data processing and analytics to meet Army intelligence operation needs. Engility led the architecture, development, integration, and testing on the effort in 2010 and, in 2011, Engility took the reins of the overall release of the solution.

Engility developed an architecture that accounts for the diversity of the data models employed throughout the Intelligence Community by using a data model-agnostic approach, allowing for data integration via unified storage of structured data. Rainmaker uses high-performance clusters on the back-end to support the system’s operations.

Benefits/Achievements

Rainmaker was successfully implemented at U.S. Army bases in-theater to improve communication among intelligence, tactical, counternarcotics, and counterterrorism initiatives. For example, when Afghan drug lords finance Taliban insurgents, counternarcotic data from one database can be combined with Taliban financing data from an Army database inside the cloud, allowing analysts to make timely, critical connections and stay one step ahead of insurgents.