The 2006 International Symposium on Collaborative Technologies and Systems (CTS 2006)

In Technical Cooperation with
The IEEE Computer Society
Technical Committee on Parallel Processing (TCPP) and
Task Force on Human Centered Information Systems (TFHIS)
The IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetic Society (SMCS)

Panel Session

Panel I: How Well Are We Providing Decision Makers With What They Need?
David Coleman html pdf


How Well Are We Providing Decision Makers With What They Need?

Moderator: Vance Saunders

Advanced Systems Manager, ISR
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.


Mr. Terry Balven
Chief Information Officer, Headquarters Air Force (HAF) Acquisition Office, and a member of the DoD Senior Executive Service (SES)

Colonel Roger Gant
ISRB Commander, US Air Force

Dr. Nahum Gershon
Senior Principle Scientist at the MITRE Corporation, Virginia, USA


Providing decision makers in various organizations, private, commercial or government alike, with the Right Information at the Right Time in the Right Place and in the Right Format has become the catch phrase used to express the ultimate "Holy Grail" use or purpose for collaborative technologies. The DoD uses a different catch phrase to encapsulate the same concept: "Providing Actionable Intelligence to the Warfighter". Regardless of how it is expressed, the fundamental requirement (and challenge) is to provide "any decision maker" with "all" of the information he or she needs, in the time frame he or she needs it, to make a decision and affect a particular event in a way that is "good" for the decision maker.

Many contend we are not doing a good job achieving the fundamental requirement stated above. Many also contend the reasons we are failing have nothing to do with technical/technology issues. While the 80+% technical solution is nowhere close to reality today, we have developed and implemented a baseline set of technology that allows the fundamental requirement above to be accomplished ... from a technical standpoint. So, technology is not the limiting factor(s). Cultural, social, political, psychological and privacy/security related issues are the obstacles to providing "any decision maker" with "all" of the information he or she needs, in the time frame he or she needs it.

This year's panel will explore these non-technical roadblocks to successfully "Providing Actionable Intelligence to the Warfighter" and stimulate discussion on ways to begin addressing these roadblocks in more focused ways than currently exist today.


Mr. Terry Balven is a member of the DoD Senior Executive Service (SES) and currently serves as the Chief Information Officer for the Headquarters Air Force (HAF) Acquisition Office. Mr. Balven has over 26 years of operational and acquisition experience spanning his military and civilian service career. For the past 8 years Mr. Balven has been involved with the highest levels of AF decision making regarding IT policy development, deployment, execution and management. In his current position he is responsible for architecture development, data strategy, and systems migration for the Air Force acquisition community. Previously he established the position of HAF Chief Information Officer, developed the charter for the Information and Technology Management Board to oversee HAF process improvement and IT investment, developed the first elements of a policy framework for HAF management of IT, and led cross-functional team to develop a HAF enterprise-level information architecture and a comprehensive plan for process reengineering and enabling IT projects.

Colonel Roger Gant commands the Air Force's provisional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Battlelab (ISRB). The ISRB serves as a clearinghouse to match warfighter needs with technology and processes which can rapidly be developed and fielded to improve the ability of the Air Force to execute its core competencies and Joint warfighting. The ISRB facilitates the means to better plan, execute, dynamically manage, and assess airpower across the spectrum of conflict. Colonel Gant is a career Intelligence officer and has served at flying wings, major commands, the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Agency's Defense HUMINT Service, and the National Reconnaissance Office. Col Gant was an assistant Air Attache at the US Embassy, Paris, France. He participated in Operation Southern Watch and deployed in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he served during the war as the Combined Forces Air Component Commander's ISR advisor to the Combined Forces Land Component Commander and staff. Prior to his current position as ISRB Commander, Col Gant was the Director of Intelligence for the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center (AFC2ISR) where he orchestrated ISR improvements to the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS) and Air and Space Operations Center (AOC) weapon systems.

Nahum Gershon. Nahum grew up in a melting pot- a real one. This multi-lingual environment was cerebral but also literal and oral. So naturally, he desired, since he was a child, to be a scientist, an aspiration he fulfilled specializing in the areas of chemistry, physics, and biology. Later in life, he discovered that humans cannot live on reason & linear thinking alone, so he went through years of personal transformation. Today, Nahum works on combining creative expressions like storytelling, film, and visual and interactive design with technology and strategic planning. He can still be logical (and very much so), but he does it only when appropriate. Nahum is a Senior Principle Scientist at the MITRE Corporation where he focuses on research and practical applications of presentation and visualization of data and information, as it relates to perception, society, storytelling, and culture. Routinely, he tries very hard not to torture his audience with PowerPoint slides and bully bullets whenever possible. In his free time, Nahum, among other things, participates in a number of national and international committees. He enjoys life.

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