WASHINGTON — A tool created by an Air Force software factory played an important role in the recent evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan, according to the service.
The tool, built by Kessel Run, a first of its kind software factory within the military, provided information regarding real-time, theaterwide awareness of logistics for the evacuation operation, allowing for more informed decision-making.
The Command and Control Incident Management Emergency Response Application, or C2IMERA, provides reporting, planning, force generation, emergency management, command-and-control monitoring, and execution. It uses customizable and optimized tools for a common operational picture and dashboard that consolidates information for enhanced command-and-control capabilities.
“The safe transit of more than 124,000 Americans and U.S. personnel, allies and partners, and Afghans at special risk from Kabul in the last two weeks of August was an extraordinary effort professionally carried out by AMC [Air Mobility Command] and AFCENT [Air Force Central Command], coalition, and joint force Airmen,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, who leads Ninth Air Force and is the head of U.S. Central Command’s air component. “Kessel Run’s C2IMERA application served as a reliable, adaptable tool as we planned and executed this complex, historic operation.”
The evacuations from Afghanistan look place as the U.S. withdrew its forces from and the Taliban took control of the country. The Air Force said it and industry partners were able to rapidly update C2IMERA in a four-day period to understand the rapidly changing environment to meet real-world needs.
That capability is critical to the Air Force and the Defense Department, which has been trying to adopt commercial best practices and realize the power of bringing modern software capabilities to its sometimes antiquated and industrial-age procedures and platforms.
“Prior to the capability request, AFCENT [U.S. Air Forces Central] and their installations were relying on typical manual processes like excel spreadsheets — which works in many cases — but is inefficient and does not provide ability for distributed access, data aggregation, or visualization capabilities,” said Capt. Maurice Morrell, program manager for the C2IMERA Team with Kessel Run. “Kessel Run’s C2IMERA team was able to modernize and update the software for theater and installation systems, providing an effective tactical to operational C2 bridge, as the operation was happening in real time.”
During the evacuation, a U.S. Air Forces Central Command location experienced an incident that affected a base’s flying operations, a service release said. The Combined Air and Space Operations Center used C2IMERA to receive automated alerts of the incident and response. This provided an additional level of coordination in near-real time, going beyond the manual reporting process, which saved response time and labor hours.
C2IMERA is now mandated for use across all Air Combat Command installations and is currently used at more than 40 Air Force installations.
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.