“It was neat to see how this had become ingrained in the tactical culture of the Army as the way to share and distribute information,” Michaelis said.
TIGR transitioned to a formal Army program in 2012, and as the service resets to face new, more sophisticated threats, the system is being folded into a common operating environment. The Army’s Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE) will integrate TIGR data with that of several other C2 systems into a single user interface overlaid on a single map. Despite its consolidation, TIGR’s significance remains.
“It pushed intel out to the edge,” Evans said. “Mari [Maeda] really wanted to promulgate TIGR as a battle command system, not an intel system.”
“The beauty of TIGR,” Hack explained, “was that because it was on SIPRNet, even when soldiers rotated out of theater, they still kept up with what was going on. It was kind of like an Army social media tool where a guy might walk into a master sergeant’s office and say, ‘Let me show you what happened on TIGR yesterday.’”
Even today, it is the “best of breed” for disseminating an operating picture to small units, Hack added. In fact, a civilian version of TIGR is in use by a group called African Parks that works to protect animals and drive poachers from 10 nature reserves in Africa. Former British special forces experts running the effort knew and valued TIGR from their experience in Afghanistan. They contacted Swink to facilitate deployment of the system.
For Maeda, TIGR was also a step beyond the work that DARPA typically engages in.
“This wasn’t just publishing research,” she said. “We actually had people using the system. The captains, lieutenants, and soldiers who patrolled every day needed [tactical] knowledge as much as the intel guys. That’s where things changed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”