WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO --
A key component to total force integration relationships is providing critical support to host units. This past year Master Sgt. David Meyers, 718th Intelligence Squadron, stepped up to assist the 718th IS’ sister unit, the 45th Intelligence Squadron, as forensic intelligence program manager, responsible for a team of 23 analysts who conducted 24/7 Gorgon Stare 2 (GS2) Post-Ingest Exploitation (PIE) imagery analysis.
Meyers was tasked with establishing a training program, developing the Airmen and looking for innovative ways to improve the program.
Gorgon Stare 2 is a sensor capable of recording up to 12 hours of full motion video within an 8 km diameter/50 km2 area known as wide area motion imagery. Beginning in 2018, the 45 IS established a forensic intelligence team responsible for all GS2 imagery analysis within their area of responsibility. Their impact on the battlespace was immediate and the demand for forensic intelligence support increased.
Lt. Col. Brian Brooks, 718th IS, commander, recognized the impact the forensic intelligence team had made, its future potential, and the need to support their classic associate unit the 45 IS.
“While serving as the 45th IS’ director of operations, I saw that the early successes of the forensic intelligence team were impressive and immediately established itself as an essential component of our intelligence operations,” said Brooks.
Brooks anticipated that the program would need a solid foundation to continue its success and recommended Meyers, who had previous program management and training experience, to continue building the capability.
Meyers immediately launched into his new roles and responsibilities. He studied the capabilities of the GS2 sensor, reviewed the program’s organization and accomplished mission qualification training to become a fully certified forensic analyst.
“It was very important to me to learn everything I could about my new position and duties in order to prepare myself to lead, sustain and develop the program,” said Meyers.
After taking the necessary time to become knowledgeable, Meyers, in collaboration with forensic mission managers Staff Sgt. Pike Pernsteiner and Senior Airman Michael Hardison, determined three key priorities that needed to be accomplished: secure additional manning, establish program standards and pursue operational innovation.
Through persistent engagement with the 45th IS leadership by emphasizing the programs growing customer demand and highlighting its continued successes Meyers was able to grow the number of dedicated forensic analysts from 16 to 23. Additionally, an all-encompassing training plan was created.
“By far the most challenging part of this job has been pursuing operational innovation,” said Meyers. “Prior to this I have never been involved in any type of program development or acquisition and procurement. Now we have two programs which are in development and close to deployment.”
The result of all these efforts has fueled many successes with broad battlespace impacts that range from development of insurgent networks and high value individuals for targeting, supporting air strikes and special operations, to safeguarding our warfighters with overwatch and warnings.
Meyers is confident that the program has a solid foundation as he is preparing for the transition to the next generation of program leadership.
“It has been a fantastic opportunity to work with this team of accomplished and dedicated Airmen and to have experienced the growth and success that we have. I’m thankful for and honored with the confidence that the leadership in the 718th IS and 45th IS had in me to lead such an important program.” said Meyers.