The goal of the Adapting Cross-Domain Kill-Webs (ACK) program is to assist military decision-makers with rapidly identifying and selecting options for tasking – and retasking – assets within and across organizational boundaries. While the technology developed for this program will apply at both the tactical and operational levels, ACK will focus on providing support for tactical decisions. Specifically, ACK will assist users with selecting sensors, effectors, and support elements across military domains (space, air, land, surface, subsurface, and cyber) to form and adapt kill webs to deliver desired effects on targets. It is expected that decision timelines will be on the order of minutes. Specifically not in scope for ACK are algorithms and software to manage the low-level execution of the assigned tasks (e.g., routing, payload scheduling, etc.).
There are three major challenges to realizing the ACK goals. First, in real-time (and largely at planning time), planners and operators have little or no insight into what capabilities are available across domains and what capacity and quality of service they may be able to offer. Second, each domain has its own set of commanders and missions they are tasked to service, making it challenging to assess meaningful tradeoffs of the “value” or “cost” of supporting new missions originating from another domain versus their own current set of missions. Third, given a set of diverse cross-domain kill web options, decision-makers need a way to compare them rapidly and select the “best” option.
ACK will enable multiple warfighters to define distributed effects and adapt them at up to combat speed using a shared set of resources. This will create greater lethality by pairing the right sensor and weapon together for a given target and operational problem. This will create greater resilience by enabling rapid substitutions if a capability is lost. It will produce greater efficiency by enabling better sharing of resources across domains and Services to balance tasking loads.
Further, ACK technology could help with the protection of sensitive capabilities by allowing service providers to offer capabilities across domains in terms of the effects they can provide, without exposing any details regarding how those effects will be achieved (i.e. without revealing sources and methods). If the program is successful, the technology developed under ACK will be an important enabler for the new joint multi-domain concepts that the Services are pursuing at both the operational and tactical levels.
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