RSPACE seeks to create a revolutionary distributed planning capability to provide resilient command and control (C2) and to manage complex military operations even when communications are limited and unreliable. RSPACE is developing human-centered software decision aids that, based on the commander’s intent, will help operators throughout the C2 enterprise control daily operations in a complex battlespace – composing mission packages (coordinating across the network as needed), responding to emerging opportunities, and assessing progress towards achieving the commander’s intent. RSPACE is focused on the operational level of the air operations domain.
The U.S. military has evolved over the years to a highly centralized architecture for operational-level C2 of air operations. This has resulted in a heavy reliance on robust, high-bandwidth communications, which are subject to disruption. Distributed planning provides a leap ahead in resilience for C2, supporting control throughout the architecture that adapts to the changing state of the network. The challenge for RSPACE is to develop tools that enable coordination in the face of disrupted communications and high levels of uncertainty. A complementary challenge for RSPACE is to provide automation support to help operators at heterogeneous C2 nodes (e.g., a wing, a carrier battle group, or a control and reporting center) manage the complexity of C2 in an uncertain battlespace. Finally, RSPACE seeks to develop tools that optimize the respective roles of people and machines – with people providing insight and creativity while machines track details and apply such strengths as quickly comparing and measuring options.
While RSPACE will be built upon a well-established base of automated planning and scheduling technology, current capabilities are insufficient to meet the needs of the program vision. Success will require research that extends the state of the art in three key areas:
These research challenges are being addressed in the context of a three-phase program effort directed towards the development and evaluation of an integrated system that will be evaluated in a realistic military environment. If successful, RSPACE will ensure continuity of operations when communications are limited and enable small, distributed staffs to quickly generate effective responses to events in the battlespace as they unfold.
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