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The Adaptive Capabilities Office (ACO), works in close partnership with the military services to focus on pathways to address critical national security challenges. ACO is defining architectural solutions that combine emerging technologies with new warfighting constructs to address challenges in contested environments. These architectures will be vetted with a combination of modeling and simulation and a robust campaign of experimentation in order to realize new doctrine, concepts of operations, and technologies that will enable joint, highly integrated capability sets.
The advance of technology has evolved the roles of humans and machines in conflict from direct confrontations between humans to engagements mediated by machines. Originally, humans engaged in primitive forms of combat. With the advent of the industrial era, however, humans recognized that machines could greatly enhance their warfighting capabilities. Networks then enabled teleoperation, which eventually proved vulnerable to electronic attack and subject to constraint due to long signal propagation distances and times. The next stage in warfare will involve more capable autonomous systems, but before we can allow such machines to supplement human warfighters, they must achieve far greater levels of intelligence.
Start with a selection of tiles of different colors and shapes and you can assemble a thousand different mosaic images. Mosaic composition has become an important metaphor for STO. DARPA envisions combatant commanders of the future plucking from a list of manned and unmanned weapon systems and tiling them together into a battle plan.