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Multi-domain cognitive analysis sensor environment.

The Army requires a capability to capture all information generated on the battlefield throughout history and to provide improved situational awareness and early warnings to Soldiers on the ground, in the air, and at sea. All military forces around the world have used some type of sensor (beginning with men) and method of dissemination network (beginning with couriers) to alert leaders and Soldiers of incoming threats and hazards. The advent of radar and radios significantly changed the dynamics of warfare across conflict areas during World War II. (1) These technological wonders provided a key edge for the military by improving the ability to warn against incoming threats and focusing the limited combat assets on defeating or limiting threat abilities (primarily aerial) to destroy critical resources and facilities. After World War II, rapid advances in technology placed new sensors (night vision gear, infrared detectors, chemical sniffers, computing equipment, data transmission networks) across the battlespace.

Many Army proponents have invested in sensors to track, identify, analyze, and target threats for the last 6 decades, but these sensors represent organic capabilities with limited situational awareness of local forces only. More advanced situational awareness and targeting capabilities were envisioned with the Future Combat System (FCS), which consists of separate sensors that report singular, separate types of information (separate analyzing and processing) for the common operating picture, but provides limited capabilities. (2) The idea of integrating sensors and intelligence to synchronize data to the common operating picture is not new; what is new is how we integrate sensors and other information gathering and weapon systems and how the data that is collected is shared, processed, analyzed, disseminated, and transmitted back to other sensors and weapons on the battlefield. This integration provides commanders and Soldiers with real-time warning, planning, and engagement capabilities within the command operating environment.

Cognitive analytics refers to the application of these technologies to enhance human decisions. This application takes advantage of the vast data-processing power of cognitive computing and adds channels for data collection (such as sensing applications) and the environmental context to provide business insights. If cognitive computing changed the way in which information is processed, cognitive analytics is changing the way information is applied. (3) As envisioned, this new capability--called the Multi-Domain Cognitive Analysis Sensor Environment (MD CASE)--will involve more than traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; singular mission command; and intelligence enterprises. It will truly prompt a rethinking of how the Army fights, alone or with joint or coalition forces. Cognitive analytics is also linked to U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet (Pam) 525-3-1, The U.S. Army Operating Concept--Win a Complex World 2020-2040; the Army Big 6+1 capabilities (future vertical lift, combat vehicles, cross-domain fires, advanced protection, expeditionary mission command/cyber electromagnetic, robotics and autonomous systems [RAS], and Soldier/team performance and overmatch); and each TRADOC center of excellence science and technology requirement. (4, 5)

MD CASE is a multilayered, intelligent, self-healing network of smart, disparate sensors (active and passive) and weapon systems connected to a cognitive computing system. The cognitive computing system processes, amalgamates, and analyzes data to provide commanders with contextual insights that enable real-time early warning, planning, execution, and mission command while providing multidomain, 3-D situational awareness at the tactical through strategic levels. Due to the scope of its operational capabilities, MD CASE is available for commanders to use from Phase 0 through Phase 5 of operations at multiple locations across the globe and throughout space. MD CASE promulgates the tenants of cross-domain maneuver and fires from theater to Soldier level.

When MD CASE is fully implemented, it will provide the Army and joint Services with superior overmatching capabilities in the critical areas where peers strive to have situational, tactical, and operational overmatch before and during all phases of military operations. There are four steps required for the implementation of MD CASE (see Figure 1):

Step 1. Sensor network array. Regardless of their location within the multidomains (space, air, land, sea, and cyberspace), smart/disparate sensors operate as passive detectors and active emitters. Their primary function is to map real-time geospatial terrain; detect, locate, identify, target, and track individuals, ground and aerial vehicles, ballistic or cruise missiles, rockets, artillery or mortars, ground-based hazards (chemical, biological, and radiological; obstacles; minefields), radar, directed energy, and radio frequency; and locate those assets using stealth, camouflage, and concealment decoy-enabled capabilities.

Step 2. Collection nodes. Collection nodes are transreceivers that are self-powered or integrated into other platforms. These nodes can stream data to and from other collection nodes and smart/disparate sensors to several cognitive-analysis terminals at specific levels of command (theater, corps, division, and brigade) and locations (continental United States, rear areas, forward-deployed areas) based on preauthorization authority. These nodes comprise a self-healing recognition network that uses government organization networks, joint networks, node assets, and Army network capabilities.

Step 3. Cognitive analysis. Cognitive analysis--the heart and soul of the sensor environment--uses software algorithms to fuse and analyze data and to determine the relevance, accuracy, and validity of the data while prioritizing the required information. The information is transmitted to selected applications that are integrated into the common operating picture, where the information is processed. This leads to recommendations for automated and manual command decisions. The software then turns key information into visual and actionable machine and human language to enhance situational understanding.

Step 4. Warning and early warning. Warnings and early warnings are critical components for data processing within MD CASE. An internal process alerts commanders and Soldiers of immediate threats and hazards (protection) and cues other systems for the specific execution of predefined actions without human intervention. It can also alert commanders and Soldiers of the threat and prompt for acknowledgement and action.

The intent of this article is to energize combat developers and program managers to broaden the horizon and encourage Soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors to envision and improve cognitive analytics ideas. The defense capability allows for smaller, more agile, expeditionary staff and forces to be infused with an improved blue force tracker capability. MD CASE improves intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance knowledge management that is tied directly into targeting and cueing of the threat with specific detailed information. The span of systems that use sensors is provided with the unparalleled ability to focus operations from direct actions (fight) to the front, rear, and side areas with enhanced situational understanding and security without syphoning combat forces or limiting capabilities. Wide area security, critical rear area facilities, and mobility corridors receive a level of protection and survivability through the ability to focus forces and resources when needed. Bypassed areas (areas that can become sanctuaries and marshaling positions to threat forces) and areas where no joint forces or U.S. forces are located can be monitored, and the threat can be tracked and targeted before it can control or attack from those areas of relative safety. Warnings and early warnings increase the alert time of incoming threats, and information about the severity (hazard, type of threat) and current location are provided to commanders. This critical information enables protection and allows countermeasures to limit the effect from the threat to friendly forces.


(1) Royal Air Force Museum Web site, "Radar-The Battle Winner?" < -exhibitions/history-of-the-battle-of-britain/radar-the-battle -winner.aspx>, accessed on 30 September 2016.

(2) Jennifer D. P. Moroney et al., Building Partner Capabilities for Coalition Operations, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, 2007, < /u2/a473915.pdf>, accessed on 30 September 2016.

(3) Rajeev Ronanki and David Steier, "Cognitive Analytics: Wow Me With Blinding Insights, HAL," Tech Trends 2014, 2014, Deloitte MCS Limited, < /dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/technology/deloitte-uk-cognitive -analytics-chapter-summary.pdf>, accessed on 30 September 2016.

(4) TRADOC Pam 525-3-1, The U.S. Army Operating ConceptWin a Complex World 2020-2040, 31 October 2014.

(5) Daniel Wasserbly, "U.S. Army to Get Senior Leaders More Involved in Equipment Development," IHS Jane's Defense Weekly, 27 September 2016, < /us-army-to-get-senior-leaders-more-involved-in-equipment -development>, accessed on 5 October 2016.

Mr. Chapman is a military analyst for the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence; Capability Development Integration Directorate; Concepts, Organization, and Doctrine Development Division; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He has more than 40 years of experience within the Army Chemical Corps, including more than 22 years in the Combat Development and Doctrine Development Branches at the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.

Caption: Figure 1. Four steps of MD CASE implementation
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Author:Chapman, Frank D.
Publication:CML Army Chemical Review
Date:Dec 22, 2016
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