Vanguard Magazine

Vanguard August/September 2021

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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32 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 AI Headquarters Requirements and AI To understand how AI could ease the data burden on a tactical HQ, a brief discus- sion of the raison d'etre of these HQs and its inputs will provide context to the risk of data overload. Tactical HQs track and manage current operations and plan future operations, relying on many forms of data to fulfil these functions. The key tool in a tactical HQ is the map, ideally, an elec- tronic one but paper maps are still com- monplace. The data being monitored and analysed includes the status of all friendly military forces including coalition part- ners (own forces), the status of observed and reported adversary forces, supporting interagency elements, other mission part- ners, neutral players such as aid agencies, and local populations. Additionally, data on terrain, meteorological, equipment ca- pabilities, partner and adversary capabili- ties, and intentions and media, plus many other types of data, are tracked by tactical HQs. A commander is supported by a staff, a variety of tools, both manual and auto- mated, and processes and procedures. The staff is organised into a specific structure, in Canada the continental staff system is used with G/J 1 through 9 supported by specialist staff. The commander and staff are trained on the tools and processes used within a tactical HQ, a requirement that is continuous. Finally, both commanders and staff are shaped by their individual and col- lective experiences and beliefs. The human dimension adds yet another layer of com- plexity to the analysis of data as we all view data through the lenses of our experiences. In addition to the people and processes, a tactical HQ relies on battle manage- ment systems (BMS) to store, manipulate, analyse and view data. Like any computer system, a BMS requires training to be an effective tool. A major challenge today is there are multiple BMSs found in a tactical HQ and the level of training varies from system to system. Frequently, these sys- tems are not integrated, relying on a 'swiv- el chair' to move data from one system to another and, since data is in multiple sys- tems, there is no common view, referred to as a common operating picture. This adds a significant burden to the staff working in a tactical HQ, compounding the data overload risk and potentially compromises the ability of commanders to make timely and effective decisions. Another challenge related to technology is the need for CAF members to plan, de- ploy and manage these systems. The ability of the CAF to train operators and techni- cians will constrain the degree to which technical solutions can be employed in tactical HQs. The first step to mitigating the data overload risk in a tactical HQ is to de- velop an integrated solution for the BMS. A capable BMS will provide the following functionality: • Integrated Geographical Information System (GIS) that supports standard military symbology and graphics. It should also include geospatial analysis tools and display management. • Current operational picture (COP) dis- play and management. • Tools to support plan development and management. • Tools to support orders production, in- cluding annexes and appendixes. • Speciality tools to support logistics and other speciality function planning. • Support communications between other tactical HQs (national and coalition). • Support interoperability using standards such as MIP, NFFI, FFI, Link 16, VMF, and other international data exchange standards. A common BMS employed at different levels of command will reduce the train- ing burden and will help ensure a com- monality of data throughout the network. Common systems and processes, especially between coalition partners, also facilitates interoperability, easing the sharing of data. Finally, the BMS must be synchronised with HQ processes, governed by appro- priate policies and all users must be fully trained on how to use the BMS. With an effective BMS in place, consid- eration can be given to augmenting it with AI tools. As stated above, AI is viewed as a means to improve data exploitation for enhanced operational effectiveness. The first area is in managing data conflicts. On the modern battlefield, there is a myriad of sensors and in Canada's case, most of the new equipment fleets recently brought into service or about to be brought into service include sensors and tracking sys- tems. Each will detect and track objects within their range of operation often with overlapping coverage areas resulting in the same track being detected and reported multiple times. These duplicated tracks and events, reported as individual events, results in a cluttered and confused picture for commanders and staff. AI provides an effective tool to correlate and fuse tracks and events to provide a clean situational picture. Further, AI has proven effective in AI provides an effective tool to correlate and fuse tracks and events to provide a clean situational picture. Further, AI has proven effective in managing video and photo data to quickly identify relevant information.

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