command, control, communications, and computers) and the unified combatant commanders in order to develop plans and procedures for obtaining access to SBR resources if required.


System designers of autonomous vehicles often neglect the potential operational benefits to be derived by employing level of mission autonomy as a design choice in up-front trade-off studies, instead electing to focus on trade-offs relating to vehicle performance characteristics (e.g., speed, range, endurance, stealth) and subsystem capability (e.g., sensing and communications). This approach constrains the level of autonomy that can be implemented later in the development and prevents designs that might provide greater operational benefit in terms of impacting mission effectiveness, vehicle survivability, and system affordability.

Recommendation 4: The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN(RD&A)) should mandate that level of mission autonomy be included as a required up-front design trade-off in all unmanned vehicle system development contracts. Specifically:

4.1 Incorporate Level of Mission Autonomy as an Autonomous Vehicle Design Trade-off. The ASN(RD&A) should direct appropriate agencies in the Navy and Marine Corps to exploit level of mission autonomy as a degree of freedom for impacting concepts of operations, mission effectiveness, vehicle survivability, and system affordability by including a level of mission autonomy as a design choice in the early-stage system trade-off studies. The architecture of all new autonomous vehicles should be such that increasing levels of autonomy can be implemented in the field by modular replacement and/or software upgrade.

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