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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation Summary The U.S. military and its allies have committed to a strategy of network-centric warfare (NCW) with ever-increasing levels of investment in and dependence on networked systems. As a result, the Army has become increasingly aware of the critical role that network science will play in achieving national defense goals. This report discusses a strategy for an Army center for conducting network science, technology, and experimentation supportive of all of the military services and joint operations. The report examines, evaluates, and recommends appropriate operating models and infrastructure for an Army network science, technology, and experimentation center (NSTEC). To a large extent, the study was initiated as a result of base realignment and closure (BRAC) decisions that are presenting the Army with many challenges and opportunities; a major study goal included minimizing the former and maximizing the latter. Although technologies for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) technologies, and associated concepts such as situational awareness, are currently the main focus for developing the “network” in NCW, these areas are only part of the overall picture. The 2005 National Research Council (NRC) report Network Science (NRC, 2005) identified areas of research and challenges involving biological, social, and engineered networks that are key to advancing network science and technology. Future advances in NCW will be highly dependent on a combination of basic and applied research, multidisciplinary concepts, experimentation, and the timely transition of innovative developments to usable applications. The challenge for the Army is to expand the present emphasis on C4ISR networks to incorporate the full scope of emerging developments in network science by taking advantage of the impending BRAC relocations of
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation research, development, and engineering resources to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland. At the onset of this study, the Army sponsor clarified the statement of task (see Preface) to include a consideration of networks in a broad sense, as well as an examination of the needs of the Army for network science and technology (S&T) investment that would support its longer-term goals. These goals relate to network layers commonly referred to as the transport, services, information, and human interaction layers. The Committee on Strategies for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation was asked to compare these needs with the current Army organization capacity for undertaking S&T, to assess the spectrum of practical options available to pursue long-term goals, and to recommend an optimized collaborative approach for Army research, technology, and experimentation that would enable solutions for important real-world problems for the Army involving networks and network operations. The study addresses the functions that a world-class center for network science, technology, and experimentation must perform. Clearly, basic and applied research and experimentation activities are essential,1 but an NSTEC could also support acquisition program managers on a reimbursable basis to transition network technology, essentially spanning the gamut of funding for research, development, and acquisition. Network science, technology, and experimentation (NSTE) is rapidly evolving with changing needs, emerging technology, and new capabilities. The committee acknowledged the importance of the role of the soldier in the successful application of network technology in warfare and recommends increased investments in behavioral and social sciences research that would consider human performance in networks and add to understanding of the adversary. The committee assumed that the purposes for establishing an NSTEC would be to promote creativity and innovation, to attract and retain intellectual talent, to establish partnerships that can capitalize on frontier research at universities and in industry, and to achieve affordable and timely network technology and system solutions through interactions with the warfighter/user. The committee consulted directly with Army Materiel Command personnel and other personnel responsible for and familiar with BRAC planning and implementation. It reviewed models of existing organizations in government and industry that might possibly be used to form a basis for an Army NSTEC, including models envisioned in relevant past studies. The committee also reviewed the activities and resources of the Army and other military services that are currently engaged in NSTE. Deficiencies or shortcomings that a new organization for NSTE might be required to address were identified, and a mission statement to overcome these was formulated. 1 These are activities supported through Army budgetary classifications 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 for program funding.
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation The committee evaluated the pros and cons of centralized facilities versus purely distributed elements and determined that a hybrid of the two would be necessary based on practical limitations. It then considered the infrastructure resources necessary for an Army NSTEC and the physical realization of these in light of Army facilities planning for BRAC, and it examined legal and governance considerations necessary for an NSTEC to accomplish its mission and to exploit contemplated partnerships with industry and academia and relationships throughout the Department of Defense (DOD). It evaluated a variety of approaches over the course of the study and considered options for operating models, both new ones and those that have been explored in other studies. The committee also considered where NSTE activities are situated within the Army, as well as elsewhere in the DOD or other government facilities, in academia, and in industry. The impending relocations of key Army organizations involved in NSTE from Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, were deemed a prime opportunity to facilitate establishment of a world-class organization for NSTE that the committee believes is urgently needed to confront the challenges of NCW. In brief, the report provides answers to the following questions: What network science, technology, and experimentation is needed by the Army? (Chapter 2) What constitutes NSTE across the Army today? (Chapter 3) What infrastructure resources are needed? (Chapter 4) What operating and governance models are most likely to satisfy the creation of a world-class NSTE capability? (Chapter 5) Network-centric operations have proven their worth in military operations and are a central premise for warfighting capabilities. NSTE must provide the developmental basis for network-centric operations in both conventional and irregular warfare. As the military increases its reliance on networks, the Army will be pressed to exploit NSTE to an unprecedented degree. The Army will need to consider a range of topics in a broad array of network science areas to translate its investment strategy into advances in network research and technology. To facilitate the identification of NSTE activities, the committee developed the following definition: Network science, technology, and experimentation (NSTE) encompasses all information and information exchange, visualization, collaboration, manipulation, protection, restoration, transport, services, data storage, and application layers. Information sources (e.g., sensors) and the processing inherent in them are interfaced to the network, but the sensors and processing per se are not included in the definition, except for cases where the processing is necessarily integral to the network, such as for
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation distributed remote sensors. Human use of networks is a critical component of NSTE. As a result of BRAC, many, if not most, of the personnel and facilities performing essential NSTE activities for the Army will move to APG. The two major organizations involved with NSTE include the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at Adelphi, Maryland, and the Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC), now at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. Elements of other organizations are also involved with NSTE, including the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI), the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (ARIEM), the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), and others. Without a plan to combine and unify NSTE activities, the Army will merely relocate and reconstruct CERDEC at APG in its present form and fail to capitalize on the synergies possible with network science research. Options for physical realization of an Army NSTEC range from a centralized facility in a single location to an organization using networked connectivity that is fully distributed in multiple locations. There are important pros and cons for each, but regardless of the configuration selected, there will be a critical requirement for partnerships with academia and industry that will require interconnections to many locations. The magnitude and diversity of the required infrastructure suggest a phased implementation approach to establishing an NSTEC. The BRAC timetable is relatively inflexible, and the requisite talents and skills of the leadership team that will be needed are likely to be different for different phases of implementation. The content of the NSTE R&D portfolio will also change as the new organization assumes its mission and matures. Previous comparative analyses have narrowed the field of consideration of prospective models for Army research organizations to government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO), federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), and government-owned, federal government corporation (FGC) operating models. The Army has a wealth of experience with a variation of the FFRDC known as the university-affiliated research center (UARC), and this is the path recommended by the committee. A core NSTEC UARC/FFRDC could be established at any appropriate location or locations and then be relocated at or in proximity to Aberdeen Proving Ground as circumstances warrant. In its early days, the UARC/FFRDC could perform a “gap filler” role when (1) existing Army resources are inadequate to accomplish all aspects of NSTE or (2) particular Army organizations involved in BRAC relocation to APG are unable to retain key personnel. In the long-term evolution of the NSTEC, the core UARC/FFRDC could consolidate responsibility for S&T in network science research and applications.
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation Overall coordination and implementation of NSTE for the Army will require extraordinary leadership at a level commensurate with the importance of network-centric operations in the future. Besides incorporating the core UARC, the new NSTEC organization would alter existing boundaries of responsibility for the various NSTE functions that are now performed by multiple organizations. For this reason, a director for all NSTE activities should be assigned immediately to assist with planning and establishment of the recommended NSTEC organization with a UARC/FFRDC core. Figure S-1 illustrates the committee’s recommendation for how the new organization should be formed. All NSTE efforts would become the responsibility of FIGURE S-1 Recommended NSTEC organization. (Acronyms are defined on pages xvi-xviii in the front matter.)
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation the proposed NSTEC. Within the NSTEC, the core UARC/FFRDC would begin by filling current gaps in S&T and would take responsibility for efforts that cannot be performed due to qualified technical staff deciding not to move to APG. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The following conclusions and recommendations address the complex set of requirements outlined in the committee’s statement of task, which is given in the Preface. Conclusion 1: Table S-1 provides a priority list of the network science areas and applications that the committee believes will be most important to the Army in the future. These include communications and information; human performance in networks; adversary understanding; and other non-physical areas of network science, such as systems biology, neural networks, and economic networks. Recommendation 1a: The Army should base its investment strategy for network science, technology, and experimentation (NSTE) on the priorities shown in Table S-1 and develop and fund a plan that: Continues the current Army focus on information networks, expanding these activities to address basic understanding and predictability of those networks; Provides the theoretical and scientific foundations for all network science research and applications; Significantly increases funding and efforts in human performance in networks and adversary understanding; and Invests in other disciplines, such as sociology, behavioral biology, and neural science, to ensure that the Army continually advances its understanding of network science. Recommendation 1b: The Army should immediately increase funding in the critical areas of: Predictability of network performance, Human performance in networks, and Adversary understanding. Moreover, the Army NSTE community should continuously consult with the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC), and the program executive officer/program manager (PEO/PM) of programs of record to identify additional gaps for immediate emphasis.
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation TABLE S-1 Network Areas and Priorities Priority Network Areas Important Applications 1 Communications and information Predictable performance: fundamental to command and control (C2) systems, logistics, training, etc., for both high and low levels of conflict, including operations at higher echelons down to the individual units and soldiers 2 Human performance in networks Improved command decision processes, soldier and team interaction, training, social interactions, etc. 2 Adversary understanding Social, cultural, organizational, religious, and economic command and control networks; critical counterinsurgency (COIN) interactions; intelligence analysis 3 Non-physical areas of network science (see Table 2-2) Systems biology, neural networks, and economic networks Recommendation 1c: In order to implement its investment strategy in NSTE, the Army should organize a center for NSTE (NSTEC) with a mission to: Strengthen the theoretical underpinnings of network science; Conduct basic research on how and why biological and social (non-physical) networks function and determine their applications to military networks; Manage activities in network science research, technology development, and experimentation for the Army; Focus science and technology (S&T) investments to enable network-centric operations and warfare; Focus applied S&T to enable social networks important to Army operations; and Enable development of network science applications and facilitate their transition to Army and joint operations. Conclusion 2: Current responsibility for NSTE is fragmented across several organizations. As the BRAC relocations to APG occur with concomitant losses in personnel and facilities, the existing NSTE capabilities will be further divided and eroded, hindering essential progress toward improvements in the Army’s ability to conduct network-centric operations and warfare.
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation Recommendation 2: The Army should change its organization and coordination of NSTE efforts to ensure essential support for future warfighting operations. Conclusion 3a: The extensive infrastructure needed to support Army NSTE requirements will be developed initially from the facilities of existing organizations and will require a special planning effort to synchronize with BRAC relocations already in progress. Conclusion 3b: The magnitude and diversity of the required infrastructure suggest a phased implementation approach to establish an Army NSTEC. A plan to develop NSTE capabilities and infrastructure could be phased over multiple years, beginning with the reorganization of existing and relocated facilities and ending with the establishment of a world-class center for network science, technology, and experimentation. An adequate plan will involve leadership with the appropriate talent and vision for all phases, especially as the content of the NSTE R&D portfolio matures. Conclusion 3c: Based on Army needs, the NSTEC should be a hybrid operation consisting of two or three centralized facilities having interconnectivity to a variety of distributed supporting elements. Recommendation 3: The Army should plan and fund for NSTE infrastructure resources that provide for (1) flexible configurations of network experiments and integration, both internally and externally; (2) facility designs that enhance and encourage academic and industry partnerships; and (3) an environment with world-class experimental capabilities and a campus-like atmosphere to attract truly talented people. Conclusion 4: The UARC/FFRDC operating model has emerged in recent years as a flexible and productive model capable of integrating commercial and military R&D development for the Army. The UARC/FFRDC is also superior to other operating models, because it allows ongoing access to a broad range of expertise, talent, and innovation while efficiently using government resources. Recommendation 4: The Army should establish a new UARC/FFRDC (or expand an existing UARC/FFRDC) to serve as the core of an overall Army NSTEC organization. Conclusion 5: An NSTEC organization must exhibit a high degree of flexibility in personnel policies that will enable it to become a world-class leader in network research and development. Establishment and evolution of the NSTEC will require exceptional leadership.
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Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation Recommendation 5a: The Army strategy for NSTE should be to establish an NSTEC organization with a UARC/FFRDC core as shown in Figure S-1. Recommendation 5b: The Army should immediately designate a director to establish an Army NSTEC at Aberdeen Proving Ground (Maryland). The NSTEC director should report to the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) at a level equivalent to the ARL and RDEC directors. All NSTE funding and resources should be assigned to this individual. Recommendation 5c: For the NSTEC to be able to accomplish the mission envisioned, the Army should designate at least two deputy directors: one for technology and another for human performance/adversary understanding. This action will ensure that the large number of CERDEC engineers does not overwhelm research and development efforts in human performance and adversary understanding.
Representative terms from entire chapter: