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2005–2006 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory 5 Survivability and Lethality Analysis Directorate INTRODUCTION The Survivability and Lethality Analysis Directorate (SLAD) was reviewed by the Panel on Survivability and Lethality Analysis during June 14-16, 2005, and May 15-17, 2006. SLAD is the U.S. Army’s primary source of survivability, lethality, and vulnerability (SLV) analysis and evaluation support with regard to major Army systems. SLAD’s general objective is to ensure that soldiers and systems can survive and function on the battlefield and to assess the degree to which Army systems are reliably lethal to enemy forces. Its mission includes SLV analysis and assessment through the entire life cycle of major Army systems, from development through acquisition to deployment and operation, in the context of a full spectrum of battle space environments and threat forces, tactics, and systems. SLAD further provides advice to Army Headquarters, Program Executive Officers, and subordinate Program Managers, as well as an array of other evaluators, system developers, and Army contractors, and other defense-oriented laboratories. Finally, SLAD is tasked with supporting special studies and inquiries motivated by and affecting current operations. In contrast to most other directorates at ARL, SLAD’s portfolio includes relatively little applied research funding, and no basic research funding. The overwhelming majority of SLAD funding is later in the Department of Defense (DoD) Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) chain, either provided by acquisition programs for SLV support or by RDT&E management support funding organic to the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The small fraction of applied research funding supporting SLAD is devoted to the development of tools, techniques, and methodologies required to undertake SLV analysis and assessment. This portfolio of funding reflects a relatively long period of stable SLV techniques, emphasizing ballistic survivability of armored systems and lethality of U.S. weapons systems against armored systems. SLAD is now supporting SLV analysis in a much broader and more rapidly evolving context, in which communications and networking, rather than weapons systems per se, are felt to be the essential
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2005–2006 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory and sustaining advantage of U.S. military forces. A central concern of the Board has been whether the directorate’s funding portfolio will result in tools, techniques, and methodologies capable of providing the Army with the assessment capability needed under the emerging paradigm of net-centric warfare in an irregular battle space. Tables A.1 and A.2 in Appendix A show the funding profile and the staffing profile for SLAD. CHANGES SINCE THE LAST REVIEW SLAD has experienced very significant changes, both organic and environmental, since the previous biennial assessment report. First, SLAD’s management has changed significantly, with a new Director, a new Division Head, and multiple middle management changes over the preceding 2 years. Second, SLAD has experienced an unprecedented level of program turnover (reaching 20 percent of its portfolio in fiscal year 2006) as SLAD support to current operations has displaced more routine SLV work, especially on legacy Army systems. SLAD funding also has grown during this assessment period, primarily to enable acquisition and deployment of SLAD-developed, urgently needed quick-reaction technology in support of current operations. ARL and SLAD management expect SLAD funding to decrease in coming fiscal years. Third, SLAD has continued to advance the development of methodologies aimed at assessing the effectiveness of systems of systems (SoS), which has been a continuing recommendation of the Board; the Board notes that the pace of that development has slowed, almost certainly as a direct result of the two changes noted earlier in this section. Although the slowdown is understandable, future SLAD contributions to critical Army needs are contingent on continued development of SoS assessment techniques. In 2006, ARL management indicated that it was willing to consider a Strategic Technology Initiative (STI) in the area of SoS methodology under SLAD leadership. As discussed later in this section, the Board strongly recommends that SLAD avail itself of this opportunity. Finally, SLAD is undertaking significant modernization of its SLV analysis infrastructure; this modernization is a critical task for SLAD, since the current effort will significantly affect its future capability to conduct, and especially to integrate the results of, SLV analysis. More broadly, the Board notes that SLAD has a more fully integrated perspective, broader intra-directorate communications and understanding, and a more global (if still implicit) vision for its future than in previous review periods. Even under the pressures of supporting current operations, SLAD is conducting many of its development tasks as components of an integrated set of capabilities, as opposed to a set of isolated tasks. This change, if exploited aggressively by SLAD and ARL management (and coupled with an increasingly strategic view on issues such as collaboration, workforce development, and the ability to do more with fewer resources), offers significant potential for the directorate, not only to consolidate its advances of the past few years but also to move to the next level of contribution to Army needs. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES Most Significant Advances SLAD’s continued development of the Modular UNIX-based Vulnerability Estimation Suite (MUVES)-3 software infrastructure reflects both modern management and technology for a substantial software program; as noted above, successful completion of MUVES-3 (with validated transition of component tools from the current production environment) is a critical enabling task for SLAD. Progress on this effort has been excellent, and both program and SLAD management have correctly identified the
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2005–2006 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory most important issues to be addressed in the near term. SLAD took a relatively bold step in implementing MUVES-3 in Java; the Board believes that the platform independence deriving from this decision will pay significant dividends in the future. Although the Program Manager has demonstrated concern over the performance impact of Java, the Board encourages SLAD to continue on this path, and to avoid compromising platform independence through the use of custom hardware, such as application-specific integrated circuits or field-programmable gate arrays. The Target Interaction Lethality Vulnerability (TILV) program can be considered as the primary vehicle to populate MUVES-3 with methodology for kinetic vulnerability/lethality assessment as both Army and threat systems evolve. This program is well managed and technically rigorous, and reflects excellent collaboration within ARL; TILV serves to bridge basic research efforts of the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate into the SLV methodology developed by SLAD. The Board notes that TILV has been addressing the rapidly evolving threat experienced in current operations and expected in the future. While this forward-looking perspective is very positive, SLAD must be especially careful to apply critical mass to each of the concepts it addresses. SLAD recognized the importance of the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) very early in that program’s evolution. That early recognition is now paying off (for both SLAD and the Army), with SLAD being strongly linked to the FCS program, supporting optimization of FCS survivability and lethality at both the SoS and platform levels, and SLAD having key roles in design, modeling, and damage assessment in the context of live-fire testing. Over 60 staff years of SLAD support are being devoted to this effort, using a combination of SLAD mission funding and FCS program funding. A key example of SLAD effectiveness in support of FCS has been in the area of network vulnerability assessment. SLAD had the FCS network software running before at least one of the Lead System Integrator groups, and has been doing innovative work and exploit development work that the Board considers worthy of SLAD’s approaching the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to seek additional support. Opportunities and Challenges As noted previously, the Board has continually urged SLAD to focus development effort on the ability to assess SoS effectiveness, especially as it applies to FCS. SLAD has made key strides forward along these lines over the past few years. The development of the Mission and Means Framework (MMF), a collaboration between the current SLAD Director and the preceding Interim Director, represents a key step in developing a holistic process allowing subsystem and platform performance to be reflected in an assessment of overall mission effectiveness for both current systems and those under consideration for the future. SLAD has used this framework in several example pieces of analysis for Army customers. Further, other elements of the SLAD tool set are now oriented toward providing input to MMF, reflecting an integrated perspective on SLAD tasks, as noted previously. However, with the promotion of the current Director and the transfer of the previous Interim Director to another directorate at ARL, progress on MMF has slowed, while much remains to be done. The mathematics supporting MMF should be extended to support probabilistic scenarios and to quantify uncertainties resulting from MMF analysis. Other, more junior SLAD staff will need to carry out this work, both to remove senior managers from being in series with development work and to provide support to a broader set of customers. It is also critical that SLAD work on a more concise approach to presenting the MMF (both its substance and its potential significance) to potential customers and decision makers. SLAD should also ensure that it is aware of kindred work in
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2005–2006 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory other fields, such as the Survivable Network Analysis work done by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. The System of Systems Survivability Simulation (S4), conducted in collaboration with scientists at the Physical Sciences Laboratory of New Mexico State University (NMSU), is a much more concrete approach to SoS SLV analysis. Essentially a large multiple-entity simulation, it is aimed at assessing SoS effectiveness by simulating combat between friendly and hostile forces, modeled in detail at the platform level. This approach has the advantage that it is constructive and the results transparent (at least in terms of gross observables such as force attrition). The fidelity with which various components are modeled varies considerably; the data networks are modeled at a very high level of fidelity, whereas sensor systems and weapons are modeled in a more generic fashion. To complicate the interpretation of results, a large number of decision-making processes (DMPs), representing the human decision makers on the battlefield, generate a significant fraction of the simulation dynamics. A simulation run generates a significant quantity of data, and the collaborators have developed a number of fairly abstract tools to organize that data. While the comparison of simulation runs differing in carefully controlled ways reflecting force elements or attributes to be assessed may well provide insight, it is also likely that results can be interpreted in terms of the limitations in the sophistication or fidelity of the DMPs, the lack of a consistent architecture and component fidelity, or other factors beyond the scope of this report. The Board is skeptical that S4 represents a robust methodology that would support SoS SLV analysis for FCS; it is more valuable as a tool for development of insight motivating other tool development than as an assessment methodology per se. The Board has strongly recommended that SLAD propose to ARL management an approach to an SoS Strategic Technology Initiative not based exclusively on S4. The S4 effort contains SLAD’s most significant academic collaboration; an alternative approach in pursuit of the STI would also permit SLAD to broaden its stable of outside collaborators. In the area of SoS information assurance vulnerability assessment, SLAD is supporting an area of high potential vulnerability for the Army, but it relies too heavily on open-literature vulnerabilities and checking for installation of current patches as released by commercial software vendors. SLAD is not collaborating with other information assurance (IA) centers of excellence, such as CERT (a center of Internet security expertise at the Software Engineering Institute operated by Carnegie Mellon University) or the SANS (System Administration, Networking, and Security) Institute in this effort. The Board has recommended a different, potentially unique alternative to this approach: developing the capability to rapidly test the effects of applying system patches to an array of information operation assaults, in an automated fashion. In many respects, such an architecture would bring to the information domain something akin to the ballistic analysis for which SLAD is so widely renowned in the kinetic domain. More generally, the area of IA seems to represent one of the keys to the effectiveness of network-centric warfare. SLAD must innovate to develop and adapt the assessment approaches that will be needed to understand this increasingly critical dimension of SoS effectiveness. Geometry is often a problem for organizations (e.g., in the automotive and aerospace industries) that rely on geometric models to drive analyses, and the problem may surface in vendor-provided geometry software. Geometry represents a recurring problem area for SLAD in its kinetic SLV analysis. Representation of platform and subsystem geometry in SLAD analysis infrastructure frequently requires work-arounds and remedial action by SLAD staff, because the information is not provided by the commercial vendors of the platforms (at least not in a readily assimilated form). This recurring issue cries out for a holistic and systematic solution (which may require the involvement of the Army acquisition executives) to free SLAD resources for reassignment to the many novel problems SLAD is addressing for the Army. Further, SLAD should undertake a critical review of the geometric skills that it needs as core competency. Cost effectiveness and risk-value analysis should be used to parsimoniously establish
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2005–2006 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory the skills and tools required. If lower-shaded geometry will suffice, ray tracing may not be necessary. If time-stepped static geometry will suffice, it may obviate the huge investment required to support dynamic geometry. Finally, the Board notes that SLAD currently supports SLV analysis relative to chemical, biological, and radiological threats at a level of about 4 staff-years per year, down over an order of magnitude relative to the activity level of 5 to 10 years past. This represents a subcritical effort, incapable of contributing significantly to the Army’s understanding of this wide range of threats. RESEARCH ASSESSMENT Methodology SLAD has continued to advance the development of methodologies aimed at assessing the effectiveness of systems of systems, which has been a continuing recommendation of the Board; the Board notes that the pace of that development has slowed, almost certainly as a direct result of the two changes noted earlier in this chapter. While understandable, future SLAD critical contributions to Army needs are contingent upon continued development of SoS assessment techniques. In 2006, ARL management indicated that it was willing to consider a Strategic Technology Initiative in the area of SoS methodology under SLAD leadership. The Board strongly recommends that SLAD avail itself of this opportunity. SLAD is now supporting SLV analysis in a much broader and more rapidly evolving context, one where communications and networking, rather than weapons systems per se, are felt to be the essential and sustaining advantage of U.S. military forces. A concern of the Board has been whether the directorate’s funding portfolio will result in tools, techniques, and methodologies capable of providing the Army with the assessment capability needed under the emerging paradigm of network-centric warfare in an irregular battle space. Contributions to Army Needs As noted previously, SLAD research (in the development of tools for SLV assessment) and analysis underpin Army understanding of the survivability and lethality of its systems. This is particularly true with respect to kinetic threats, which dominate current operations. However, the significance of information threats is expected to grow, and represents a potentially critical vulnerability for FCS. SLAD is making excellent progress in establishing infrastructure that will support network vulnerability assessment. Methodologically, SLAD’s successes largely lie in the future (as is the case with regard to IA methodology rather broadly in the DoD context), and are likely to be significantly enhanced by broader involvement with and collaboration within the IA community. Current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are receiving very significant technical support from SLAD. That significance is reflected in both the scope of the efforts and their current and likely future effectiveness. Although the details of these contributions are inappropriate for this report, their scope, technical sophistication, rapid development, and dissemination reflect very favorably on SLAD staff as skilled applied scientists and engineers working cohesively and with a high degree of alignment with their mission. Finally, the development of adequate SoS SLV methodology represents the most significant contribution to U.S. Army needs that SLAD is empowered by charter and mission to make. SLAD is making progress toward this goal, but more progress is needed and will require persistence, innovation, and strategic commitment from SLAD and ARL management.
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2005–2006 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory Contributions to the Broader Community The SLAD portfolio does not lend itself as readily as those of the other directorates within ARL to external collaboration, publication, and conference participation. SLAD insularity significantly compromises its ability to leverage academic and commercial developments, especially in the areas of computer and network security, where investment outside the Army dwarfs organic resources and capabilities. Academic collaboration is also a key to strategic workforce development, since exposure of graduate and undergraduate students to highly relevant applied research and development may enhance SLAD’s recruiting pool. As noted earlier, pursuit of an SoS STI separate from S4 (and the team of NMSU collaborators) would enable SLAD, with high probability, to double its collaboration outside the Army. The ability to satisfy a critical need for the Army and simultaneously to substantially enhance SLAD’s interaction outside ARL makes the prospective STI an opportunity on which SLAD must capitalize. SLAD staff has shown increasing conference and professional society involvement in recent years. Funding constraints and demands for support of current military operations appear to have recently blunted this improving trend. SLAD and ARL management should resist the temptation to allow current short-term pressures to cause a relaxation into a more insular posture. Strategic workforce development demands that SLAD staff seek professional enrichment and involvement in the broader technical community. CROSSCUTTING ISSUES OF RELEVANCE TO THE DIRECTORATE Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board discussion of validation, verification, and accreditation (VV&A) is highly relevant to SLAD. Ground-truth data generated through live-fire testing is an extremely expensive and hence limited commodity. SLAD has a Configuration Management Board that gates inclusion of assessment tools into MUVES. This is a natural framework in which to accomplish VV&A. The Board requests that the processes within this framework be examined during the coming assessment cycle.
Representative terms from entire chapter: