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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program 2 Maneuver OVERVIEW Marine Corps concepts of maneuver rely on information to achieve informed maneuver. Maneuver implies dynamic objectives, dynamic threat overlays, and dynamic courses of action planned and executed. This dynamic approach to warfighting requires the following: Timely and cohesive command, control, communications, computing, and intelligence (C4I) that leverage network-centric warfare advances; Fundamental changes in logistics approaches and logistic requirements for maneuver elements; Creative approaches to transport across the sea, land, and the sea-land interface, with the sea-land interface transport requirements unique to the Marine Corps; Forces tailored for the spectrum of conflict, from operations other than war to major theater wars; and Timely and cohesive information, leveraging information sources ranging from force reconnaissance units on the ground to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to national satellite systems. Information requirements to support maneuver vary with the range of conflict. Conflicts occurring in rural settings require large-area information gathering. Urban environments impose considerably more complex information requirements: they involve a closely gridded, three-dimensional space with highly perishable information and more risks of collateral damage. Information overload is a potential hazard, and the transformation of information into knowledge requires multisource processing, fusion, and conflict resolution. The need for 6.1 research that could enable these capabilities is discussed in Chapter 7 in “ Recommendations for New Programs ” (page 62). ONR’s Marine Corps maneuver thrust areas include advanced vehicle designs and mine counter-measures. The Marine Corps has special requirements for its vehicles that differ from those for the Army’s
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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program vehicles. In particular, operations in the sea and in coastal regions call for vehicles that can be propelled in water as well on land. In addition, the need to carry them by helicopter and inside V-22s imposes size and weight constraints. The Marine Corps reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting vehicle (RST-V) and the Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF) expeditionary family of fighting vehicles (MEFF-V) are being designed and developed to satisfy these needs, while incorporating advanced technologies from the new Army vehicles. Autonomous control systems for various vehicles have been developed for all the Services. Some variants of these control systems are expected to be incorporated into the new Marine Corps designs. Special requirements for operation in the surf zone will have to be considered by the ONR researchers providing the technology for overcoming threats close to shore. ONR has an Organic Mine Countermeasures future naval capability (FNC) program intended to address both Navy and Marine Corps mine countermeasure challenges from very shallow water through the beach exit zone. The ONR Code 353 focus, then, would be on mine countermeasures challenges unique to the Marine Corps that are not already being addressed by the organic mine countermeasures FNC or Army programs and on sensitizing the Army to Marine Corps needs. The extremely important Marine Corps need for rapid and reliable mine detection has motivated the conduct of many programs in the recent past. These programs have had different degrees of success, but it is fair to say that to date, none have shown sufficient promise for solving this high-priority problem. Littoral remote sensing (LRS) and broader all-source means can be used to locate potentially mined areas both on land and in the sea and to cue mine detection systems, but are effective to only a limited degree. Timely and cohesive characterization of the potential threat remains key. The variety of situations and media involved makes the mine detection problem very difficult to solve. Mines are found in a variety of configurations and deployments. Some are magnetic, some are nonmagnetic (such as plastics), and some may be buried either deliberately or as a result of shifting sand. Still others may be secured with objects in the surf zone, where they can be obscured by turbidity and other mechanisms. On the other hand, wave action in the surf zone might eventually sterilize some of the mines, thereby reducing the threat, provided that no mines had been recently laid. Mine detection on dry land is another problem that is generally shared by the Army and, in the case of detection at widely distributed locations, the Special Forces. Standoff mines close to clearings could pose threats to V-22 landings. PROGRAMS REVIEWED Joint Mine Detection Technology The Joint Mine Detection Technology (JMDT) exploratory development program seeks to develop technology for the high-priority capability of remote detection of minefields through the use of imaging sensors. Planned near-term efforts include the development of a multispectral sensor, a laser illuminator, and algorithms for the declaration and characterization of minefields. Short-term transition targets include the UAV-mounted coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis (COBRA) system that attempts to detect minefields through image analysis and the Organic Mine Countermeasures FNC. Findings The elusiveness of a science-based approach in the myriad of earlier unsuccessful programs to some extent bears witness to the many difficulties associated with this long-standing problem. It would also
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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program suggest that choosing the best (or the only) concept available at a given time and then engineering a package for experimentation has not been a successful approach. This failure is very likely due to the lack of continuity of basic research focused on the problem, which requires breakthrough solutions. The relationship between this program and Army and Navy countermine exploratory development programs was not made clear, although the committee is generally aware of the limited success of the COBRA and the similar Airborne Stand-off Mine Detection System (ASTAMIDS) program and of ONR Code 32’s efforts over the last year to cast a wider net for ideas and performers. Apparently, the scope of the JMDT program includes land and sea mines, buried, protruding above the bottom, and on the surface. The JMDT program, as described to and understood by the committee, did not entail the systematic use of scientific methods expected of an ONR exploratory development program. There seemed little interest in understanding the phenomenon of detection. No data on the statistics of targets and clutter at various wavelengths were presented. The addition of a new wavelength for investigation was justified on the basis that it had not been tried before. Possible differences in performance under sunlight, diffused daylight, and laser illumination were not discussed. The failure to provide a stable test minefield severely limits the value of any particular test result in an apparently haphazard search. Recommendations The committee recommends that Code 32 be enlisted to ensure that the goals and approach of the JMDT program, if it continues, are coordinated with those of the Navy and Army programs. All three Services should cooperate in building and maintaining a stable test minefield to which various sensors can be brought. Given that the intent of this program is to provide broad-area information on the likely locations of minefields in enemy territory, sensor requirements need to consider area coverage rates, false contact rates, and platform survivability in the flight profile required for optimized sensor performance. ONR Code 353 should leverage other ONR efforts such as exploitation of satellite imagery in the LRS program and assess the degree to which LRS products can be used to cue JMDT-type sensor approaches. ONR should seek advice on and assistance with instrumentation from other remote sensing organizations. Powerful airborne multispectral and hyperspectral sensors exist—for example, the Hyperspectral Digital Imagery Collection Experiment—and flights of these sensors over a controlled test minefield should produce a database that can be widely disseminated to multiple investigators, who can subsequently determine how much spatial and spectral resolution is needed for minefield detection. Development of prototypes for Marine Corps use can resume once this fundamental knowledge is gained. The database can also be used by multiple investigators for refining detection algorithms to support timely information dissemination. The Navy Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) Office, which has demonstrated powerful multispectral and hyperspectral algorithms for detecting anomalies in clutter, should be consulted in this regard. The need for a coordinated 6.1 program in the phenomenology for the remote detection of land mines is cited in Chapter 7 in “ Recommendations for New Programs ” (page 62). The committee recommends that a continuously funded 6.1 program be established. The program would include the categorization of all threat conditions and backgrounds for all mine deployments, e.g., shallow water, surf zone, soft beach, vegetated and barren dry land, and wetlands. In particular, the actual threat of mines deployed in the surf zone over time should be quantified and validated. This involves fusion of
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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program a priori surveillance with intelligence information that tracks mines to deployment. As part of the basic research, a comprehensive search over many disciplines should be conducted. In recognition of the difficulty this problem poses, the convening of a blue-ribbon review committee with participants having a broad spectrum of scientific expertise should be considered. Such a committee would be charged with identifying and recommending the most promising candidates for demonstrator-level experimentation and data fusion in all the zones of interest to the Marine Corps. Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Targeting Vehicle The RST-V is being designed and developed as a replacement for the high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV). The goal is to provide an advanced vehicle that can be carried internally by the V-22 air transport vehicle. It has been designed to have an adjustable hydraulic suspension that can be adjusted from 4 inches for transportation in the V-22 to 24 inches for cross-country operation. To improve fuel consumption and to allow very quiet operation, the vehicle will have a hybrid diesel/ electric propulsion system, with electric motors coupled to each wheel and with an advanced storage battery. An automotive diesel engine would be used for long-range operations and to recharge the batteries. A first technical demonstrator (TD1) is being evaluated and a second one is being fabricated. The TD1 has lead acid batteries, but later versions may have lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The ONR managers and their Marine Corps sponsors have specified that the design of the vehicle should provide opportunities for transitioning to several other components of the maneuver and firepower program areas, including the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), the MEFF-V, and the light armored vehicle (LAV). Findings The committee concluded that the technical demonstration of the RST-V is a good 6.3 project and could lead to an excellent replacement, with enhanced capabilities, for the HMMWV, the tri-Service, high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicle that is coming to the end of its service life. Lithium batteries have very high energy density, and the early primary cells had a reputation for dangerous explosive reactions before, during, and after use. Newer batteries have safety features, such as pressure-relief valves and current-limiting switches, to minimize the danger. The proposed 240-volt rechargeable batteries would have perhaps 80 cells in series, making them particularly susceptible to dangerous reactions. New materials are being developed for the lithium rechargeable batteries, and researchers expect that their safety will be improved, although this has not yet been demonstrated in multicell batteries. Recommendations The committee recommends that future consideration be given to other power plants (such as the micro gas turbine) that may have features superior to those of the diesel engine and that the safety features of the lithium battery be carefully evaluated. All new service technologies should also be carefully evaluated with regard to vehicle reliability.
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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program MAGTF Expeditionary Family of Fighting Vehicles The concept for the MEFF-V utilizes basic chassis, structure, and power/propulsion modules that can be coupled to other components to provide a family of vehicles. The vehicles cover a wide range of configurations, from medical support to tank replacement. The MEFF-V has requirements for swimmability and helicopter transportability, which make it different from the equivalent Army vehicles. The design does, however, utilize technology from Army, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and other Marine Corps vehicles (advanced amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV) and RST-V). Findings The MEFF-V concept is a very worthwhile project and provides a transition target for 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 S&T efforts intended to improve vehicle performance. Recommendations The committee recommends that the MEFF-V project should be supported. Design assessments should be carried out from time to time to provide assurance that the anticipated benefits of commonality and modularity have been realized. Autonomous Operations The Marine Corps seeks autonomous vehicles to increase survivability, reduce casualties, increase combat effectiveness, reduce manpower requirements, and lower logistic burdens. Related efforts include work sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Joint Robotics Program and being conducted by DARPA, the Department of Transportation, academia, and the other Services. The initial autonomous operations have been planned to have teleremote control to keep humans in the loop while the control algorithms are developed for more difficult conditions, such as the surf zone. Findings The application of autonomous systems technology to amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) and UGVs should provide reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities in dangerous environments and capabilities for decoys and deception. Autonomous vehicles would be particularly useful for urban operations and to clear the surf zone. Recommendations The new vehicles (RST-V, AAAV, and MEFF-V) should be designed with control systems that can be converted easily to autonomous operations. The related research and development efforts in ONR, the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the oceanographic community should be monitored.
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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program Simulation-based Acquisition Tools The benefits of modeling and simulation as a foundation technology applied to a variety of planning tasks and situations are important to the Navy and Marine Corps. They were reviewed by the Naval Studies Board in several recent studies, including Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps 2000-2035, 1 which reported that modeling and simulation now underlie all aspects of the design and use of military systems and forces. The ONR Code 353 Simulation-based Acquisition Tools program is intended to enhance the acquisition process for a variety of Marine Corps vehicles. The approach is to leverage existing models of logistics, survivability, and urban operation characteristics. Current plans do not include the integration of cost modeling. Findings The Marine Corps, like all the Services, could certainly benefit from a comprehensive simulationbased acquisition tool. However, for the tool to be truly useful in an environment of shrinking budgets, inclusion of cost modeling should be seriously considered. The committee noted the difficulty of integrating disparate models and simulations that were independently conceived and implemented. It also questioned whether the proposed effort was properly classified as exploratory development, and it saw no focus on Marine-unique needs. Recommendations The committee recommends that this program be redirected to include only those elements that are unique to the Marine Corps and that it be incorporated in a more generalized simulation-based acquisition tool program that would be of use to all the Services. It also strongly recommends that cost models be included to ensure that studies of trade-offs and the decision-making process include all the necessary elements. The committee further recommends that the project’s classification as a 6.2 program be reexamined. Summary of Recommendations for Maneuver A summary of recommendations for maneuver is given in Table 2.1. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEW PROGRAMS The committee has no recommendations for new 6.2 and 6.3 programs in the maneuver area; it recommends in Chapter 7 in “ Recommendations for New Programs ,” (pages 62-63) that ONR 353 set up a sustained, coordinated 6.1 program to establish a scientific basis for the detection of mines in the littorals, particularly remote detection, and for mine countermeasures. 1 Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-century Force, 9 volumes, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program TABLE 2.1 Summary of Recommendations for Maneuver Project Recommendation JMDT Enlist other institutions in conducting controlled sensor experiments and in gathering, analyzing, and publishing databases. RST-V Consider other power plants such as the micro gas turbine, and evaluate lithium battery safety. MEFF-V Support, but periodically reevaluate payoff. Autonomous Operations Design new vehicles to accommodate autonomy. Monitor the work of NASA and others. Simulation-based Acquisition Ensure Marine Corps specificity; include cost. Reexamine funding category. CONCLUDING REMARKS The committee considered most of the programs presented to be of value in meeting future Marine Corps needs. However, this chapter’s overview (pages 14-15) identifies a problem that is not being addressed: the transformation of information into knowledge that would allow the Marine Corps to achieve informed maneuver. Information challenges in the urban environment are particularly difficult and, from the briefings provided to the committee, are not being addressed. The committee identified the need for a coordinated, continuing 6.1 program in the basic science of remote detection of land mines that includes the categorization of all threat conditions. As part of the basic research management, a comprehensive search over a wide area of disciplines should be conducted; consideration should be given to a blue-ribbon committee whose members have a broad spectrum of scientific expertise. Such a committee would be charged with identifying and recommending the most promising candidates for demonstrator-level experimentation in all the areas of interest to the Marine Corps.
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