International Workshop on Knowledge-Based Planning
for Coalition Forces
Supported by The Technical Cooperation Program,
European Office of Aerospace Research and Development, Air Force Office of Scientific Research,
United State Air Force Research Laboratory/Information Directorate, Rome Research Site,
Defense Advance Research Projects Agency,
and the UK Defence Evaluation Research Agency.
Organised as part of the contribution of the
DARPA/Air Force Research Laboratory (Rome) Planning Initiative (ARPI)
by the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute, University of Edinburgh
Proceedings and Report
An international workshop on knowledge-based planning for coalition forces was held in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 10th and 11th, 1999. This workshop was sponsored by the following organizations: The Technical Cooperation Program, European Office of Aerospace Research and Development, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Information Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory, UK Defence Evaluation Research Agency, and DARPA. The goal of the workshop was to identify several near and long term technical challenges and operational opportunities in the application of knowledge based systems to coalition operations. It was intended to begin to build a community interested in working together to develop the use of knowledge systems to improve support for coalition operations.
The meeting brought together 60 people from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. There was a good balance of Operational, Technical, and Programmatic perspectives. About half of the workshop was spent in working groups, which were organized around three topics, Coalition Operations Other Than War (OOTW), Coalition Command and Control, and Coalition Logistics. A key idea coming out of the workshop was the notion of a Coalition Operation Experiment (CoaX). A CoaX would involve both an operations-based experiment plus a technical workshop to capture the results and knowledge gained. Three technology areas that were suggested by multiple groups to be part of a CoaX are collaboration technologies, brokering technology and knowledge-based representations.
The TTCP representatives that attended the workshop felt that this was an effort that could help them achieve their goals. A group (KSCO) has been formed to promote multinational and multi-agency exploration of some of the issues raised and to build cooperative links between those interested. An early focus to report progress and to build upon the work begun in Edinburgh is to be a second workshop, probably associated with a meeting of TTCP in the US in May 2000.
An informal group met on 12th May 1999 after the workshop to consider ways in which work on Coalition Operations could be continued. A Working Group on Knowledge Systems for Coalition operations (KSCO) was formed. More details are available here.
Many current and an increasing number of future military missions will involve multi-national coalition forces which must be rapidly drawn together, flexibly led, responsively deployed and agile to address a wide variety of dynamically evolving tasks. Modern military operations involve defensive, policing and humanitarian missions both locally or in far-flung regions of the world. Many missions are conducted as part of a joint force with other nations to achieve objectives set by the international community. In these missions there is a need for agility, responsiveness and effectiveness in the use of limited resources to achieve complex and multiple objectives. There are frequent changes of requirements and the situation is often fluid. Effective means to clearly define and relay the mission objectives through to planning and logistics support staff and then on to the coalition partners and personnel in the field are essential.
Planning is a core competence and a core task for any organisation - including the military. But, planning should not be seen as detached from execution, monitoring and control. It is a critical process that allows one to create and manipulate the context for execution (hopefully to one's own advantage) and a process that must be intimately involved with execution.
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