Air Force considers gaming-developed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for battle management

Oct. 25, 2019
Stratagem seeks new AI capabilities that can reason in real-time about the battlespace, and assist planners on how to respond to those developments.

ROME, N.Y. – U.S. Air Force researchers are asking for industry's help in developing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to planning systems that help commanders adapt quickly to changing conditions on the battlefield.

Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Rome Research Site in Rome, N.Y., issued a broad agency announcement (FA875020S7007) on Thursday for the Stratagem: Applying State-of-the-Art Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Approaches to Air Battle Management project.

Stratagem seeks new AI capabilities that can reason in real-time about developments in the battlespace during wartime engagements and assist planners and decision makers responsible for reacting to those developments.

As the Air Force begins to operate in contested environments against peer and near-peer adversaries, the demands on planners and warfighters will increase quickly enough to require AI and machine learning decision support, researchers say.

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One source of this kind of technology is advanced video gaming. In recent years, game designers had made major developments in AI for non-human game-playing agents; this technology might be considered for battlespace decision support.

The Stratagem project has three parts: machine intelligence support for complex military operations; capturing human expertise to augment warfighter capability; and transferring machine-learning models from video gaming to Air Force battle management and simulations.

Researchers are putting a priority on applying existing decision-support AI algorithms and machine learning methods to military strategies and complex battle simulations.

Experts want to record and learn from subject matter experts and end-user warfighters through Air Force video games based on operational use cases.

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Air Force researchers envision developing AI approaches in unclassified game-playing domains and transferring them to tools like the Advanced Framework for Simulation Integration and Modeling (AFSIM).

Researchers will focus on using existing game-playing engines and newly developed interactive simulation environments that operators can play with or against non-human AI-based game-playing agents.

The Air Force has about $10 million for the Stratagem project, which will involve several contractors. Companies interested should email white papers by 13 Nov. 2019 to the Air Force's Nathaniel Gemelli at [email protected], with copies to Warren Geiler at [email protected].

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Those who send promising white papers will be invited to submit formal proposals. The project stays open through 29 Sept. 2033. Researchers also will accept white papers submitted by 31 March 2020, by 31 March 2021, and by 31 March 2022.

Email technical questions or concerns to Nathaniel Gemelli at [email protected], and contracting questions to Amber Buckley at [email protected].

More information is online at

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