DARPA SCEPTER project seeks to develop battle planning for complex military engagements at machine speed

Jan. 20, 2022
SCEPTER seeks to develop analytic engines that will produce machine-generated strategies that can compete with humans in planning real warfare.

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. military researchers are asking industry to develop enabling technologies for computer-aided battle planning systems with performance as good as humans, but that work at machine speed.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., released a broad-agency announcement (HR001122S0013) on Tuesday for the Strategic Chaos Engine for Planning, Tactics, Experimentation and Resiliency (SCEPTER) program.

The SCEPTER machine-generated campaign-scale planning and analytics project seeks to develop analytic engines that will produce machine-generated strategies that can compete with humans in the planning of real warfare as evaluated within trusted simulation environments.

SCEPTER will discover new courses of action by exploring complex military engagements at machine speed. Enabling high speed will come from tailorable abstraction of trusted expert-informed models. Researchers will validate a few of the best performing solutions in high-fidelity trusted simulators and with thorough human review.

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The SCEPTER program's first phase will address two key technical focus areas: developing unscripted goal-oriented agents able to discover relevant and interpretable solutions; and managing growth of threats to achieve fast exploration of large-scale military scenarios.

SCEPTER is planned as a two-phase three-year battle planning program. This solicitation is for only an 18-month first phase. Phase 2 proposal instructions will be released to the Phase 1 performers prior to the end of Phase 1. The Phase 2 proposal instructions and program execution will be classified.

DARPA researchers say they plan to spend $39 million on the SCEPTER program over the next three years. Companies interested should upload proposals no later than 11 March 2022 to the DARPA BAA Website at https://baa.darpa.mil.

Email questions or concerns to DARPA at [email protected]. More information is online at https://sam.gov/opp/abd275dd39dc4ab6a845a15ab469df6e/view.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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