Navy asks industry to automate information gathering for Marines on the front lines

June 28, 2013
ARLINGTON, Va., 28 June 2013. U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for ideas on how to pull out actionable information for battlefield commanders at the front lines in real time from sensor data.

ARLINGTON, Va., 28 June 2013. U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for ideas on how to pull out actionable information for battlefield commanders at the front lines in real time from sensor data.

Officials of the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va., this week issued a broad agency announcement (13-017) for the Exchange of Actionable Information at the Tactical Edge (EAITE) program, which seeks to develop computer hardware and algorithms that can glean important information for battlefield leaders on the front lines.

The idea is to find ways to pull actionable information out of sensor data automatically and quickly enough for leaders of Marine Corps and Navy expeditionary warfare forces to put the information to good use.

The program seeks to synchronize intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) intelligence with command and control (C2) at the front lines such that front-line commanders know what's going on quickly enough to take advantage of fleeting opportunities.

To do this, Navy researchers want to generate information reports automatically from sensor data and tactical analysis and disseminate them via ad-hoc disconnected, intermittent, limited (DIL) networks.

The goal is to package and disseminate timely, usable operational and intelligence data quickly to warfighters in expeditionary units. The program has three topic areas: data conditioning software and hardware; actionable information tactical applications software; and network adaptive communication services software.

Data conditioning refers to gleaning actionable information from sensor data near the sensors themselves to avoid feeding unnecessary data to battlefield networks. For this Navy researchers are interested in machine learning and algorithms that can recognize and pull out important information, as well as power-efficient processors.

Researchers say information-extraction algorithms could be embedded in sensors that automatically generate reports quickly about actionable information and delete battlefield problems that have been solved from reports, as well as rank battlefield opportunities in order of importance as opportunities arise.

Actionable information tactical applications (AITA) describes gleaning actionable information from the combined information of several different sensors. Network Adaptive Communication Services (NACS), meanwhile, describes the ability of a network to rank information in order of importance, and send information to the right places, based on the goals and objectives of field commanders.

ONR researchers say technologies developed in this program should use common standards and open architectures, should be easily upgradeable, and be ready for yearly technology demonstrations. Work funded in this program may include basic research, applied research, and some advanced technology development.

Money available for the program should be about $4 million in 2014, $6 million in 2015, $7 million in 2016, $6.5 million in 2017, and $4 million in 2018, for a total over five years of $27.5 million.

Companies interested must submit white papers no later than 8 Aug. 2013. Email white papers addressing the data conditioning software and hardware; and actionable information tactical applications software to ONR's Martin Kruger at [email protected], or addressing network adaptive communication services software to ONR's John Moniz at [email protected]. Companies chosen will be notified in early September.

For technical questions on the first two topic areas email Martin Kruger at [email protected]. For technical questions on the third topic area email John Moniz at [email protected]. Email business questions to Peter Donaghue at [email protected].

More information is online at

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