Air Force to develop interactive tool for military intelligence analysis and decision-making

Jan. 2, 2018
ROME, N.Y. – U.S. Air Force researchers are launching a potential $25 million five-year project to develop an interactive question-answering system to help with military intelligence analysis and decision-making.
ROME, N.Y. – U.S. Air Force researchers are launching a potential $25 million five-year project to develop an interactive question-answering software tool to help with military intelligence analysis and decision-making.

Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y., issued a solicitation last week (FA8750-18-S-7005) for the Multi-Source Exploitation Assistant for the Digital Enterprise (MEADE) project.

MEADE seeks to develop a question-answering system that works as a virtual assistant by performing analytical tasks or services for an analyst.

The MEADE objective is to make complex analytics possible for nearly anyone, regardless of their technical ability. This effort is intended not only to support an intelligence function, but also to help with military decision-making in command and control.

Related: Navy eyes artificial intelligence to automate decision making on ships, sensors, and weapons

The intent is to provide analytics that answer questions directly or that will interact with the user to help steer intelligence analysts to an answer rather than simply providing a ranked list of potential information sources to help the analyst answer questions themselves.

Intelligence analysis efficiencies need to be increased to match the complexity, velocity, variety, and volume of intelligence data being collected against increasingly agile and deceptive adversaries, Air Force researchers explain.

While fundamentally similar to chat-bots in virtual assistants like Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana in providing an artificial conversation, MEADE seeks to use the conversation to improve military intelligence analysis.

The MEADE project has two focus areas: Real-Time Operator-Driven Gist Exploration and Response (ROGER), and Interactive Analytics and Contextual Fusion (IACF).

Related: DARPA to develop real-time intelligence processor to uncover patterns in vast data

ROGER seeks to develop an analyst assistant to provide a convenient interface to enable interactive searches, information retrieval, tasking, and analytics.

The IACF seeks to develop contextual fusion and analytic capabilities for advanced capabilities such as prescriptive analytics, which is dedicated to finding the best course of action for given situations.

Companies interested should send white papers by post no later than 29 Jan 2018 to the Air Force's Brian O-Hearn, AFRL/RIEA, 525 Brooks Rd., Rome, N.Y. 13441-4505. Email questions or concerns to Brian O-Hearn at [email protected].

More information is online at

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John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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