Command and control focus of new research project|
by William J. Sharp
Air Force Office of Scientific Research Public Affairs
7/9/2006 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFPN) -- The Air Force Office of Scientific Research, in cooperation with Binghamton University in New York, has started funding a research project targeted at improving the strength and availability of command and control networks.
The team, led by Dr. N. Eva Wu, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Binghamton University, will receive approximately $100,000 for the two-year-project titled, "Highly Available C2 Supporting Systems for Air Operation."
Command and control of the air space continues to be increasingly complex, and the operating environment is a leading stressor air operations centers have in managing the battlefield, Dr. Wu said.
"The collection and assembly of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information, along with human operators, database systems and other subsystems and components that support command and control functions, are critical," she said. "They are critical to both the decision-making process and the feedback of the decision to the warfighter."
The more frequently decision and feedback loop closures occur in an air operation, the heavier the reliance on command and control, or C2, functions, Dr. Wu said. This makes the availability and resilience of the C2 supporting structure extremely important.
She has been working with the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate on a related project to her current study since September 2002.
"The goal of our (current) research is to enhance availability of command and control systems to effectively reduce fragility while minimizing response time to service requests," Dr. Wu said.
Fragility reduction, she said, assures an operator's continuous access to battlefield information, even when primary systems have failed or become disabled. This can be achieved by supervisory control.
"A lot of work has been done on how to best map the available information to decision-makers," Dr. Wu said, "but little attention has been paid to the flow of information for the supporting systems.
"We want to design architecture so that the decision-making process is not compromised by subsystem failures or bottlenecks. The system also needs to be cost effective," Dr. Wu said.
"Quality information needs to be accessible in real time to decision makers," she said. "If the information is not promptly received, this has an effect on outcome. What we want to have happen is that if something fails, something else takes its place."
By supporting research programs like this, AFOSR continues to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through its leadership and management of the Air Force's basic research program.