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Automated ISR -–Relying on Computers for Intelligence

Written by on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms have been increasing by leaps and bounds over the past decade and with UAVs, satellites and data collection aircraft all contributing to the collection of intelligence its now officially too much data for the human brain to decipher and an automated ISR solution is now being considered.

The demand for intelligence and situational awareness has been on the rise thanks to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and theater commanders have an insatiable thirst for more intelligence. Knowing the battlefield and knowing everything about your enemy is crucial to the success of any mission and theater commanders understand this concept. With high technology devices such as UAVs, satellites and Rivet Joint aircraft at their disposal, theater commanders are asking for more pictures, videos and sensors to help but unfortunately the volumes of intelligence available has bypassed the capacity of humans to process the information in a timely fashion.

Intelligence specialists and analysis cannot possibly keep up with the volume of data that comes streaming into collection centers and they are now the weakest link in the process. With this in mind, Mica Endsley, the Air Force’s Chief Scientist has said, “For me, the bigger bandwidth challenge is bandwidth from the system to the human, and how we really optimize that more effectively.”

 

Contractors and military research facilities are now being challenged to provide an automated ISR solution. One such vision would be to set certain triggers that would highlight the analysts to focus on certain portions of the data instead of trying to focus on the entirety. For example, computer programs could be designed to alert analysts for closer examination if a human walked into a building that was under observation or maybe any time a vehicle under observation was moved. This concept would lessen the manpower required for analysis efforts as well as focus the analysts to events that held the highest probability of significant intelligence.

Current, actionable intelligence on the battlefield is absolutely essential to reaching military objectives and after theater commanders’ pleas for “more intelligence” were answered, the problem then became “too much intelligence” for humans to absorb. Today, the “too much intelligence” issue is still a problem but with automated ISR algorithms to sort and focus the attention of military analysts, the human may no longer be the bottleneck to the flow of information.

 

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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