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DOD/IC Challenges


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DOD/IC Challenges


Our problem sets come from the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. 


Joint Forces Command - UK Ministry of Defence

PROBLEM TITLE: Publicly Available Information (PAI)

BACKGROUND

Publicly available information (PAI), largely derived from the Internet and social media, is of ever increasing importance to military operations and strategic decision-making. Military intelligence analysts at the Joint Forces Command within the U.K. Ministry of Defense are responsible for collecting, translating, and processing PAI in order to inform the decision-making of senior leadership. However, there is no single collection platform. When analysts are assigned a task, they can have as many as 20 tabs open for the purpose of accessing information from news and academic sources or social media sites. They also might have multiple windows up in order to translate information and extract the metadata associated with various websites. The current process to complete a task is time consuming, which as a result can decrease the quality of the information and puts a cognitive burden on the analysts. If there was a way military intelligence analysts could simultaneously collect, translate, and process PAI, analysts would be able to more efficiently complete tasks, reduce their cognitive burden, and work on other projects.

CHALLENGE

Design a tool for military intelligence analysts to simultaneously collect, translate, and process publicly available information in order to reduce the time it takes to complete each individual task.

BOUNDARIES

· Security of the system to maintain confidentiality, integrity and availability of the platform.

· Analysts require the ability to access raw content from the Internet and to access a number of applications within the system.

· Would prefer a way that integrates the information while increasing the user experience.

PROBLEM SPONSOR

Natasha Gedge, jHub Scout, Defence and Technology Laboratory, Joint Forces Command


Joint Forces Command - UK Ministry of Defence 

PROBLEM TITLE: Translating and Triaging Data

BACKGROUND

The Joint Forces Command within the U.K. Ministry of Defense holds large quantities of data in multiple foreign languages that date back at least 50 years. In order to determine if the information from the data is valuable, linguists have to do a rough translation of the documents. Once there is an initial translation, intelligence analysts must triage the information. If the information is found to be significant, the documents are sent back to the linguists for a more in-depth translation.

Although a symptom of the issue but not the focus of this problem, it currently takes linguists an inordinate amount of time to translate the data. As a result, intelligence analysts utilize third party translation services; however, these services are insufficient because the information is limited by domain and classification. Thus, the military intelligence analysts, in order to reduce the burden on linguists and make the process more efficient, need a faster and more effective way of prioritizing data and deciding which information is pertinent to ongoing or future work.

CHALLENGE

Military intelligence analysts within the Joint Forces Command need a way to rapidly and effectively triage previously collected data in order to determine if the information is pertinent to ongoing or future work.

BOUNDARIES

· The information is in a variety of languages and scripts. Information should be ingestible in a number of formats including .doc and .ppt

· Security of the system to maintain confidentiality, integrity and availability of the platform.

· The ability to search across multiple domains, and from segregated datasets.

PROBLEM SPONSOR

Natasha Gedge, jHub Scout, Defence and Technology Laboratory, Joint Forces Command


Joint Task Force Empire Shield

PROBLEM TITLE: Traffic Engineering

BACKGROUND

The mission of Joint Task Force Empire Shield (JTFES) is to deter and detect terrorism in and around the New York Metropolitan area. Service members from JTFES support law enforcement partners by conducting preventative patrols in major transportation hubs including Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, and LaGuardia Airport. Since JTFES was set up post-9/11, service members serve as a second set of ears and eyes and are some of the first responders to major and minor incidents in New York.

Like any major metropolitan area, New York City is congested with traffic. However, in an emergency such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, traffic could turn from a nuisance to a catastrophe, making it impossible for people to flee the city as well as allow first responders to enter the affected area. The faster first responders could react to a developing crisis, the greater the chances of survivability for those who are affected by the event. However, traffic currently slows down the reaction time of first responders and they need a more efficient way to navigate through the city during high levels of traffic.

CHALLENGE

Joint Task Force Empire Shield service members need an efficient way to navigate through a large metropolitan area in a crisis in order to respond faster and increase the risk of survivability for individuals who could be injured.

LIMITATIONS

· Requires the buy-in an/or participation from multiple law enforcement partners in the New York Metropolitan area.

PROBLEM SPONSOR

1LT Vladimir Manreka, Joint Task Force Empire Shield

CPT Steven Quinones, Joint Task Force Empire Shield
 


U.S. Air Force Office of Energy Assurance (OEA)

PROBLEM TITLE: Modernizing Cost-Benefit Analyses for Energy and Infrastructure Projects

BACKGROUND

“[T]here can be no complacency—we must make difficult choices and prioritize what is most important to field a lethal, resilient, and rapidly adapting Joint Force. New commercial technology will change society and the character of war. It is now undeniable that the homeland is no longer a sanctuary. America is a target, whether from terrorists seeking to attack our citizens; malicious cyber activity against personal, commercial, or government infrastructure; or political and information subversion.” – 2018 National Defense Strategy

Air Force weapon system development and procurement is a complicated process and most weapon systems having operational lifespans in the multi-decade range. Therefore, new operational concepts and technologies are rigorously evaluated in wargaming scenarios that account for potential geopolitical changes and anticipated improvements of our adversaries.

However, we seldom treat the supporting infrastructure for those weapon systems as an integral part of the weapon systems themselves. This is especially true when it comes to fixed infrastructure. The Air Force has made significant improvements in the way we develop resilience requirements for our supporting infrastructure, but we still view development and procurement through a lowest-cost, technically acceptable or “best value” lens. Unlike the wargaming that is performed for the weapon systems themselves, this “best value” lens typically only considers current market prices, current regulations, and current policies without taking into account anticipated or inevitable changes that will take place over the lifespan of the supporting infrastructure.

CHALLENGE

Energy and infrastructure program managers need to determine how to account for evolving energy market and policy trends when forecasting the life-cycle cost-effectiveness of projects.

LIMITATIONS

- Evolving policy restrictions and energy resiliency requirements

- Ability to quantify the sensitivity of procurement decisions to the certainty of energy market and policy trends

- Determining cost effective energy resiliency enhancements based on sum total of all requirements and actual threats to resiliency

- Analytical models to measure pace of adversary technology development

PROBLEM SPONSOR

Eric Griesenbrock

Air Force Office of Energy Assurance Contractor, John Coletti

Executive Director: Robert Hughes


Department of Homeland Security

PROBLEM TITLE: Media Literacy and Public Education for Countering Foreign Influence

BACKGROUND

In the 2016 election, content was spread online by foreign actors for the express purpose of influencing the electoral process. Such activities were enhanced and enabled through several security breaches within party networks. Information and cyber activities take place in the context of a wider field of foreign influence activities to undermine U.S. institutions and security.

In the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has established a Countering Foreign Influence Task Force to counter foreign interference. The role of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in countering foreign interference is to enable better risk management amongst our partners within the U.S. government, the private sector, and within the general public. A key aspect of this effort will be public education and media literacy.

Public education and media literacy around foreign interference is a complex and sensitive requirement. For these reasons, there is a need for a long term mechanism to ensure the public does not fall victim to online content developed by malign foreign adversaries. There are limitations to the government’s ability to lead the effort in the domestic space, as the government is not a universally trusted messenger. Therefore, a successful media literacy campaign will likely require supporting different non-governmental organizations (NGOs), help from the media and advertising sector, and working with strategic amplifiers, such as organizations that do significant public outreach around broad-based literacy. The task force hopes that, based on their research, the student team will develop options and lay the groundwork for what could become a new public awareness campaign focused on how to build digital literacy against malign foreign actors looking to sow discord among the American public.

CHALLENGE

The Countering Foreign Influence Task Force needs a Public Education and Media Literacy framework to counter foreign influence operations.

LIMITATIONS

Any solutions must not infringe upon the rights of U.S. citizens, to include First Amendment Protections, along with privacy and civil rights and civil liberties.

The complex and fragmented media landscape is difficult and this topic needs to be handled with care.

Must be willingness among engaged third parties to support the effort.

PROBLEM OWNER

Brian Scully, Deputy Director for Strategy and Policy at Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security

Charles Covel, Branch Chief, Strategic Initiatives, Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis, National Protection and Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Clara Tsao, Chief Technology Officer – Interagency Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, Countering Foreign Influence Task Force, U.S. Department of Homeland Security


U.S. Special Operations Command

PROBLEM TITLE: Body Metric Sharing

BACKGROUND

The tools and materials warfighters employ are overseen by program executive offices and are optimized to maximize their use and ensure that they will be as helpful as possible on the battlefield. However, human platform performance, the capabilities a human warfighter has without the aid of those exterior tools and technologies, is not overseen by any program executive office and is not tracked or monitored similarly across bases. Additionally, across the Army, there is no consistent communication channel for sharing information about human performance metrics and how to optimize the human platform. Without a clear communication channel, departments such as the Human Dynamic and Performance Department at the Special Warfare Education Group cannot easily share or receive feedback on any of their technological progress with other human performance research departments. Because of the lack of oversight and communication about human performance tracking metrics, departments also have no way of understanding which funding resources are available.

CHALLENGE

Human Dynamic and Performance Department leadership need a way of sharing information about their biometric tracking programs with other organizations within the Department of Defense who are working on similar projects in order to disseminate technological advancements and prevent repeating mistakes.

LIMITATIONS

None.

PROBLEM OWNER

LTC Phillip Thomas, Special Warfare Education Group, United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, U.S. Special Operations Command


U.S. Marine Corps

PROBLEM TITLE: Cyber Security for Marines

BACKGROUND

While handheld devices improve the lives of service members by increasing productivity and connectivity, the data surrounding these devices presents an avenue for situational and operational knowledge to be exploited. For example, Strava, a GPS tracking company, published a map of aggregated fitness device data over 2015-2017, with heat maps of high fitness activity areas. Several US base locations were exposed through notable activity in otherwise desolate areas, and further investigation revealed base perimeters where service members exercised. In other instances, apps designed by foreign companies may not safeguard user data. Through usage of a foreign app, a service member may unknowingly corrupt their phone, exposing data, or have their conversations tapped. Lastly, unauthorized cell phone monitoring devices nicknamed “Stingrays,” are known to be littered throughout Washington D.C. Stingrays mimic a cell network that leashes devices onto them to capture conversations and texts. Currently, Marines lack a systematic way to test and assess if their personal data is being monitored or has been compromised. Beyond that, there is no training today to teach Marines the dangers of not securing the personal data created daily.

CHALLENGE

Operators in the Marine Special Operations Command need to be trained in a comprehensive and regularly updated manner in order to understand how their operational security could be compromised through social media, personal devices, and email.

LIMITATIONS

Many devices have apps that consumers are not aware of, such as location tracking on Snapchat or Instagram, or GPS output from wearables used to create fitness metrics. Any training or methodology introduced should be easy to learn and should not inhibit previous usage of personal devices and data.

PROBLEM OWNER

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel “Dip” Schnick, Plans and Strategy Division, Office of the Deputy Commandant for Information, USMC


U.S. Marine Corps

PROBLEM TITLE: Digital Significant Event Archive

BACKGROUND

Within the Marine Corps, operational units are required to report specific types of significant incidents directly to Headquarter Marine Corps in accordance with directives for Operational Reporting 3 (OPREP-3). These events range from off-duty injuries to aircraft mishaps and are part of the notification process of Commander’s Critical Information Requirements (CCIRs). CCIRs provide an unfiltered flow of information from individual unit commander to senior officers regarding major events that likely require decisions at the senior officer level. However, once the initial notification of an event is made the information is not cataloged or entered into a centralized database. In order to create policies or recommendations that could lead to mitigating incidents, the Preservation Directorate at Headquarter Marine Corps needs to be able to access and analyze this historical information.

CHALLENGE

Develop a way for the Preservation Directorate to access, consolidate, and analyze historical data on incidents in order to identify trends of bad behavior and assess the impact of policy and resourcing changes.

LIMITATIONS

Must not exceed current manpower and budget or add excessive responsibilities to unit commanders or watch officers.

Solution must be transparent and intuitive.

Must comply with Personally Identifiable Information safeguards.

PROBLEM OWNER

Staff Sergeant Chloe S. Honjiyo, Operations Chief, Headquarters Marine Corps Force Preservation Directorate G-10, U.S. Marine Corps


U.S. Marine Corps

PROBLEM TITLE: Marine Corps Engineer Training

BACKGROUND

The Marine Expeditionary Forces are subdivided into three regiment divisions: Marine Logistics Group (MLG), Division, and Wing Support Squadron. The MLG focuses on logistics support, Division focuses on mobility and survivability, and Wing Squadron provides aviation ground support. Each of these squadrons is supported by engineers in heavy equipment, combat engineers, and utility battalions who are given tools specific to their battalion missions. Although engineers within each division are trained to support every battalion, engineers are not easily able to use other battalion’s equipment to complete tasks. Currently, for deployment, engineers are pulled from all three battalions to form a regiment able to provide full mission support, but this means no single engineer can support a warfighter alone because they all use different equipment. The Army currently has adequately cross-trained engineering regiments capable of operating all needed equipment to complete any task. While there is broad support for better training or a complete restructuring of the Marine engineer regiments to mirror the Army system, Marine leadership is reluctant to change the current subdivision of labor because mission needs can always be met by pulling engineers for deployment.

CHALLENGE

Marine Corps engineers need a process to ensure that members of the Marine Logistics Group, Division, and Wing Support Squadron can perform any task regardless of their battalion-specific missions.

LIMITATIONS

Marine leadership are wary of change.

Battalions are given different equipment reflective of their specific mission needs.

PROBLEM OWNER

SSgt Joshua Creedon, Operations Chief, 2nd Transportation Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps


U.S. Marine Corps

PROBLEM TITLE: Cleaning and Labeling Data

BACKGROUND

Unit Logistics Officers and Supply Officers (“Officers”) constantly receive and download data from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). There is a significant amount of unstructured, free form, and analog data for ground equipment and supply records, however, there are few data standards, meaning data is often free form or imprecisely labeled. Cleaning the data is a manually intensive process, as data must be painstakingly labeled and tagged for use, as well as checked for duplicates and minor errors. It is rare for data structured by DLA to be perfectly organized for Officer use.

The hours spent cleaning and labeling data severely limits the time Officers are able to spend conducting analysis on logistics and supply processes. There have been efforts to more effectively comb through data for specific pieces of equipment or items, however, the process to download data, compile it on a spreadsheet, and match up columns is still a manual one. For this reason, Officers need a way to rapidly clean and organize data.

CHALLENGE

Unit Logistics Officers and Supply Officers need a way to quickly and effectively clean and label data in order to more accurately conduct analysis of their business processes.

LIMITATIONS

Must work on the Marine Corps Network.

PROBLEM OWNER

Zach Lucas, Innovation Lead for Data Driven Logistics, Next Generation Logistics (NEXTLOG), U.S. Marine Corps


U.S. Air Force

PROBLEM TITLE: Fusing Flight Trainings: Predictive Scheduling for Formal Training Programs

BACKGROUND

For the F-15E trainings, there are a number of syllabi that Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (SJAFB) are responsible for executing. These courses include a basic course, instructors’ course, transition courses, and a senior officer’s course. Each one of these courses require specific resources. For example, during certain training modules, aircraft need specific armaments or training space. The challenge is that with multiple courses running in parallel, shared resources may be double or overbooked, leading to rescheduling and a slowdown of progression through curriculum.

Furthermore, there is a high volume of training courses conducted at any one time. The Basic course at SJAFB runs for nine months and a new class starts every three months. As a result, multiple courses run simultaneously. A number of different courses also overlap, whether they are instructors’ courses, transition courses, or senior officers’ courses. Beyond the conflicts that arise from multiple syllabi requiring the same resource, there are times where trainings may be cancelled due to weather or natural disaster events, such as hurricanes.

Lastly, while the basic course has a known number of students, other courses only have estimates. This uncertainty in volume makes it difficult to predict resource needs and the support teams required, leaving ground crews with only a few weeks’ notice.

CHALLENGE

F-15E formal training program managers need the ability to forecast and predict capacity constraints for training events in order to optimize resource allocation.

LIMITATIONS

While training days, events and other syllabi requirements are fixed, the start and graduation days are flexible. Luke Air Force Base’s Training program for the F-16 may be a useful model or source of beneficiary discovery with a similar challenge

PROBLEM OWNER

Lt. Col. Douglas “Verge” Nocera, Formal Training Program Manager, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, U.S. Air Force