Findings on Mosaic Warfare from a Colonel Blotto Game
Jan 5, 2021
Mosaic warfare is named for the idea of creating a complex image from small pieces. This report studies Mosaic warfare and explores three dimensions of variability: (1) fractionation of capabilities from large multicapability platforms onto multiple smaller ones; (2) employment of heterogenous mixes of capabilities throughout a battlespace; and (3) rapid composition of a set of needed capabilities in a time and place to accomplish a mission.
Findings on Mosaic Warfare from an Agent-Based Model
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As the U.S. Department of Defense transitions from a focus on irregular warfare to great-power competition, several new approaches to fighting conflicts are under consideration to reduce costs and increase effectiveness and robustness. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investigating a warfighting construct known as Mosaic warfare, after the idea of creating a complex image out of many small, simple pieces. This approach relies on fractionation of capabilities from large multicapability platforms onto multiple smaller ones; the ability to employ heterogenous mixes of capabilities throughout a battlespace; and, finally, the ability to rapidly compose a set of needed capabilities in a time and place to accomplish a mission.
This report presents the benefits of fractionation, heterogeneity, and rapidly composable forces, by means of modeling and simulation in the context of servicing targets through a reduced-order, agent-based model. The performance of monolithic platforms (which contain all available capabilities) is compared with fractionated platforms (which contain a subset of the available capabilities) in various target environments. The report summarizes (1) that fractionation is beneficial in that it can increase the operational tempo in the face of simple targets (those that require a small number of capabilities) and (2) when those independent platforms can be effectively orchestrated to tackle more-complex targets. The authors examine several methods for orchestrating these capabilities and show that the problem of orchestration is a critical need for future investment to enable distributed autonomous system architectures, such as Mosaic warfare.
Agent-Based Modeling Approach
This research was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).
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