Cover: Exploring the Feasibility and Utility of Machine Learning-Assisted Command and Control

Exploring the Feasibility and Utility of Machine Learning-Assisted Command and Control

Volume 2, Supporting Technical Analysis

Published Jul 15, 2021

by Matthew Walsh, Lance Menthe, Edward Geist, Eric Hastings, Joshua Kerrigan, Jasmin Léveillé, Joshua Margolis, Nicholas Martin, Brian P. Donnelly


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This volume serves as the technical analysis to a report concerning the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) systems to assist in Air Force command and control (C2) from a technical perspective. The authors detail the taxonomy of ten C2 problem characteristics. They present the results of a structured interview protocol that enabled scoring of problem characteristics for C2 processes with subject-matter experts (SMEs). Using the problem taxonomy and the structured interview protocol, they analyzed ten games and ten C2 processes. To demonstrate the problem taxonomy and the structured interview protocol for a C2 problem, they then applied them to sensor management as performed by an air battle manager.

The authors then turn to eight AI system solution capabilities. As for the C2 problem characteristics, they created a structured protocol to enable valid and reliable scoring of solution capabilities for a given AI system. Using the solution taxonomy and the structured interview protocol, they analyzed ten AI systems.

The authors present additional details about the design, implementation, and results of the expert panel that was used to determine which of the eight solution capabilities are needed to address each of the ten problem characteristics. Finally, they present three technical case studies that demonstrate a wide range of computational, AI, and human solutions to various C2 problems.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the the Air Force Research Laboratory, Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) and conducted by the Force Modernization and Employment Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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