Cover: A RAND Analysis Tool for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

A RAND Analysis Tool for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

The Collections Operations Model

Published Nov 25, 2008

by Lance Menthe, Jeffrey Sullivan


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The RAND Corporation's Collection Operations Model (COM) is a stochastic, agent-based simulation tool designed to support the analysis of command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C3ISR) processes and scenarios. Written for the System Effectiveness Analysis Simulation modeling environment, the COM is used to study processes that require the real-time interaction of many players and to answer questions about force mix, system effectiveness, concepts of operations, basing and logistics, and capability-based assessment. It can represent thousands of autonomous, interacting platforms and explore the capabilities of a wide range of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets. Through its flexible and friendly text-based input tables, the model represents a wide array of sensor capabilities, target properties, terrain and weather effects, and resource limitations. Its final output is a minute-by-minute account of each agent's changing operational picture. Since 2005, the COM has been used to model counterinsurgency, counterpiracy, and maritime surveillance scenarios and two major combat operations, and to study ad hoc collections, sensor cueing, dynamic retasking, and resource allocation.

RAND has planned a number of upgrades to the COM, including the addition of space-based assets; a more robust model of sensor data fusion; communications modules that more accurately represent the advantages of a networked force; a more realistic representation of C3ISR workflow; sensor capability to generate false positives; and agent capability to practice deception. These extensions and enhancements are intended to result in a COM that can represent the entire C3ISR process specifically and network-centric operations in general.

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The research in this report was prepared for the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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