Tag Archives: Distributed Targeting System-Networked (DTS-N)

Restitching the Internet

Is the internet becoming obsolete?
The government agency that invented the network that runs the world seems to think so. So the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a program aimed at “completely rethinking how to network and compute” … DARPA’s Dispersed Computing program (or DCOMP, as it’s known) adds another moniker to the set of emerging technologies that includes fog computing, edge computing, and distributed computing. DCOMP takes these paradigms one step further, however, and envisions a network that is able to borrow processing and communications resources from its many nodes as and when needed to accomplish whatever task its users might throw at it.

“Today’s network is pretty static,” says Petros Mouchtaris, CEO of Vencore Labs….“The computing capabilities we have in our hands, at what we call the edge of the network, have really changed dramatically since the internet was invented. At same time, the core technology of the internet hasn’t really changed at all.”…Updating that core technology, according to DARPA, will require overhauling the very stuff that knits the internet together: its protocols. …The TCP/IP protocols, in use since the early 1980s, are good for getting information from one place to another, but that’s no longer enough…

DCOMP envisions is “the opportunistic use of network-embedded computing resources,”… Rather than thinking of the devices on the networks as nothing more than nodes that pass information from source to destination, DCOMP sees them also as distributed computing resources that can be dynamically reallocated in real time, depending on the changing needs of the current mission set. Imagine every cell phone, smart thermostat, fitness tracker, and game console in your house contributing their spare cycles to help process the video you’re trying to upload, or educate the machine learning algorithm that runs your AI personal assistant.

To understand how and when to allocate all those devices’ computing and communications power, the network will need to be able to examine itself, to a certain extent. “We’re working on creating a network which can sense very quickly what’s going on in the network, and can react very quickly because it’s programmable,” he continues. Though the work is still in the design phase, Mouchtaris envisions a set of protocols that will change on the fly to better support current needs and conditions in the field….

“That generates a lot of overhead. You want to very quickly find out about what’s changing in the network and adapt quickly, but you don’t want to flood the network with requests for information about what’s going on.”

Excerpts from MARK WALLACE DARPA, The Secretive Agency That Invented The Internet, Is Working To Reinvent It, Fast Magazine, Nov. 7, 2017

Mosaic Warfare: how to fight like a network

DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO) on August 4, 2017 unveiled its updated approach to winning or deterring future conflicts. The foundation of STO’s new strategy rests on the recognition that traditional U.S. asymmetric technology advantage—such as highly advanced satellites, stealth aircraft, or precision munitions—today offer a reduced strategic value because of growing global access to comparable high-tech systems and components, many of which are now commercially available. Additionally, the high cost and sometimes decades-long development timelines for new military systems can’t compete with the fast refresh rate of electronics component technology on the commercial market, which can make new military systems obsolete before they’re delivered.

STO’s updated strategy seeks a new asymmetric advantage—one that imposes complexity on adversaries by harnessing the power of dynamic, coordinated, and highly autonomous composable systems.

“We’ve developed a technology-based vision that would enable highly complex, strategic moves by composing multiple contributing systems to enable what might be thought of as ‘mosaic warfare,’ in which individual components can respond to needs in real time to create desired outcomes,” said Tom Burns, director of STO. “The goal is to fight as a network to create a chain of effects—or, more accurately because these effects are not linear, ‘effects webs’—to deter and defeat adversaries across multiple scales of conflict intensity. This could be anything from conventional force-on-force battles to more nebulous ‘Gray Zone’ conflicts, which don’t reach the threshold of traditional military engagements but can be equally disruptive and subversive.”

U.S. military power has traditionally relied upon monolithic military systems where one type of aircraft, for example, is designed to provide a single end-to-end capability tailored to a very specific warfighting context—and be a significant loss if shot down. In contrast, the composable effects webs concept seeks a mosaic-like flexibility in designing effects for any threat scenario. By using less expensive systems brought together on demand as the conflict unfolds, these effects webs would enable diverse, agile applications—from a kinetic engagement in a remote desert setting, to multiple small strike teams operating in a bustling megacity, or an information operation to counter an adversary spreading false information in a population threatening friendly forces and strategic objectives. Mosiacs can rapidly be tailored to accommodate available resources, adapt to dynamic threats, and be resilient to losses and attrition.

This means that even if an adversary can neutralize a number of pieces of the mosaic, the collective can instantly respond as needed to still achieve the desired, overall effect.”…The mosaic strategy is also anticipated to change the way the military thinks about designing and buying future systems. Instead of spending years or even decades building exquisite, monolithic systems to rigid requirements, future acquisition programs would be able to buy mosaic “tiles” at a rapid, continuous pace. The true power of the new capabilities will come from the composite mosaic effects.

The approach will draw in part on a number of existing DARPA programs that are developing enabling technologies to achieve the challenging mosaic warfare architecture, including: The Complex Adaptive System Composition And Design Environment (CASCADE) program is addressing composition of existing and new systems; the System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program is focused on integrating the various systems to work together; Distributed Battle Management (DBM) and Resilient Synchronized Planning and Assessment for the Contested Environment (RSPACE) are addressing battle management command and control; and Communications in Contested Environments (C2E) and Dynamic Network Adaptation for Mission Optimization (DyNAMO) are focused on seamless, adaptable communications and networking.

Excerpts from Strategic Technology Office Outlines Vision for “Mosaic Warfare”, DARPA Press Release, Aug. 4, 2017