“Connectivity Will Make or Break U.S. Military Use of AI”
Considering that AI is still in the very early stages, the profound effect it already having in business, education, government and across the board is striking. In fact, it’s possible that this blog could have been produced through ChatGPT (it’s not, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.) For the modern military, it has the potential to be a game changer, delivering on the “Sense, make sense and act” vision of JADC2. At Sigma Defense, already we are demonstrating how the fusion of sensor data at the tactical edge and the application of AI can provide data driven decision dominance faster and more accurately. But what value is that information without the ability to transmit and disseminate it efficiently, quickly, and securely? That the dilemma posed in a recent article in C4ISRNet, “Connectivity will ‘make or break’ US military use of AI”
AI, Analytics and JADC2 for a Common Operating Picture
The implementation of AI and analytics for JADC2 is a layered process. The first layer is analytics at the tactical edge, where sensor data (i.e., thermal, optical, etc.) can be ingested, processed, analyzed, and presented in near real-time, creating intelligence for a specific objective. That raw data and analysis is transmitted to Command and Control (C2) to feed into a Common Operating Picture (COP) for decision-making and subsequently integrated with other data sources for additional and deeper layers of analysis, presentation, and dissemination. This cycle of AI and Machine Learning is generating unprecedented levels of intelligence gathering and insights and it’s just the beginning.
If you buy in to the hype, Artificial Intelligence is duct tape, WD-40 and Vitamin D all wrapped up in one – it’s going to fix everything. Based on what we’ve been able to accomplish in just the infant stages of AI, there’s little reason to believe it won’t wildly exceed even the highest expectations. However, if at any point in this process, connectivity is disrupted the analytics and decision-making cycle breaks down. As the author of the article states, “Reliable connections are essential to shuttling data and acting on orders derived from them. A disconnect can mean there is little to be examined and little to be relayed, leaving troops stagnant or ill-informed.”
DevSecOps Enabling AI at the Tactical Edge
The Sigma Defense approach to supporting JADC2 requirements is the synthesis of our 2 core capabilities: DevSecOps software development and satellite tactical relay for ISR backhaul. The foundation of our Olympus platform is the Stingray Tactical Relay System which is a hardware and software communications platform that provides an integrated and modular suite of equipment for forward-deployed teams that allows for the dissemination of full motion video feeds and sensor data both locally and to the enterprise. The Sigma Defense DevSecOps platform is a stable and reliable environment that provides the building blocks for tactically deploying new applications and configuration toolsets. This is critical to enabling the ingestion of new sensors and sensor data, making sense of that data through AI algorithms, presenting the data in a manner that allows commanders at the edge to be informed and maintaining the health of the network. By allowing teams to quickly create or iterate on capabilities, Olympus provides a dynamic, secure, and highly reliable platform for the ingestion, processing, analytics, and presentation of sensor data for informed decision making from the tactical edge to C2 environments. Sigma Defense has 17-year track record of delivering highly reliable communications to austere environments supporting critical missions.
Schuyler Moore, CENTCOM’s chief technology officer was quoted in the article: “From start to finish, if I’ve collected data at a certain point, and then I need to push it back to a home base where you can run analytics, and that pipe is severed, suddenly everything downstream of that stops.” Sigma Defense is mitigating the risk of severed communications through highly reliable satellite backhaul integrated with processing power capable of running AI and analytics and presenting the data in a way that makes sense to the users at the tactical edge.