Enhanced Tools to Improve Situational Awareness

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Current, Michael
Gilbert, David
Golden, Bruce
Lennartz, John
Crawford, Alice
Date of Issue
Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Commonly shared situational awareness is essential to the success of almost any team endeavor. Many information networks and processes in the military environment are specifically designed to collect, filter, package, and provide information. The mismanagement of time critical knowledge can result in delays in response and confusion when information regarding changes in the operational environment is not rapidly delivered to the right audience. This analysis provides recommendations for consideration of readily available information awareness tools to enhance this process. Our survey of information systems in present use reveals some non-desirous attributes and illuminates new concerns created as the result of the second order consequences of employing more complex and powerful systems. Some of these areas of concern include: • Increased exclusiveness of information to a narrow user community • Greater difficulty to alert a large group of forces to new and developing vital information in a rapidly changing dynamic situation. • Difficulty to alert and inform a large segment of the forces to a changing environment in a slowly developing situation. • Intermittently connected users lack a simple utility to become quickly updated with the latest information status. • Inability to provide information across architecture domains or security enclaves. • Inability to export and extend the information network to newly arriving participants. An analysis of the major fielded situational awareness systems including the Common Operational Picture (COP), Global Command and Control System-Maritime (GCCS-M), Collaboration at Sea (CAS) was conducted. Included also were Microsoft Chat and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) as candidate solutions. Each system or tool was first screened to identity those possessing the desired characteristic s of a potential solution. Then the qualifying systems were screened using a matrix of weighted factors. The assigned weighting factors were determined based on discussion with Subject Matter Experts provided by the client. RSS emerged as an affordable candidate satisfying most of the attributes of the desired solution. RSS provides a “Severe Weather Alert” service to a netted environment of information systems lacking this common cross domain capability. We conclude and recommend that RSS be further trialed and evaluated under exercise or controlled conditions to assess its potential usefulness as a “bell ringer” to enhance the group focus on significant and important situational developments.
EMBA Project Report
NPS Report Number
Prepared for Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic
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