Small Unit Operations suo/pda

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Small Unit Operations SUO/PDA

Small Unit Operations SUO/PDA


  • Demonstrate capability relevant to a SUO/Situation Assessment System (SAS) environment to generate, refine, communicate, execute and repair plans across multiple echelons.

  • Limited interfaces available on soldier-borne device.

  • Two examples of COA plan generation and use:

    • Defensive - Halt an Attack in Restrictive Terrain;
    • Offensive - Military Operations in Urban Terrain.


  • Use results of DARPA/AFRL Planning Initiative (ARPI) and Planning & Decision Aids (PDA) work

  • Multi-Agent Planning Architecture (MPA) and O-Plan Systems Integration Architecture

  • SIPE-2/CPEF and O-Plan AI Planners

  • Mixed Initiative Planning Aids

  • Planning Domain Knowledge Acquisition Tools/Editors

  • Continuous Planning, Re-planning and Plan Repair

  • Planning Process Panels

  • Rich Shared Plan Representations

Long-term Contributions to the Soldier

  • Fast generation of multiple distinct COAs, including ones the commander may not have considered.

  • Commander can explore more options in detail.

  • Avoid mistakes: uniformly high plan quality, even during high-stress crises.

  • Monitor plan execution and respond quickly to events, helping the commander modify the plan appropriately.

  • Provide relevant information to other echelons, allowing fast communication while preserving bandwidth.

Practical Issues/Challenges

  • Effort to acquire the knowledge base (KB).

    • KB will cover a small subset of an officer’s knowledge and will add value.
    • Effort commensurate with capability.
    • Reduce effort by limiting scenario, relying on human knowledge, etc.
    • Human can override PDA -- blind spots not fatal
    • Other DARPA programs address this problem in the larger scale
  • Assumptions about the world information available from sensors.

    • Rely only on information which the SUO/SAS can provide
    • Baseline: SALUTE reports and GPS data.
  • Input and output burden on soldiers when using SUO/PDA.

    • PDA would augment officer at time he would consult map or talk on radio
    • Voice input and limited interface modalities being considered by SUO contractor.
  • Sensor planning

    • PDA will plan for awareness requirements
    • PDA will respond to reports from SAS
    • Will not model low-level details of sensor operations, or plan their exact deployment


  • Validate MPA by integrating several systems in DARPA Planning Initiative (TIE 97-1):

  • INSPECT (ISI) OPIS (CMU) Advisable Planner (SRI)

  • SIPE-2 (SRI) ACS (UMass) Process Panel (AIAI -UEdin)


  • Domain is Air Campaign Planning

    • thousands of objects, several thousand nodes in each plan
    • plan down to support mission level (must allocate supporting resources)
    • air superiority objective only
    • targets grouped into networks which depend on other networks
    • network effectiveness is modeled quantitatively

TIE 97-1 Demonstrations

  • Sept 98 - EFX 98, Ft. Walton Beach FL

  • May 98 - ARPI Workshop, Monterey CA

  • Feb 98 - DARPA, Arlington VA

  • Dec 97 - JFACC PMR, San Pedro CA

  • Nov 97 - ARPI Workshop, San Francisco CA

Technology Transition

SUO Scenarios

  • Two SUO-SAS scenarios have been chosen:

    • Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT):
    • Operation San Roberto
    • Halt an Attack in Restrictive Terrain:
    • Operation Golden Manacle
  • KA has been performed for both scenarios

  • Interim demo is in MOUT scenario

  • Main demo is in Halt an Attack scenario

Differences between the Two Scenarios

  • Halt an Attack

  • Defensive

  • Restrictive wooded terrain

  • Battalion-sized operation

  • Wide area move planning

  • Mechanized threat

  • Wide area sensors

  • BN, CO, PLT

  • Workstation-based aids

  • Graphics+typing modalities

Opportunities for PDA Support in MOUT

MOUT Concept of Operations

Halt an Attack - Defensive Scenario

Defensive Scenario - Plan Generation

  • BN plan/order is input to PDA

  • PDA produces plans for each CO and each PLT

  • KB covers following:

    • Observing avenues of approach (AAs)
    • Using sensors to provide and supplement observation and to provide security
    • Covering AAs with obstacles
    • Positioning units
    • Selecting a channelizing path for OPFOR
    • Nominating positions for fire support (FS) units
    • Selecting an engagement area (EA) in which to defeat channelized units
    • Preparing the EA for the battle

Main Demo - Halt an Attack

SUO/PDA Knowledge Acquisition Stage

AIAI Contributing Technology

AIAI Contributing Technology

  • Generation of multiple qualitatively distinct alternative COAs dependent upon alternative assumptions and advice about the situation.

  • Support for mixed-initiative incremental plan development, manipulation and use.

  • Situation-dependant plan repair as situation changes.

  • Systems integration framework for modular planning and plan analysis systems.

  • Management of planning and execution process - promotion of intelligent process management and workflow concepts.

AIAI Contributing Technology

  • Shared Models of Tasks, Processes and Plans

  • Issue-based Problem Solving

  • Constraint and Domain Management

  • Planning Process Panels

  • Web Delivery of Planning Facilities

  • Process Editor

  • Previous O-Plan Technology

  • New I-X Technology

Shared Plan Model - a rich plan representation using

  • Shared Plan Model - a rich plan representation using

  • a common constraint model of activity ().

  • Shared Task Model - Mixed initiative model of

  • “mutually constraining the space of behaviour”.

  • Shared Space of Options - explicit option management.

  • Shared Model of Agent Capabilities - handlers for

  • issues, functional capabilities and constraint managers.

  • Shared Understanding of Authority - management

  • of the authority to plan (to handle issues) and

  • act which may take into account options,

  • phases and levels.

O-Plan -> I-X

I-Plan and

SRI Contributing Technology

Domain Characteristics

  • Tasks are complex and open-ended

  • Operating environments are dynamic and possibly hostile

  • Complete and accurate knowledge of the world can never be attained

  • Full automation is neither possible nor desirable

    • Successful operation requires a mix of
      • user involvement and control
      • continuous planning
      • rapid response to unexpected events
      • dynamic adaptation of activities

CPEF Architecture

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