64. Top Ten Takeaways from the Installations of the Future Conference

On 19-20 June 2018, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Mad Scientist Initiative co-hosted the Installations of the Future Conference with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment (OASA (IE&E)) and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).  Emerging technologies supporting the hyper-connectivity revolution will enable improved training capabilities, security, readiness support (e.g., holistic medical facilities and brain gyms), and quality of life programs at Army installations. Our concepts and emerging doctrine for multi-domain operations recognizes this as increasingly important by including Army installations in the Strategic Support Area. Installations of the Future will serve as mission command platforms to project virtual power and expertise as well as Army formations directly to the battlefield.

We have identified the following “Top 10” takeaways related to our future installations:

Source: Laserfishe

1. Threats and Tensions.Army Installations are no longer sanctuaries” — Mr. Richard G. Kidd IV, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Strategic Integration. There is a tension between openness and security that will need balancing to take advantage of smart technologies at our Army installations. The revolution in connected devices and the ability to virtually project power and expertise will increase the potential for adversaries to target our installations. Hyper-connectivity increases the attack surface for cyber-attacks and the access to publicly available information on our Soldiers and their families, making personalized warfare and the use of psychological attacks and deep fakes likely.

2. Exclusion vs. Inclusion. The role of and access to future Army installations depends on the balance between these two extremes. The connections between local communities and Army installations will increase potential threat vectors, but resilience might depend on expanding inclusion. Additionally, access to specialized expertise in robotics, autonomy, and information technologies will require increased connections with outside-the-gate academic institutions and industry.

Source: pcmag.com

3. Infrastructure Sensorization.  Increased sensorization of infrastructure runs the risk of driving efficiencies to the point of building in unforeseen risks. In the business world, these efficiencies are profit-driven, with clearer risks and rewards. Use of table top exercises can explore hidden risks and help Garrison Commanders to build resilient infrastructure and communities. Automation can cause cascading failures as people begin to fall “out of the loop.”

4. Army Modernization Challenge.  Installations of the Future is a microcosm of overarching Army Modernization challenges. We are simultaneously invested in legacy infrastructure that we need to upgrade, and making decisions to build new smart facilities. Striking an effective and efficient balance will start with public-private partnerships to capture the expertise that exists in our universities and in industry. The expertise needed to succeed in this modernization effort does not exist in the Army. There are significant opportunities for Army Installations to participate in ongoing consortiums like the “Middle Georgia” Smart City Community and the Global Cities Challenge to pilot innovations in spaces such as energy resilience.

5. Technology is outpacing regulations and policy. The sensorization and available edge analytics in our public space offers improved security but might be perceived as decreasing personal privacy. While we give up some personal privacy when we live and work on Army installations, this collection of data will require active engagement with our communities. We studied an ongoing Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) support concept to detect gunshot incidents in Louisville, KY, to determine the need to involve legislatures, local political leaders, communities, and multiple layers of law enforcement.

6. Synthetic Training Environment. The Installation of the Future offers the Army significant opportunities to divest itself of large brick and mortar training facilities and stove-piped, contractor support-intensive Training Aids, Devices, Simulations, and Simulators (TADSS).  MG Maria Gervais, Deputy Commanding General, Combined Arms Center – Training (DCG, CAC-T), presented the Army’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE), incorporating Virtual Reality (VR)“big box” open-architecture simulations using a One World Terrain database, and reduced infrastructure and contractor-support footprints to improve Learning and Training.  The STE, delivering high-fidelity simulations and the opportunity for our Soldiers and Leaders to exercise all Warfighting Functions across the full Operational Environment with greater repetitions at home station, will complement the Live Training Environment and enhance overall Army readiness.

Source: The Goldwater

7. Security Technologies. Many of the security-oriented technologies (autonomous drones, camera integration, facial recognition, edge analytics, and Artificial Intelligence) that triage and fuse information will also improve our deployed Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The Chinese lead the world in these technologies today.

Source: TechViz

8. Virtual Prototyping. The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is developing a computational testbed using virtual prototyping to determine the best investments for future Army installations. The four drivers in planning for Future Installations are:  1) Initial Maneuver Platform (Force Projection); 2) Resilient Installations working with their community partners; 3) Warfighter Readiness; and 4) Cost effectiveness in terms of efficiency and sustainability.

9. Standard Approach to Smart Installations. A common suite of tools is needed to integrate smart technologies onto installations. While Garrison Commanders need mission command to take advantage of the specific cultures of their installations and surrounding communities, the Army cannot afford to have installations going in different directions on modernization efforts. A method is needed to rapidly pilot prototypes and then determine whether and how to scale the technologies across Army installations.

10. “Low Hanging Fruit.” There are opportunities for Army Installations to lead their communities in tech integration. Partnerships in energy savings, waste management, and early 5G infrastructure provide the Army with early adopter opportunities for collaboration with local communities, states, and across the nation. We must educate contracting officers and Government consumers to look for and seize upon these opportunities.

Videos from each of the Installations of the Future Conference presentations are posted here. The associated slides will be posted here within the week on the Mad Scientist All Partners Access Network site.

If you enjoyed this post, check out the following:

• Watch Mr. Richard Kidd IV discuss Installations of the Future on Government Matters.

• Read Mad Scientist Ed Blayney’s takeaways from the Installations of the Future Conference in his article, entitled We need more Mad Scientists in our Smart Cities.

• See the TRADOC G-2 Operational Environment Enterprise’s:

–  The Changing Character of Future Warfare video.

–  Evolving Threats to Army Installations video.

• Review our Call for Ideas winning submissions Trusting Smart Cities: Risk Factors and Implications by Dr. Margaret Loper, and Day in the Life of a Garrison Commander by the team at AT&T Global Public Sector — both are graciously hosted by our colleagues at Small Wars Journal.

• Re-visit our following blog posts: Smart Cities and Installations of the Future: Challenges and Opportunities and Base in a Box.

52. Potential Game Changers

The Mad Scientist Initiative brings together cutting-edge leaders and thinkers from the technology industry, research laboratories, academia, and across the military and Government to explore the impact of potentially disruptive technologies. Much like Johannes Gutenberg’s moveable type (illustrated above), these transformational game changers have the potential to impact how we live, create, think, and prosper. Understanding their individual and convergent impacts is essential to continued battlefield dominance in the Future Operational Environment. In accordance with The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare, we have divided this continuum into two distinct timeframes:

The Era of Accelerated Human Progress (Now through 2035):
The period where our adversaries can take advantage of new technologies, new doctrine, and revised strategic concepts to effectively challenge U.S. military forces across multiple domains. Game changers during this era include:

• Robotics: Forty plus countries develop military robots with some level of autonomy. Impact on society, employment.
Vulnerable: To Cyber/Electromagnetic (EM) disruption, battery life, ethics without man in the loop.
Formats: Unmanned/Autonomous; ground/air vehicles/subsurface/sea systems. Nano-weapons.
Examples: (Air) Hunter/killer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) swarms; (Ground) Russian Uran: Recon, ATGMs, SAMs.

• Artificial Intelligence: Human-Agent Teaming, where humans and intelligent systems work together to achieve either a physical or mental task. The human and the intelligent system will trade-off cognitive and physical loads in a collaborative fashion.

• Swarms/Semi Autonomous: Massed, coordinated, fast, collaborative, small, stand-off. Overwhelm target systems. Mass or disaggregate.



• Internet of Things (IoT): Trillions of internet linked items create opportunities and vulnerabilities. Explosive growth in low Size Weight and Power (SWaP) connected devices (Internet of Battlefield Things), especially for sensor applications (situational awareness). Greater than 100 devices per human. Significant end device processing (sensor analytics, sensor to shooter, supply chain management).
Vulnerable: To Cyber/EM/Power disruption. Privacy concerns regarding location and tracking.
Sensor to shooter: Accelerate kill chain, data processing, and decision-making.

• Space: Over 50 nations operate in space, increasingly congested and difficult to monitor, endanger Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT)

GPS Jamming/Spoofing: Increasingly sophisticated, used successfully in Ukraine.
Anti Satellite: China has tested two direct ascent anti-satellite missiles.

The Era of Contested Equality (2035 through 2050):
The period marked by significant breakthroughs in technology and convergences in terms of capabilities, which lead to significant changes in the character of warfare. During this period, traditional aspects of warfare undergo dramatic, almost revolutionary changes which at the end of this timeframe may even challenge the very nature of warfare itself. Game changers during this era include:

• Hyper Velocity Weapons:
Rail Guns (Electrodynamic Kinetic Energy Weapons): Electromagnetic projectile launchers. High velocity/energy and space (Mach 5 or higher). Not powered by explosive.
No Propellant: Easier to store and handle.
Lower Cost Projectiles: Potentially. Extreme G-force requires sturdy payloads.
Limiting factors: Power. Significant IR signature. Materials science.
Hyper Glide Vehicles: Less susceptible to anti-ballistic missile countermeasures.

• Directed Energy Weapons: Signature not visible without technology, must dwell on target. Power requirements currently problematic.
Potential: Tunable, lethal, and non-lethal.
Laser: Directed energy damages intended target. Targets: Counter Aircraft, UAS, Missiles, Projectiles, Sensors, Swarms.
Radio Frequency (RF): Attack targets across the frequency spectrum. Targets: Not just RF; Microwave weapons “cook targets,” people, electronics.

• Synthetic Biology: Engineering / modification of biological entities
Increased Crop Yield: Potential to reduce food scarcity.
Weaponization: Potential for micro-targeting, Seek & destroy microbes that can target DNA. Potentially accessible to super-empowered individuals.
Medical Advances: Enhance soldier survivability.
Genetic Modification: Disease resistant, potentially designer babies and super athletes/soldiers. Synthetic DNA stores digital data. Data can be used for micro-targeting.
CRISPR: Genome editing.

• Information Environment: Use IoT and sensors to harness the flow of information for situational understanding and decision-making advantage.




In envisioning Future Operational Environment possibilities, the Mad Scientist Initiative employs a number of techniques. We have found Crowdsourcing (i.e., the gathering of ideas, thoughts, and concepts from a wide variety of interested individuals assists us in diversifying thoughts and challenging conventional assumptions) to be a particularly effective technique. To that end, we have published our latest, 2-page compendium of Potential Game Changers here — we would like to hear your feedback regarding them. Please let us know your thoughts / observations by posting them in this blog post’s Comment box (found below, in the Leave a Reply section). Alternatively, you can also submit them to us via email at: usarmy.jble.tradoc.mbx.army-mad-scientist@mail.mil. Thank you in advance for your contributions!

30. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Meet Warfighter Needs

(Editor’s Note: The Mad Scientist Laboratory is pleased to present a companion piece to last Thursday’s post that addressed human-machine networks and their cross-domain effects. On 10 January 2018, CAPT George Galdorisi, (U.S. Navy-Ret.), presented his Mad Scientist Speaker Series topic entitled, Designing Unmanned Systems For the Multi-Domain Battle. CAPT Galdorisi has distilled the essence of this well-received presentation into the following guest blog post — enjoy!)

The U.S. military no longer enjoys technological superiority over a wide-range of potential adversaries. In the words of former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, “Our forces face the very real possibility of arriving in a future combat theater and finding themselves facing an arsenal of advanced, disruptive technologies that could turn our previous technological advantage on its head — where our armed forces no longer have uncontested theater access or unfettered operational freedom of maneuver.”

SILENT RUIN: Written by Brian David Johnson • Creative Direction: Sandy Winkelman
Illustration: Don Hudson & Kinsun Lo • Brought to you by Army Cyber Institute at West Point

The Army Cyber Institute’s graphic novel, Silent Ruin, posits one such scenario.

In order to regain this technological edge, the Department of Defense has crafted a Third Offset Strategy and a Defense Innovation Initiative, designed to help the U.S. military regain technological superiority. At the core of this effort are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and unmanned systems.

Much has been written about efforts to make U.S. military unmanned systems more autonomous in order to fully leverage their capabilities. But unlike some potential adversaries, the United States is not likely to deploy fully autonomous machines. An operator will be in the loop. If this is the case, how might the U.S. military best exploit the promise offered by unmanned systems?

One answer may well be to provide “augmented intelligence” to the warfighter. Fielding unmanned vehicles that enable operators to teach these systems how to perform desired tasks is the first important step in this effort. This will lead directly to the kind of human-machine collaboration that transitions the “artificial” nature of what the autonomous system does into an “augmented” capability for the military operator.

But this generalized explanation begs the question — what would augmented intelligence look like to the military operator? What tasks does the warfighter want the unmanned system to perform to enable the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine in the fight to make the right decision quickly in stressful situations where mission accomplishment must be balanced against unintended consequences?

Consider the case of an unmanned system conducting a surveillance mission. Today, an operator receives streaming video of what the unmanned system sees, and in the case of aerial unmanned systems, often in real-time. But this requires the operator to stare at this video for hours on end (the endurance of the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton is thirty hours). This concept of operations is an enormous drain on human resources, often with little to show for the effort.

Using basic augmented intelligence techniques, the MQ-4C can be trained to deliver only that which is interesting and useful to its human partner. For example, a Triton operating at cruise speed, flying between San Francisco and Tokyo, would cover the five-thousand-plus miles in approximately fifteen hours. Rather than send fifteen hours of generally uninteresting video as it flies over mostly empty ocean, the MQ-4C could be trained to only send the video of each ship it encounters, thereby greatly compressing human workload.


Taken to the next level, the Triton could do its own analysis of each contact to flag it for possible interest. For example, if a ship is operating in a known shipping lane, has filed a journey plan with the proper maritime authorities, and is providing an AIS (Automatic Identification System) signal; it is likely worthy of only passing attention by the operator, and the Triton will flag it accordingly. If, however, it does not meet these criteria (say, for example, the vessel makes an abrupt course change that takes it well outside normal shipping channels), the operator would be alerted immediately.

For lethal military unmanned systems, the bar is higher for what the operator must know before authorizing the unmanned warfighting partner to fire a weapon — or as is often the case — recommending that higher authority authorize lethal action. Take the case of military operators managing an ongoing series of unmanned aerial systems flights that have been watching a terrorist and waiting for higher authority to give the authorization to take out the threat using an air-to-surface missile fired from that UAS.

Using augmented intelligence, the operator can train the unmanned aerial system to anticipate what questions higher authority will ask prior to giving the authorization to fire, and provide, if not a point solution, at least a percentage probability or confidence level to questions such as:

• What is level of confidence this person is the intended target?

• What is this confidence based on?

– Facial recognition

– Voice recognition

– Pattern of behavior

– Association with certain individuals

– Proximity of known family members

– Proximity of known cohorts

• What is the potential for collateral damage to?

– Family members

– Known cohorts

– Unknown persons

• What are the potential impacts of waiting versus striking now?

These considerations represent only a subset of the kind of issues operators must train their unmanned systems armed with lethal weapons to deal with. Far from ceding lethal authority to unmanned systems, providing these systems with augmented intelligence and leveraging their ability to operate inside the enemy’s OODA loop, as well as ours, enables these systems to free the human operator from having to make real-time (and often on-the-fly-decisions) in the stress of combat.

Designing this kind of augmented intelligence into unmanned systems from the outset will ultimately enable them to be effective partners for their military operators.

If you enjoyed this post, please note the following Mad Scientist events:

– Our friends at Small Wars Journal are publishing the first five selected Soldier 2050 Call for Ideas papers during the week of 19-23 February 2018 (one each day) on their Mad Scientist page.

– Mark on your calendar the next Mad Scientist Speaker Series, entitled “A Mad Scientist’s Lab for Bio-Convergence Research, presented by Drs. Cooke and Mezzacappa, from RDECOM-ARDEC Tactical Behavior Research Laboratory (TBRL), scheduled for 27 February 2018 at 1300-1400 EST.

– Headquarters, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is co-sponsoring the Bio Convergence and Soldier 2050 Conference with SRI International at Menlo Park, California, on 08-09 March 2018. This conference will be live-streamed; click here to watch the proceedings, starting at 0840 PST / 1140 EST on 08 March 2018.

CAPT George Galdorisi, (U.S. Navy–Ret.), is Director for Strategic Assessments and Technical Futures at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. Prior to joining SSC Pacific, he completed a 30-year career as a naval aviator, culminating in fourteen years of consecutive service as executive officer, commanding officer, commodore, and chief of staff.