ABERDEEN, Md. (Army News Service, Oct. 2, 2008) -- Engineers from the Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center met with more than 125 private-industry representatives recently in Aberdeen, Md., to introduce two new technology development programs for its Command and Control Directorate.

Program managers for the Tactical Human Integration with Networked Knowledge program, known as THINK, and the Collaborative Battlespace Reasoning and Awareness program, known as COBRA, provided an overview of their program objectives and outlined associated business opportunities for industry.

CERDEC C2D\'s Battle Command Division is moving to Aberdeen Proving Ground from Fort Monmouth, N.J., and Fort Belvoir, Va., as part of Base Realignment and Closure. As employees re-locate, leadership has decided to simultaneously transition these two four-year programs, which are slated to begin in 2009.

"To achieve the mission, government and industry need to work together on these programs," said Kenneth Grippo, THINK program manager. "We're sending a clear message that we're committed to APG and ready to collaborate and team with industry on these two new programs," said John Soos, chief of the Battle Command Division. "It's critical for our staff already at APG to integrate their work and continue to execute the mission."

The THINK program is focused on improving the way information is conveyed in network systems. Grippo explained that in current network centric operations, Soldiers receive and process an abundance of information from numerous sources, but the volume of information and various constraints prevent optimal effectiveness. By researching Soldiers' cognitive capabilities and social sciences, the program aims to provide technological solutions to increase the understanding and sharing of information. Ultimately, the goal is to aid decision-making during a mission, he said.

"We hope to improve the mission performance and enable more effective use of available information," Grippo said. "Information technology should work unobtrusively in the background to reduce information clutter, optimize information relevance and aid team synchronization."

CERDEC has partnered with the Army Research Lab and the Army Research Institute for support in cognitive research and social sciences. Michael Anthony, COBRA program manager, seeks to address the challenges of battle command systems' interoperability.

"COBRA is predicated on the premise that in Ultra Large Scale Systems, such as those found in the Army, it is nearly impossible to force everyone to use the same tools and standards," Anthony said. "Therefore, we're looking at how we can implement applications and software services simultaneously across various operational delivery platforms."

The program will be geared toward aligning the intelligence, operations and geo-spatial functions. CERDEC's Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate and the Army Corps of Engineer's Topographic Engineering Center are also supporting the program. COBRA is an example of the science and technology community's investment in the emerging Unified Battle Command strategy set by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and the Training and Doctrine Command, explained Anthony. The strategy is based on a desire for a more unified approach to battle command applications.

"The payoff of this program is to allow for faster, higher-quality decision cycles and increased battle command unification for the Warfighter," said Anthony. "I'm excited; we're moving our division to a new home in APG, which will help build new strategic partnerships, and we're starting up new, important programs."

(Steve Rochette serves with RDECOM Public Affairs)

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