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New Tools Available for Network-Centric Warfare

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the click-and-destroy dept.

Software 70

Reservoir Hill writes "MIT Technology Review reports that a new map-based application is the latest tool in the military's long-term plan to introduce what is sometimes called "network-centric warfare." The Tactical Ground Reporting System, or TIGR allows patrol leaders in Iraq to learn about city landmarks and past events and more than 1,500 junior officers in Iraq — about a fifth of patrol leaders — are using the map-centric application before going on patrol and adding new data to TIGR upon returning. By clicking on icons and lists, they can see the locations of key buildings, like mosques, schools, and hospitals, and retrieve information such as location data on past attacks, geotagged photos of houses and other buildings (taken with cameras equipped with Global Positioning System technology), and photos of suspected insurgents and neighborhood leaders. They can even listen to civilian interviews and watch videos of past maneuvers. "The ability ... to draw the route ... of your patrol that day and then to access the collective reports, media, analysis of the entire organization, is pretty powerful," says Major Patrick Michaelis. "It is a bit revolutionary from a military perspective when you think about it, using peer-based information to drive the next move. ... Normally we are used to our higher headquarters telling the patrol leader what he needs to think.""

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and here's... (5, Informative)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557608)

... the print friendly version [technologyreview.com] so you don't get attacked by the annoying ads.....

Re:and here's... (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558174)

Call me a slashdotter, but I think they should get gamers' input for things like this. After hundreds of hours of Insurgency [insmod.net] and BF2 I can also attest that overhead maps are insanely helpful in planning large maneuvers when in command, though you need to actually know the level inside and out to actually get anything done as a foot soldier. Not really appropriate to the less-realistic Battlefield, but in Insurgency at least, effective peer-to-peer communication is absolutely essential to winning the round. I mean like if you haven't played those ultra-realistic style shooters you can't even imagine.. to be pinned down by SAW fire and call for help from the forward squad, they take a detour through a side building and take out the SAW so your squad can move up.. but at the same time, if real life squad leaders are sitting there watching deployment videos during a battle his squad's gonna get slaughtered around him..

peaceful applications could save more lives (4, Insightful)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558812)

if used by 911 dispatchers, with feedback from police, fire an EMTs, this sort of a system could lead to police who knew where ambush was possible, firemen who knew when a building was condemned or had toxic or explosive contents, alleyways too narrow for an ambulance and so forth...before they scramble.

"Big Brother"?.. (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559950)

What you are asking for is "inter-agency data-sharing [google.com] ". It is, indeed, very powerful, but "Big Brother" concerns [google.com] — largely but not entirely imaginary — stand in the way...

Re:peaceful applications could save more lives (1)

TED Vinson (576153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22568704)

Good idea, but it has been around for a while.

Google for "GIS" + "law enforcement" or "disaster response", to see lots of sources. For example ESRI [esri.com] produces several products for these purposes.

The most recent trends are to add real-time synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and knowledge sharing capabilities on top of the basic GIS "maps + database", to get capabilities like those required in military command and control applications.

As mentioned above, inter-agency cooperation [and inter-operability] is an even harder problem. Remember: "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."

Re:peaceful applications could save more lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22571772)

... the print friendly version [technologyreview.com] so you don't get attacked by the annoying ads.....

if used by 911 dispatchers, with feedback from police, fire an EMTs, this sort of a system could lead to police who knew where ambush was possible, firemen who knew when a building was condemned or had toxic or explosive contents, alleyways too narrow for an ambulance and so forth...before they scramble.


All that by just using the print friendly version?

Re:peaceful applications could save more lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22575170)

I can think of several things that would benifit from a peer-to-peer inforation paradigm like this - how about an EMT in a "one-on-one" with a doctor AS he is treating the patient. Even doing collaborative projects could benifit...

Its a kinda cool look at the needs of the battlefield and providing the information a squad leader needs to make effective, positive decisions... pretty kewl.

Problem is, is someone watching these decisions and can they over-ride them if they are not the "right" decision? bet so...

here is another rub - allows for FALSE information to be provided... like the old addage: don't believe everything you read - these systems are perfect for making sure the men on the ground believe exactly what you TELL them to believe... little scary in that regard.

Very cool tech (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557612)

I'd like to have that app just to describe the area where I live. I wish I'd been able to work on it... the other geeks always get all the fun :-)

Re:Very cool tech (2, Interesting)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557778)

Perhaps you should look at the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data published by the Census bureau. It is a cool set of map files. You can find more at http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/ [census.gov] .

I know the transportation departments across the country use the files.

Re:Very cool tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22561726)

Well you could always download Google Earth and play around with the pushpin/placemarking features. I figure that's more or less the civilian equivalent to the military app which the article talks about.

Whatever. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22557618)

Sandniggers = Glass Parking Lot.

What we really need is small-scale nuclear munitions that go live the moment someone starts wailing "wally snackbar" and running in circles around a rock. It takes a lot to make the Christofascists look like modern thinkers, and the dune coons are just 16th-century enough to make Pat Robertson look like Stephen Hawking.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22557620)

Flickr... Tumblr... TIGR? Has the army gone all Web 2.0 on us?

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557628)

What did you want? WikiWarfare?

Re:Really? (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558102)

For those not familiar with military culture, they love their acronyms.

Re:Really? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558856)

IANAS but don't you mean FTNFWMCTLTA ?

Re:Really? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567038)

"Flickr... Tumblr... TIGR? Has the army gone all Web 2.0 on us?"

Rogr that!

You'd think... (1, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557720)

that these guys were constantly under threat from some uber-opponent instead of being the most over-funded organisation in history, capable of literally destroying all life on Earth. Why do they need MORE technology? Shouldn't they have to wait until they can use what they already have properly?

TWW

Re:You'd think... (3, Informative)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557760)

Shouldn't they have to wait until they can use what they already have properly?
I do believe that this technology is enabling them to properly use what they already have.

Re:You'd think... (1)

Beefaroni (1229886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557780)

military technology usually gets sold back to us in the commercial realm - see also GPS systems for one example. there are countless other toys and gadgets we all have used that probably came from battlefields of the past... or you could just cry and wring your hands more about our evil military.

Re:You'd think... (-1, Troll)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557840)

or you could just cry and wring your hands more about our evil military.

Stop living in fear you spineless piece of shit.

TWW

Re:You'd think... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558442)

In warfare, going to a better thing in lieu of "learning to make what they already have work" only makes sense. Hacks to "make it work" in a time-constrained environment - the battlefield - are something only a paper-pushing pencil-necked geek (in the true sense of the phrase) would insist upon - they kill people.

Of course, it still happens all of the time - witness WWII's torpedoes, early M16s, etc. Equally of course, such crap equipment comes complete with attitude from chickenhawks and armchair warriors who inevitably insist that "the equipment is fine - they just need to learn to make it work".

Re:You'd think... (1)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558570)

military technology usually gets sold back to us in the commercial realm - see also GPS systems for one example. there are countless other toys and gadgets we all have used that probably came from battlefields of the past... or you could just cry and wring your hands more about our evil military.

Oh, great! I can't wait for the day the MOAB will go on sale at the local fireworks shack. There goes the neighborhood!

Re:You'd think... (1)

TED Vinson (576153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22568974)

DOD does not make any money from GPS. This service is provided free to anyone [American or otherwise] with a GPS device, courtesy of the US taxpayers. What a deal. Garmin, Magellan and the rest are the ones making money from GPS.

I remember a briefing from an Air Force colonel who was involved with getting GPS deployed. He remarked that is was too bad DOD did not put a nominal $1 per device licensing fee on GPS manufacturers from the beginning. The fees would have paid for the whole system.

what is your point exactly? (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557832)

that they should give up some tech, and increase the risk to their lives? or give some tech to an enemy? i don't understand what motivates your thinking

Re:what is your point exactly? (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558950)

My point is that the military get far too much funding. I don't give a damn, frankly, if they're at risk. I didn't ask them to go and fight for Haliburton. They wanted the job and they expect everyone else to stump up the cost.

TWW

you live in an ivory tower (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559402)

you have a very cocooned and typical point of view of a lot western children (children in mind, if not actual chronological age), who have seen no real menace in their lives, and therefore see no reason to fight menace. this coddled pampered view becomes so stilted as to actually see menace in that which exists to protect them from menace. this is a flawed perspective on the reality of the world we live in, that is only possible to develop if you live in a hermetically sealed climate controlled world, disconnected form the reality that the majority of humans currently lived and have lived in history, in so far as life experience with no threats to your life and beliefs are concerned

go live in a slum in manila or calcutta for a month. then revisit us with how that has changed your persective on whether or not you are really vulnerable or not to things you currently perceive as nonentities unrelated to your existence

Re:you live in an ivory tower (3, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560174)

you have a very cocooned and typical point of view of a lot western children (children in mind, if not actual chronological age), who have seen no real menace in their lives, and therefore see no reason to fight menace.

Yes, apart from being blown up by the IRA, having my grandmother shot dead and a friend blown to pieces it's all been pillows, harps, and peeled grapes here.

I see menace in the wasp's nest, and I see menace in the fool who stirrs the wasp's nest up. Which is more evil?

Take your head out of your ass and take a look around once in a while.

TWW

the wasps are responsible (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22562144)

the people who stir up the nest are not responsible

better analogy: guy holds someone hostage. he says if the police try to rescue the hostage, he'll shoot the hostage. the police try to rescue the hostage, and screw it up. so the guy shoots the hostage

who is responsible for the dead hostage?

the guy who shot the hostage, 100%

if you believe the police in any way are responsible for the dead hostage, then you believe that governmental authority and rights are more important than individual responsibility and rights

imagine that ;-)

Re:You'd think... (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557930)

FTFA:

"One of the very first things we did in looking at the IED problem was to recognize that the army is trying to fight an insurgency with a pretty blunt instrument," [Walter Perry, a senior researcher at the Rand think tank in Arlington, VA, and a Vietnam-era army signals officer] says. "This is about 90 percent police work and 10 percent violent conflicts. Patrols--the cop on a beat--fill out a report saying, Here is what I did. You get situational awareness."
So to answer your question, they need more technology because 90% of the time, they're operating outside their core competency.

All Baghdad needed from the outset was police on the ground to prevent it from degenerating into the Sunni/Shi'a/USA clusterfuck it is today. In 2003, US troops were not prepared for that job, nor were their bosses prepared for that eventuality, even though many people had accurately predicted what was going to happen.

It's nice to see the boys at the RAND Institute saying that dealing with domestic terrorism is essentially a police problem. Hopefully we'll keep that in mind if anything ever happens again in the USA.

Re:You'd think... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558298)

"All Baghdad needed from the outset was police on the ground to prevent it from degenerating into the Sunni/Shi'a/USA clusterfuck it is today. In 2003, US troops were not prepared for that job, nor were their bosses prepared for that eventuality, even though many people had accurately predicted what was going to happen."

It sounds as if you're stating that all Baghdad needed back then was some police.

Which police force would you have put in place back then? Saddam's gang? The Iraqi Army? which one?

Our Army isn't really such a great police force, granted, but in the absence of anything else, it's what we got.

ps- domestic terrorism in the USA is pretty rare. Lately, the biggest terrorism event in the USA, back in 2001, was actually carried out by foreigners, not even US citizens. Foreign terrorism. They managed to actually act here.

Re:You'd think... (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558586)

ps- domestic terrorism in the USA is pretty rare.
This is mostly due to bias. A school shooting in Baghdad would be labeled as a terrorist attack whereas the same type of incident in the US will be labeled as a crime.

Re:You'd think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22559108)

This is mostly due to bias. A school shooting in Baghdad would be labeled as a terrorist attack whereas the same type of incident in the US will be labeled as a crime.

Or better yet, how about the abortion bomber. He was planting double bombs so that he could kill the first responders too. I know if NATO came into America and replace Bush with a president who actually followed his oath to the constitution, very few Americans would accept it peacefully.

Re:You'd think... (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559188)

Either of those would probably have been better than nothing but why would 'nothing' even be an option ? The US Govt knew it was going to invade, it knew it was going to dismantle all the existing civil frameworks so why didn't it plan for an effective replacement ?

Re:You'd think... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559534)

You presume the US military did not plan for an 'effective replacement'.

Something like complaining about why your favorite NFL quarterback didn't throw the pass to the *OPEN* receiver, instead of the guy that was covered. Or your favorite striker not bending the ball around the keeper, but instead drilling into his belly...

In hindsight, much seems flawed. At the moment, either the military chose wrong options in the heat of the moment (example the first, above) or simply did not execute or choose the right plan (example the second, above, not knowing whether it was failure or choice).

You can hold the opinion that the US military was incompetent in either planning or execution in Iraq, and that's your perogative, to have an opinion. I disagree with your assessment. Given the options available at the time, the US military seems to have taken what is arguably an until recently ineffective strategy, which for those who had to make the decisions at the time no doubt seemed the best option, given resources, goals, and constraints of politics and diplomacy.

Probably the variable with the most impact on all of the Iraq operations is the failure of the reconstituted Iraqi government to resolve their religious and political differences and develop consensus. My fear is that we will leave Iraq in three or more pieces. That would be a terrible failure. Second only to unification via genocide, which is still a distinct possibility. But ultimately, the Iraqi people need to have the opportunity to resolve their differences. We cannot.

Re:You'd think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22562862)

You can hold the opinion that the US military was incompetent in either planning or execution in Iraq, and that's your perogative, to have an opinion. I disagree with your assessment.
Lol!
This isn't something that rational people can disagree about.

Do you remember when General Shinseki said they'd need hundreds of thousands of troops, then got publicly flamed for it by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the White House... then Shinseki decided to retire? Come on now. The military's post-battle plan was to be greeted as liberators... words Bush, Cheney, & Rumsfeld started backtracking on almost immediately after invading Iraq.

Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bush, Rice, Cheney, Ramsey etc all heard and dismissed the voices within the military, diplomatic corps & their own administration which were saying "this is a bad idea and even if it was a good idea, you have a bad plan."

It really isn't that hard to educate yourself on the matter. Everything that was said is public. Go seek out some information that conflicts with your world view.

Probably the variable with the most impact on all of the Iraq operations is the failure of the reconstituted Iraqi government to resolve their religious and political differences and develop consensus.
Maybe now that's "the variable with the most impact on all of the Iraq operations." In March of 2003, "the variable with the most impact on all of the Iraq operations" was (A) not enough troops and (B) the utter lack of security on the ground for the citizens of Iraq.

Very smart people said "this is what you need to invade Iraq and here's how you need to do it," and were told to STFU or were actively attacked by the White House. Again, this isn't something that rational people can disagree about. The facts are not with you.

Re:You'd think... (1)

zchang (1068706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558010)

With an attitude like that, I'm surprised that you're even on the internet. Your opinion could just as easily be written on pen and paper and exchanged over drinks at the local pub, but your ability to reach a large audience would be severely limited. Instead, you grace the rest of the world with your presence on Slashdot so that we can revel in your wisdom. Personal remarks aside. This is the entire gist of what makes systems like TIGR so effective and are the best areas to spend tax dollars. Improvements to communication and data tracking serve as the premier method of force multiplication.

In earlier era's, soldiers used runners, horse bound messengers, smoke signals, or carrier pigeons to coordinate unit action. The advent of technologies such as the telegraph and radio allowed over the horizon communication. With networked computer systems, we can not only converse in real time, but historical trends are now available within seconds. I really hope they can make this work.

So what are the costs on the development of TIGR so far? $10M? $20M? That's peanuts compared to the cost associated with attending to injured or killed serviceman, let alone the equipment and hardware that may be destroyed with an IED.

Re:You'd think... (1)

vacaboca (691496) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558178)

What is interesting to me is that this "over-funding" is what resulted in the Internet that you rely upon to complain that these guys are getting some tools to help protect themselves from those that wish them harm (and have a clearly-demonstrated ability to do so, uber or not).

Our nation's military and intelligence community is in an interesting, somewhat unique time in history where it is able to benefit from technology created outside of the defense world rather than the other way around. I'm always grateful (particularly right now) that US defense spending over the past century has fueled global technological advancement and new levels of communication and individual access to information and world-wide communities.

Just my thinking...

Re:You'd think... (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558874)

What is interesting to me is that this "over-funding" is what resulted in the Internet

Yes, because we'd not be able to do scientific research without killing people. That money would all just go to waste.

TWW

Re:You'd think... (3, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558322)

As a defense contractor who's worked on (and taught) Net-centricity and as a former Marine, I can say that what we're facing is an enemy that is capable of much more speed and agility than we are. The whole point of Net-centric warfare is to move away from top-down Cold War era Command and Control to something more along the lines of what these emergent, adaptive, complex terrorist and insurgent networks use. Intead of wasting time and energy trying to adapt to a moving target, so to speak, these kinds of technologies allow tactical commanders to make faster decisions on the battlespace.

Re:You'd think... (1)

s2jcpete (989386) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558540)

This technology is what people in the military call a force multiplier. It allows infantry to operate more efficiently due to increased knowledge of what is going on in the ground in their area of operations. I also would say the cost of something like this is very small in the scheme of things (compared to oh say, life insurance payouts to some grieving family when a squad gets ambushed). I'm former infantry and would have loved something like this.

Re:You'd think... (2, Insightful)

mckinnsb (984522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558808)

I don't think so.

I was opposed to this war from the beginning (my opinion has since become more complex), but I think this technology will help end it.

If you read the article, it alludes to the fact that one of the main reasons we (the United States) are losing against insurgents (and have lost against guerrilla warfare in general), is because the manner in which they act and share information is vastly different from the way the US Army operates.

In the US army, systems like this have already existed, but have mostly "been developed for the upper echelons" (from the article), of the military hierarchy. In addition, soldiers had no real way of supplying information to their officers to be rapidly redistributed to the soldiers.

This is one of the main reasons why we have lost guerrilla wars (outside of a lack of support from the populace) has been that our opponents spread information amongst each other freely and act independently. Some of the sources quoted in this article want the military to re-organize they way they think about fighting a counter-insurgency war, and organize the ground troops more like special forces were organized in Afganistan, ie, giving them more independent authority to make action decisions.

While that might be a drastic step (I'm sure some of you are already fearing soldiers gunning down more Iraqis - and a part of me understands - although to tell you the truth I think most of our soldiers are much more disciplined than that), the truth of the matter is that *this* step *needed to be taken*. For the safety of their lives (and others), soldiers deserve to know who is a threat,who is a friend,what IED's look like in certain areas, where they have been planted before, where insurgents commonly shell troops with mortars, what "cover spots" are frequently used,and videos of past interviews of civilians. This way, friendly Iraqi civilians won't lose their lives, and hopefully our soldiers will be warned as to which "civilians" will take theirs.

Re:You'd think... (2, Insightful)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558986)

...we (the United States) are losing against insurgents (and have lost against guerrilla warfare in general), is because the manner in which they act and share information is vastly different from the way the US Army operates.
And this is supremely ironic when you consider how the US came to be an independent nation. Apparently our military leaders didn't pay much attention in their high school history classes.

Re:You'd think... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567086)

"And this is supremely ironic when you consider how the US came to be an independent nation."

Not really. The decisive Revolutionary War battles were not only conventional, but fought with considerable help from the icky French. :)

Re:You'd think... (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558996)

I was opposed to this war from the beginning (my opinion has since become more complex), but I think this technology will help end it

Military blunders are rarely fixed by military solutions.

TWW

Re:You'd think... (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570626)

Destroying all life on the planet is pretty easy. Finding and capturing one random guy in an alien culture without leading your personnel into a trap and getting them blown up...not so easy.

Internets (3, Insightful)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557834)

This sounds a bit like planning a holiday (vacation) using the internet. I was planning a trip to Portugal last night. I looked up lots of guest houses and hotels, saw their locations on a map, read reviews from other travellers, etc. I could even find the locations of tourist sites, see photos of them from other tourists, and get satellite photos of them from Google. I'm glad the military are catching up.

Re:Internets (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22557886)

I'm glad the military are catching up.
They already have, at least in some parts of the world. I worked on similar software intended for NATO use... 12 years ago. Granted it was a bit less multimedia-y as you might expect, but the intended use was the same.

More then catching up. (1)

NewmanKU (948325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560074)

This is a bit more than catching up. The officers don't have to go to 6 different sites to get this information. It seems like its all presented to them in one application. This ease of access information is probably the most useful part of this program.

oh glee... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558098)

got to love glossy icons and semi-transparent toolbars...

scary thought (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22558126)

From the article:
"It is a bit revolutionary from a military perspective when you think about it, using peer-based information to drive the next move. ... Normally we are used to our higher headquarters telling the patrol leader what he needs to think."

Peer based information eh? Fundamentally an armed mob and the military are relatively similar: both are large groups of people using force (read: weapons; read: guns) to achieve an objective requiring greater force than any individual member is capable of bringing to bear. I thought (and correct me if I'm wrong) that what differentiated the military from a lawless mob was exactly the fact that the military has a well defined command and control structure, rather than each man being influenced by his neighbor's decisions. This seems to me to be moving down the slippery slope. Now let me say that I understand that this system is not meant to replace or diminish current command and control in any way, and that peers withing the ranks assiting each other is not a bad thing. However, what happens when the information given through peer-based channels is different from and outright contradicts the information (and the orders based on that information) coming from command? While this technology has the potential to be excellent for soldiers in the field, it seems to me that cautious adoption should be the order of the day.

Re:scary thought (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558744)

However, what happens when the information given through peer-based channels is different from and outright contradicts the information (and the orders based on that information) coming from command?

The peer based information also goes to the commander. Commands should be adjusted as needed. IIRC, the US military gives patrol commanders a certain level of leeway to best accomplish their missions - so this is just another source of information for use in that leeway.

Re:scary thought (1)

searp (1248692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604908)

You have put your finger on why it is disruptive. C2 pyramids can operate in two ways. Accepted is top-down control, information fed up to enable same. In this sort of fight, far better to have the top of the pyramid act in support, to enable the bottom of the pyramid, which actually has the wherewithal to shape the battle. Much more scary to thing of folks that are completely out of the fight, say in Tampa or similar, trying to run the entire operation. That is accepted theory, and it is stupid. Kills more people and far less effective, because action is based on a distorted perception of the actual conditions. I have been there, and believe me, people in Tampa or Washington don't have a clue.

huh (1)

eleveneleven (979605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558204)

where does the I in TIGR come from?

Re:huh (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559964)

where does the I in TIGR come from?

The first rule of military acronyms is that they must sound warrior-like. Where the letters "come from" is a secondary consideration.

Seen it, been there, done that... (1)

Raphael Emportu (1143977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558232)

Wasn't this called The Google Earth Community in an other life? Or is this one of those great innovative new inventions with compliments of the other Gates?

I guess they played EQ2 with eq2maps (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558316)

It really does look like the military finally went and looked at what is happening in the MMO world. This sounds a lot like what the eq2maps [eq2interface.com] project does, by allowing POIs (Points Of Interest) to be not only updated by users, but added by users.

The sad part is it has taken this long for the military to remember that it's the guys on the ground that are actually seeing what is happening, and can provide a lot of useful information if they are just listened to. Giving them the ability to update databases with what they see should help save lives down the road.

Re:I guess they played EQ2 with eq2maps (3, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558582)

The sad part is it has taken this long for the military to remember that it's the guys on the ground that are actually seeing what is happening, and can provide a lot of useful information if they are just listened to. Giving them the ability to update databases with what they see should help save lives down the road.
Actually, if you've been reading some of the more non-traditional news sources, you'd know this isn't a sudden change in course, but a continuing refinement of stuff they've been working on for years.

Try to track down one of the detailed stories of how they identified where Saddam was hiding. Not a newspaper account, but a detailed story about it. They did not, as you might assume, get a tip that said "Hey, Saddam is here!" (Or rather, they have way too many such tips.) It was actually a clever approach where they graphed his network of associates, figured out where he was most likely to take shelter, applied carefully-placed pressure to narrow down the options (both in the sense of locating him, and in the sense of corralling him), and eventually fingered his location through logic and information gathering.

I think the news reporters don't report this stuff because they don't really understand it. If they did, they'd be much more panicky about the capabilities the military has been developing. Personally, while most people are screaming and worrying about half-imaginary infractions by the Bush administration, I find myself a little concerned not at how bad our military is at putting down insurgencies, but at how good at it they are getting. Not the usual story line, I know, but one better supported by the actual evidence, IMHO.

I had mod points yesterday... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22561736)

... but they expired, someone mod this up!

and of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22558406)

if this got infiltrated the opponent could do all sorts of nasty things

Did anybody read the article and catch... (1)

mckinnsb (984522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22558504)

...the patrol leaders name who was one of the seeds of this project? Damn it! Demote him back to Sergeant now!

Major Michaelis is mistaken (4, Informative)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559504)

Only from the top (Majors and above) does it appear that HQ is telling the patrol leader "what to think." On the ground, the NCOs and junior officers are quite capable of evaluating situations and responding to them as appropriate.

In an ideal military (which as a vet, I realize ours isn't--but closer than you might think) the chain of command sets an objective and then the lowers carry it out as they see fit. Micromanagement (something most line soldiers were apprehensive about with the Land Warrior system, or whatever they're calling it this week) is never a good thing in a fight. You don't want a general, most of whom are at least 50% political animals with their eye always on the "how will this look on my evaluation" factor, telling a private which window to throw a grenade in when clearing a house. The general says "take the city" the colonel says "Company A attack from the north, Company B attack from the west" and the captains tell the NCOs "go get 'em" and leave the minor details up to platoon/squad leaders.

On a similar note, more information (contrary to the commonly-held slashdot idea) isn't always better. Aside from information overload (another Land Warrior worry) there's the fact that details can get lost in an outpouring of video and maps. It's equally effective to talk to the last patrol's leader and get him to tell you "don't go down Saddam Street" or "We've had problems when we go past the former Baath Party HQ." Better in some ways, since an actual person can communicate nuances and answer questions. Also, I think there can be a tendency to put some portion of your attention on mapping the actual space to what you've seen in the dog-and-pony show, which lowers your situational awareness.

I'm not completely discounting TIGR, just saying that whether this TIGR deal is the bee's knees or not... remains to be seen

Bad form to reply to myself, but... (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22559572)

Forgot to mention: if the boots on the ground like this (after sufficient trials) that's a good sign that it's a keeper. I wouldn't trust a major to make that evaluation.

Re:Major Michaelis is mistaken (2, Insightful)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561458)

It's equally effective to talk to the last patrol's leader and get him to tell you "don't go down Saddam Street" or "We've had problems when we go past the former Baath Party HQ." Better in some ways, since an actual person can communicate nuances and answer questions.
I'll second this. A face to face with previous patrol leaders as well as those who overwatch your patrol sector is indispensible information. If you start taking fire, there isn't time to look at your PDA and figure out which way to move, assuming you didn't smash it when you dove for cover. You better already have several possible plans in your head, because no mission profile has ever survived first contact.

Re:Major Michaelis is mistaken (1)

searp (1248692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22605008)

Not as effective. Works for units that work the same AO, doesn't work for logpacs or out of area missions. Doesn't help much when a new unit comes in and has to come up to speed in days (many, many soldiers killed because they haven't had the time to become truly familiar with their AO). Relies on human memory (mine sucks). Not much detail - try describing the hidey-hole at that bend in the unnamed road. TIGR fills a very real gap.

Network Centric Warfare (2, Informative)

antonymous (828776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560256)

If you're interested in the topic, I highly recommend John Robb's Global Guerrillas [typepad.com] blog. He's got a good book out too, but the blog is more up-to-the-minute analysis. It won't come as a surprise to folks on slashdot that the insurgency is heavily reliant on an open-source model (and more specifically, exploiting our inability to change tactics on-the-fly). Good reading.

What is the peer and the tidbit in such a mesh? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560834)

Defining the "peer" in a military scenario is important. The peer and the information they bring to the table are linked together but confidence levels for each piece of data need to be mentioned. How to justify an assigned confidence level ...good luck with that guys. I would imagine it could work if you make allocations for the different types of peers and place different confidence levels based on Military Rank. Someone without a rank evidently is flagged with lower confidence level. The actual data could be scored with a peerPerceivedConfidence, peerPerceivedScenarioEventImportance, peerPerceivedPotentialScenarioEvent. A pseudo data structure: @tidbit[] = { "location", "useful information about a location", "who gave it", "assigned confidence level in person who gave it", "perceived confidence/accuracy of this tidbit", [arrayhere]{"perceived potential event importance score", "important for which potential events"} } One more thing: I have faith in the military powers that be, they have good heads on their shoulders. I am certain we have people that have thought up all of this generations ago before computers came out and that the NATO governments in particular have been using this kind of software long before you guys mentioned it here on slashdot. I am also certain I'm not the only one that believes the higher ranks be given higher confidence levels. Cheers :)

Add tiny pictures and you've got a security system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22560844)

Add a system where you can upload an image to the gps tagged network by pushing one button on your cellphone like tinypictures.com and you have yourself a security system.

Pakistan would be the superpower (2, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22560866)

Once all other nations adopt this super duper network centric warfare, Pakistan's ISP will quietly change the routing tables of the internet and completely flummox these developed warriors. Only the soldiers on donkeys, which Pakistan has abundantly, will be able to fight. That is the secret plan of Pakistan to become the military super power.

Don't tell em (1)

PenGun (794213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561306)

They bought the troops a subscription to google earth plus it seems. Pretty well the same capability I have with my laptop and a GPS unit. I use mine for prospecting in the BC bush. Useful but not a lot of icons to click on out there. In closer however it's a bedlam of hot spots, merchants and if you want 3D buildings.

Interesting Application (1)

ndrw (205863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22561568)

The military is obviously doing some very interesting development with this type of application. I'm curious if they've gone the next step and actually run 1st person shooter style virtual combat missions in these data spaces. Seems like you could get a really good idea of where the key strategic points were just by playing a few rounds of counter-strike on a map with this much data...
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