Human-led Machine Learning & Advanced Threats: Case Method Inquiry and Visual Analytics Applied to COVID-19

In a pervasive and complex information environment, analytics are vital to understanding advanced threats. As we rely more on machine-learnt results, asking the right questions and visualizing deep analysis are key to grasping and solving problems. These skills are also vital 21st century leadership tools that can forge a common focus among otherwise stove-piped specialists.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an urgent threat that requires both scientific understanding and decisive leadership. The cause of the disease is SARS CoV-2, a mutating virus that thrives in conditions difficult to control at scale. To counter this threat, this article demonstrates in detail the potential of human-led case method and machine-provided visual analytics.

Read more

Terahertz Technologies and Future Security Environments

The terahertz (THz) frequency band is a fascinating and relatively unexplored part of the larger electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). THz can enable users to ‘see-through’ materials and structures and is now widely used in laboratory quality control testing, for non-destructive testing and transmitting information between servers in close proximity. However, because the transmitted signal degrades rapidly in the atmosphere, its application is limited to controlled settings. Soon, technological leaps will enable development of power sources that will prevent THz degradation in the atmosphere and at distance. When this happens, THz will be an exquisite tool to help the United States find and target items of interest. It will allow intelligence professionals and field operators to quickly discriminate targets based on composition, counter adversary concealment or deception techniques, and identify items of interest based on chemical resonance that is visible only through the use of THz imaging

Read more

Artificial Intelligence in the Operational Information Environment: The Need for Proactive Doctrine

Joint operations doctrine omits the agency of artificial intelligence (AI) in the operational information environment, which is a problem. This commentary discusses why, and recommends effective changes. Key points are as follows. AI is becoming an autonomous cause of unanticipated effects. Humans are not the most effectively intelligent actors in all environments, yet our doctrine draws lessons from the past rather than anticipating emergent futures. Machines currently excel in experience-based learning and can discover relationships in data that we cannot discern. Humans can intuit, deceive, somewhat control, and manufacture and destroy machines. In time, AI will be able to perform those cognitive, informational and physical functions as well. As out-thought becomes out-fought, we need proactive doctrine now.

Read more

Winning Wars of Cognition: Posturing the Air Force for the Tactical Information Fight

With the return of Great Power Competition, the United States (US), Russia, and China are engaged in a persistent fight within the information environment. Each branch of military service within the US Department of Defense are developing concepts to fight within a contested information environment. Recently, the US Air Force established a new warfighting organization focused on Information Warfare (IW) based on a narrow definition that integrates Cyberspace, Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS), Information, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance operations. Within this article, the author sets out on four objectives: first, to differentiate Information Warfare (IW) at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war; second, to describe offensive and defensive IW considerations for the US Air Force; third, to describe the relationship between tactical IW and support to the Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC); and fourth, to provide initial recommendations regarding the USAF’s re-organization efforts.

Read more

OODA Point: The Requirement for an Airman’s Approach to Operational Design (Part II)

The ability to make and execute timely and effective decisions has been the foundation of military success for millennia. In the next decade, however, Combined Force Air Component Commanders (CFACC) planning, decision, and execution (PDE) cycles will be confronted by unprecedented challenges emerging in the constantly evolving digital ecosystem. The era of unrivaled access to the electromagnetic spectrum and dominance in multiple domains is rapidly coming to a close for the US airpower. As more and more state and non-state actors gain access to advanced technology, the CFACC’s PDE cycles will transition from an observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop to an OODA point. This phenomenon will also have a significant influence on the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) measures necessary to shape and execute preplanned and emergent decisions in contested operational environments. One way of mitigating these nascent vulnerabilities is to develop a deliberate framework of operational design focused on airpower to provide a proactive form of vision for future CFACCs.

Read more

Publicly Available Information: The Secret to Unclassified Data, Part II

This intends to increase awareness of what PAI is, and what it is not, within the Air Force ISR Enterprise and determine its value to enhance our ability to solve problems.

Read more

Publicly Available Information: The Secret to Unclassified Data, Part I

This article focuses on awareness of what PAI is, and what it is not, within the Air Force ISR Enterprise and determine its value to solve our most challenging problems.

Read more

Modernizing C2 of ISR – Part 2: Breaking ISR’s Industrial Age Chains

Theater-level ISR C2 must be modernized to ensure the Joint Force is prepared for a complex future and can achieve multi-domain success.

Read more

Multidomain Observing and Orienting: ISR to Meet the Emerging Battlespace: Part II

  Reading Time: 15 Minutes By: Sean A. Atkins Editor’s Note: Today we present part two of a two-part series.

Read more

Multidomain Observing and Orienting: ISR to Meet the Emerging Battlespace

Multidomain Observing and Orienting: ISR to Meet the Emerging Battlespace

Read more

Leading Distributed Teams: Theory and Practice (Part 2)

Leaders must purposefully plan how they will engage and conduct business within their own distributed organization by defining each team’s

Read more

Leading Distributed Teams: Theory and Practice (Part 1)

Air Force ISR is regularly executed by geographically-separated teams. New leadership models are required to optimize team performance.

Read more

Lead, Think, and Communicate: Embracing Air Force Intelligence Officer Agility and Versatility

Air Force ISR is comprised of military professionals. We must train to think, lead, and communicate to be effective in future wars.

Read more

Building Critical Thinkers To Win Tomorrow’s Wars: Changing The Training Paradigm

Air Force ISR is now a globally integrated enterprise. We must continue to focus on building critical thinkers to take us into the future.

Read more

Lt Gen Deptula Remarks – OTH Speaker Series – Aerospace Power in an Age of Uncertainty

Retired Lt Gen David Deptula shares his thoughts on the future of warfare-in particular, aerospace power in an age of uncertainty.

Read more

***OTH Anniversary*** Clarity from Complexity: An Interview with Dr. Jon Kimminau on Big Data and Activity Based Intelligence

Sean Atkins, OTH Editor-in-Chief, brings you his 2017 Editor’s Choice article: our interview with Dr. Jon Kimminau on how Big Data and Machine Learning are shaping the future of intelligence and decision making in warfare.

Read more

Interview with Lt Gen (Ret.) David Deptula: Part 3

In an interview, Lt Gen David Deptula (Ret) shares his perspective on current and future challenges for USAF leaders and joint operations.

Read more

Interview with Lt Gen (Ret.) David Deptula: Part 2

Lt Gen David Deptula (Ret) shares his perspective on the Combat Cloud, ISR, and the need for airmen to serve as joint warfighting commanders.

Read more

OTH Interview of Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret): Part 1

In an interview, Lt Gen David Deptula (Ret) shares his perspective on current and future challenges for the USAF leaders and the Joint Force.

Read more

Drop Zone: OTH Interview with Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)

In a candid interview, retired Lt Gen David Deptula, shares his perspective on current and future challenges for USAF leaders and the Joint Force.

Read more

Drop Zone: Modernizing ISR C2

The forthcoming series of articles explores a future ISR C2 realm centered on multi-domain speed, agility, and flexibility enabled by a multi-domain maneuver concept of operations.

Read more

Combat Cloud: A High Tech Solution to a Low Tech Problem

Building a common operating picture from data stored in a cloud environment and creating the illusion of the availability of perfect information creates three large risks: joint forces become more vulnerable to Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) attacks and reflexive control strategies; command, control, and execution become increasingly centralized; and an information-denied environment causes decision paralysis.
By Katrina Schweiker

Read more

DROP ZONE: Decision Making

Innovation continues the quest to provide more perfect information and decrease the risk of making an incorrect decision.

Read more

Clarity from Complexity Part III: An Interview with Dr. Jon Kimminau on Big Data and Activity Based Intelligence

Part 3 of a 3 part interview with Dr. Jon Kimminau on Big Data and Activity Based Intelligence.

Read more

Clarity from Complexity Part II: An Interview with Dr. Jon Kimminau on Big Data and Activity Based Intelligence

Part 2 of a 3 part series discussing concepts such as big data analysis and activity based intelligence with Dr. Jon Kimminau.

Read more

Finding Clarity in Complexity: Interview with Dr. Jon Kimminau (Part 1)

Part 1 of a 3 part series discussing concepts such as big data analysis and activity based intelligence with Dr. Jon Kimminau.

Read more