New DARPA program targets U.S. operational advantage

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency revealed a new program aimed at maintaining U.S. military edge in future combat environments. The new effort, called the Prototype Resilient Operations Testbed for Expeditionary Urban Scenarios, was outlined in a recent broad agency announcement.

As the operational advantage the U.S. has enjoyed shrinks, DARPA is launching the new program to help develop advanced battle management/command and control, or BMC2, tools with a comprehensive, interactive virtual environment where concepts can be tested, DARPA reports.

The program has two objectives.

The first objective is to create a platform that can be used on personal devices, allowing adaptive composition of battlefield elements across multiple command levels while the fight is evolving. John Paschkewitz, DARPA program director, explained in the report that U.S. forces must possess "agile, flexible task organizations" in order to "create surprise and exploit advantages" that will help them maintain an eroding "distinct advantage in urban coastal combat scenarios." The program, Paschkewitz continued, will "aim to amplify the initiative and decision-making capabilities of ... expeditionary landing teams ... by giving them new tools to compose tailored force packages not just before the mission, but during the mission as it unfolds."

Secondly, PROTEUS looks to develop a new interactive, virtual test bed that will "enable Marines to adapt their systems and tactics faster than the adversary," Paschkewitz said in the report. This kind of tool will be capable of showing all assets — regardless of their domains — in the area and determine the best combinations for their use, "whether that means, for example, delivering combined arms fire support for a Marine in need or providing transportation for that Marine to escape."

The BMC2 tool will provide a real-time awareness of available assets to the tactical operator, as well as those in higher command echelons, enabling the whole team to be one step ahead."

The BAA was posted June 15 detailing description of the program, and a Proposers Day is scheduled for June 30 in Arlington, Virginia. For those looking to join on Proposers Day, registration is limited for the in-person event and is due by June 23. For anyone unable to attend in person, a webcast will be available for remote participation, but also requires registration. For more on Proposers Day, go here.

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