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AY17-18 Student Research

  • BEYOND THE BARRIER: CYBER DEFENSE FOR C2ISR WEAPON SYSTEMS

    BEYOND THE BARRIER: CYBER DEFENSE FOR C2ISR WEAPON SYSTEMS

    Andrew S. Bailey, Major, USAF
    Cyber protection of weapon systems is necessary in order to avoid introducing unnecessary risk to multidomain command and control, a capability that will be critical in a battle against a peer competitor. Many systems are interconnected and a risk to one system is a risk to all systems participating in the network. The interconnectedness of weapon systems rely on cyberspace and this domain is capable of affecting the physical domain. The Air Force should use a three-pronged cyber defense initiative consisting of aircrew and intelligence operator training, improved Mission Defense Team (MDT) integration, and system hardware and/or software upgrades to ensure cyber domain protection for C2ISR assets. Doing so will help increase the resilience of our weapon systems and allow them to be safely interconnected to achieve the benefits of multidomain command and control.
  • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND PED: PREPARING HUMANS FOR HUMAN-MACHINE TEAMING

    ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND PED: PREPARING HUMANS FOR HUMAN-MACHINE TEAMING

    Ricardo D. Colón, Major, USAF
    The impending wave of artificial intelligence (AI) will soon permeate every aspect of modern warfare, and its impact will be particularly sweeping in the field of intelligence. With regard to processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED) of intelligence data, the central claim is that these technologies will take over routine, codifiable tasks that currently dominate the majority of an intelligence analyst’s time. As AI assumes these responsibilities, the analyst gains time to focus on uniquely human aptitudes requiring cognition and interdisciplinary problem solving. Preparing human analysts for human-machine teaming demands a fundamental re-evaluation of how these analysts are educated and trained, shifting the prevailing paradigm from “what to think” to “how to think.” Moreover, it requires the deliberate dismantling of the historically rigid governing structures of the DCGS, as well as purposeful movement toward a comprehensive culture change that inculcates an “analyst first” mindset within every intelligence Airman. 
  • BRIDGING THE GAP: HOW AN AIRBORNE MOBILE MESH NETWORK CAN OVERCOME SPACE VULNERABILITIES IN TOMORROW’S FIGHT

    BRIDGING THE GAP: HOW AN AIRBORNE MOBILE MESH NETWORK CAN OVERCOME SPACE VULNERABILITIES IN TOMORROW’S FIGHT

    Travis T. Patterson, Major, USAF
    The US Air Force’s heavy reliance on space capabilities makes it vulnerable to potentially crippling asymmetric multi-domain attacks in the near future. While Air Force leaders have identified the importance of maintaining dominance in the space domain, their goal of attaining resilient and survivable systems in the future is not immediately attainable. Peer competitors and potential adversaries already possess several operational and developmental capabilities, which place critical US space assets on the losing side of a cost-exchange battle. An option to mitigate many of these risks exists in an airborne mobile-mesh network hosted initially by the Air Force’s high-altitude ISR platforms.
  • LEADING DISTRIBUTED TEAMS: THEORY AND PRACTICE

    LEADING DISTRIBUTED TEAMS: THEORY AND PRACTICE

    Christopher L. Workinger, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
    Distributed teams are a foundational element for today’s Air Force Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, and global operations in support of combatant commands and coalition commanders are executed regularly by geographically separated teams. In the 25th Air Force more than 29,000 total force Airmen serve at 75 locations around the globe executing ISR missions for the joint force. Lt Gen David Deptula, former Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR, described this environment as a “rapidly evolving paradigm, called distributed ISR operations, links platforms and sensors, forces forward, and human ISR warfighting experience around the globe in ways that make networked combat operations routine.” Leading in a globally distributed teams environment can prove extremely challenging for myriad reasons and this environment – geographically separated and highly interdependent teams – calls for leadership theory and practice that match this paradigm.

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