Banshee – Model Fragmentation of Violent Extremist Groups
Terrorist groups, insurgencies, and other actors in hybrid warfare tend to utilize social media for operations, recruitment, propaganda, and communication. Additionally, social media allows for visualization of the social networks that define both the environment in which individuals operate and their conceptual identity. By effectively modeling social networks, we can predict where the natural fragmentation points occur in an adversaries’ network. From that, we can analyze the motivations of key network nodes, and discern the precise messaging to cause the desired fragmentation within the network.
This type of psychological operation would also enable us to determine whether specific messages or conversations are central or peripheral to the adversary’s narrative.
Quantifying Cyber Risk
Rapid advances in electronic inter-connectedness have exponentially increased theArmy’s reliance on cyber communications to maintain battlefield superiority. Potent cyber weapons that were only recently the sole purview of sophisticated nations are now readily available to non-state actors, yet the U.S. Army planners and leaders does not have a method of quantifying or depicting that threat.
This method would provide the planners with a three-dimensional tool to assess risk by including cyber factors such as availability of internet in given location, ability to leverage social media for information operations, ability for the enemy to communicate negative information against friendly forces, presence of friendly, neutral and unfriendly media outlets, etc. This knowledge would assist Commanders with decisions in scope of cyber and EW effects relative to military operations.
Alexa on the Battlefield
In battle, warfighters must remain focused on the essential functions of combat: shooting, moving, and communicating. During combat, warfighters become task saturated, such that it becomes impossible to accomplish these tasks simultaneously. It would be valuable to reduce the complexity of communication tasks so that warfighters can focus on shooting and moving—all while maintaining intuitive communication. Within communication, there are high-priority tasks that must be accomplished seamlessly, such as medevac requests.
A battlefield solution to reduce the task load associated with traditional communications (keyboard input, touchscreens, etc.) while driving essential information (such as a nine-line medevac request) would enable warfighters to maintain focus during the most critical battlefield situations. It would also be beneficial to achieve this with reduced data rates and bandwidth, so that communication channels are resilient during the most tactically-critical events. Any such solutions must be able to function in a closed network, without internet access.
Sustainable Cyber Detection, Defeat, and Pursuit
The U.S. Army has supported DARPA’s Plan X program for several years. Plan X aims to give the Army’s Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) forces a technological advantage by automating typical mission steps so that Army soldiers can operate faster and more effectively, while enabling the Army to build a larger, more capable cyber force. Plan X is set to transition to the Army in Fall 2017 as the foundation “Mission Planning” platform, so their goal is to integrate other initiatives and technology into Plan X.
From a capabilities standpoint, Plan X comprises a suite of threat detection, analysis, and defense tools currently under development by Army Cyber Command. Its goals are to protect existing networks from attack while ensuring that evolving threats do not hinder operations on networks as varied as everyday email and command-and-control. As the Army starts using Plan X more broadly, defenders will quickly notice that unauthorized binaries are being captured. We envision being able to quarantine, send alerts, and exploit flaws.
Extracting Meaning to Prevent Terrorist Attacks
The singular focus of the Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (CJIATF), a multinational coalition located in Amman, Jordan, is the rapid distribution of information for the purposes of degrading terrorists’ ability to inspire, facilitate, and direct attacks throughout the world. To accomplish this task, CJIATF collects and analyzes large amounts of publicly available information (PAI) from multiple disparate data sources, including social media, academia, commercial sector, and news/blogs. Due to the multiplicity of sources, the data is in multiple unstructured formats, stored in different databases, and is analyzed manually in a very labor intensive process resulting in only limited understanding of the problem. CJIATF cannot scale this process at a pace that keeps up with the amount of unstructured and unorganized data flowing into the organization to be analyzed and disseminated to more than a dozen partner nations, domestic and international military and law enforcement agencies.
Provide a way to give Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force analysts focus and scale the synthesis of large amount of unstructured publicly available data to provide court-admissible options for the law enforcement of partner nations.