Collaborative Workspace for Next-Generation Navy Mission Planning System

Navy SBIR 21.1 - Topic N211-023
NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command - Ms. Donna Attick - navairsbir@navy.mil
Opens: January 14, 2021 - Closes: February 18, 2021 (12:00pm EDT)

N211-023 TITLE: Collaborative Workspace for Next-Generation Navy Mission Planning System

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements; Machine Learning/AI

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a collaborative workspace to integrate the disparate locations where mission planning occurs, and to facilitate the mission planning process within the ready room while maintaining operational security.

DESCRIPTION: In order to greatly improve capability in mission planning, the Next-Generation Navy Mission Planning System (NGNMPS) is tasked to facilitate collaborative mission planning across ready rooms and planning cells both in close proximity and, when applicable, across ready rooms and planning cells that are distant from one another. Unfortunately, the current mission planning process utilizes a single laptop computer that will not suffice for the collaborative mission planning vision. With new technological tools such as tablets, smart boards, and digital touch screen tables, it is necessary to leverage these capabilities to improve the mission planning process. Technical approaches should identify potential solutions to achieve the integration and transfer of unclassified and classified (i.e., Secret) mission planning data. This effort will require a highly innovative approach to develop a solution that is sufficiently secure to meet National Security Agency (NSA) requirements for highly classified communications. Various levels of Emissions Control (EMCON) should be considered in the solution. Evaluations will be based on the ability for a solution to provide connectivity across various hardware (e.g., laptops, tablets, smart boards) from disparate shipboard locations (or even land-to-ship communications, if possible) while maintaining NSA requirements for secure communications in support of air operations mission planning.

Current mission planning processes include calculating or planning data in one location, and then transmitting the information, whether by phone or by hand, to the mission planning lead where it is hand-entered into the current mission planning system. This relay of information can occur over and over again, leading to human errors in communication and increased opportunities for typographical error. The first goal of this project is to integrate the disparate locations where mission planning occurs. This solution will require an innovative solution to move data from the location where it is entered and transmit the data to all mission planning components while maintaining operational security.

A secondary goal of this project is to facilitate the mission planning process within the ready room. The current use of obsolete technology for mission planning, mission briefing, and mission rehearsal are time-intensive, redundant, and prone to human error. Utilizing current state-of-the-art technologies for mission planning will greatly improve the mission planning process. . Some of the tools used require time-intensive processes like formatting slides, editing screenshots, and other redundant actions that could be eliminated with improved mission planning and briefing hardware. This second goal should leverage current state-of-the-art technologies including, but not limited to, tablets, smart boards, augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) devices, and digital touch screen tables. Connectivity between these devices should consider security and space available on shipboard operations. Finally, working closely with the Strike Planning and Execution Systems Program Management Office (PMA-281), Naval Information Warfare Center – Pacific (NIWCPAC), and the NGNMPS development team, the performers on this project should understand and implement the software and user-experience considerations provided by NGNMPS program management.

To achieve these goals, performers should consider innovative solutions including data fusion or other data consolidation techniques to reduce large amounts of spreadsheet data into smaller, more easily understood formats for briefing. Cognitive psychology, human perception, user interface, and human information processing should be considered when proposing a solution to this topic.

Work produced in Phase II may be classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly known as Defense Security Service (DSS). Since this project will ultimately integrated into the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES), the selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and NAVAIR in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Assess briefing spaces, shipboard and otherwise, to identify the current state of the mission planning environment and mission planning processes. Consider communication with mission planners to determine which technological tools would be most utilized in a mission planning environment should also be considered. During Phase I Option, if exercised, perform user interviews that the Government will facilitate and support. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop a hardware solution prototype to resolve security considerations and further develop the data reduction solution. Conduct continuous user evaluations facilitated and supported by the Government. Compile user feedback. Further refine the solution regularly. Perform software integration (React | Redux) and testing with NGNMPS. Continuous user evaluations and feedback will be conducted throughout Phase II. Government will facilitate and support user evaluations for performers. Final delivery should include a collaborative workspace that can provide efficient data management (i.e., multiple locations of data entry transmit to one central mission planning hub) and visualization for mission planning using the NGNMPS. Participate in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) process for NGNMPS throughout this phase.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Integrate the software tool into NGNMPS. Conduct security validation and final user evaluations.

The ability to efficiently plan a mission is applicable to other efforts such as fighting wildfires or medical system coordination during a global pandemic. Multiple firefighting agencies must coordinate personnel, assets, and map data during crisis situations. For medical system coordination, similar information must be coordinated within and across hospitals, insurance agencies, and Government. Data visualization that facilitates quick information processing from users will facilitate decision making and quick deployment of solutions. This rapid information presentation and processing capability can improve decision making timeliness across sectors such as sports, medicine, and emergency response.

REFERENCES:

  1. Forlines, C.; Wigdor, D.; Shen, C. and Balakrishnan, R. "Direct-touch vs. mouse input for tabletop displays." Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 2007, pp. 647-656. https://www.merl.com/publications/docs/TR2007-053.pdf
  2. Henderson, J.M. "Human gaze control during real-world scene perception." Trends in cognitive sciences, 7(11), 2003, pp. 498-504. http://jhenderson.org/vclab/PDF_Pubs/Henderson_TICS_2003.pdf
  3. Romero, D.; Bernus, P.; Noran, O.; Stahre, J. and Fast-Berglund, A. "The operator 4.0: human cyber-physical systems & adaptive automation towards human-automation symbiosis work systems." IFIP international conference on advances in production management systems, September 016, pp. 677-686. https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01615707/document
  4. Neisser, U. "Cognitive Psychology: Classic Edition." Psychology Press, 2014. https://www.biblio.com/book/cognitive-psychology-psychology-press-routledge-classic/d/1332828530?
  5. Seyed, T.; Burns, C.; Costa Sousa, M. and Maurer, F. "From small screens to big displays: understanding interaction in multi-display environments." Proceedings of the companion publication of the 2013 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces Companion, March 2013, pp. 33-36. http://aseold.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/uploads/Publications/2013/p33-seyed.pdf

KEYWORDS: Mission planning; data management; cybersecurity; automation; networking; Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services; CANES

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