DIGITAL ENGINEERING - Expeditionary Virtualized Training Unit for Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS)

Navy SBIR 23.1 - Topic N231-044
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Pre-release 1/11/23   Opens to accept proposals 2/08/23   Closes 3/08/23 12:00pm ET

N231-044 TITLE: DIGITAL ENGINEERING - Expeditionary Virtualized Training Unit for Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS)

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

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 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: Modernize Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS) training by leveraging advances in virtualization and gamification.. Develop portable expeditionary unit that can deliver this training throughout the Fleet.

DESCRIPTION: The AN/UYQ-100 USW-DSS provides warfighters aboard carrier strike group (CSG) platforms (CVN, CGs/DDGs), Surveillance Towed Array Systems (SURTASS) ships, embarked Destroyer Squadron Staffs, and key shore sites to collaboratively plan and execute Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) missions. USW-DSS contains applications for (1) environmental analysis, (2) collaborative search planning, (3) force management, (4) a shared tactical picture composed of networked tactical decision aids, sensor tracks, and sensor metrics, (5) search execution measures of effectiveness, (6) graphics storage and recall, and (7) ASW briefing support.

The Navy seeks to (1) improve training for USW-DSS, (2) virtualize USW-DSS to a) reduce operating costs, b) minimize downtime, c) increase infrastructure agility, and d) enable faster provisioning of updates across fielded USW-DSS instantiations, and (3) develop an expeditionary unit that can host both the virtualized core USW-DSS program and integrated USW-DSS training.

Despite the known power of integrated training, it has been prohibitive to develop integrated training that can span the diversity of user experiences, from the global understanding required by the Commander Task Force (CTF) at Theater USW Operations Centers (TUSWOC) to the meteorological focus of Naval Oceanographic Processing Facilities (NOPF) to the ship-focused usage aboard individual combatants. But advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) are poised to both enable individualized integrated training and power faster decisions for improved warfighting outcomes. The power of AI/ML to achieve these outcomes are being piloted in medicine to increase the speed and accuracy of the estimated $10 trillion spent globally on health care [Ref 2]. In 2019 the Harvard Business Review estimated AI would add $13 trillion to the global economy over the next decade, guiding decisions on everything from crop harvests to bank loans [Ref 1]. Combining the power of AI/ML approaches being piloted in medical education with the power of AI/ML to guide decisions is anticipated to improve USW-DSS warfighting outcomes both by improving mission effectiveness at the theater level and reducing the time to achieve mission goals. Improvements of at least 10% in both time to success and mission effectiveness are desired.

A key enabler of AI/ML is agile development and software virtualization, which enables processes to more efficiently access available processing power and data storage. The current USW-DSS software is developed using Development Security Operations (DevSecOps) pipelines. USW-DSS is designed to run on the Navy�s Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services (CANES). However, there are numerous versions of CANES, inhibiting provisioning updates across the Fleet. Virtualizing USW-DSS would allow infrastructure to be seen as simply a service, or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), enabling provisioning updates and associated training across a greater percentage of the USW-DSS installations across the Fleet. The Navy seeks a solution that will enable USW-DSS to become virtualized.

Finally, there exist instances where USW-DSS may be desired but there is not a CANES infrastructure to host USW-DSS. The solution should enable an expeditionary processing infrastructure sufficient to host the virtualized USW-DSS and associated training. The infrastructure must achieve two outcomes. First, the envisioned expeditionary infrastructure will allow deployment of USW-DSS to platforms or shore sites that do not possess the CANES infrastructure on which USW-DSS currently runs. Second, it will afford older platforms actively tasked with ASW missions the opportunity to receive the most capable USW-DSS builds available even if the fielded version of CANES available is unable to accept the latest USW-DSS updates. The integrated training capability will meet a 10% increase in mission effectiveness and 10% reduction in time to mission success across a range of simulated missions across varying environments and stages of mission complexity. The solution may choose to focus on the element(s) of integrated training and AI/ML decision support that provide the greatest performance improvements relative to mission effectiveness and reduction in time to mission success. The minimum viable product (MVP) required to achieve successful transition is a combination of a powerful integrated training capability together with a credible virtualization design and expeditionary infrastructure architecture.

Work produced in Phase II may become 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 Security Agency (DCSA), formerly the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DCSA and NAVSEA 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 advance phases of this contract.

All DoD Information Systems (IS) and Platform Information Technology (PIT) systems will be categorized in accordance with Committee on National Security Systems Instruction (CNSSI) 1253, implemented using a corresponding set of security controls from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-53, and evaluated using assessment procedures from NIST SP 800-53A and DoD-specific (KS) (Information Assurance Technical Authority (IATA) Standards and Tools).

The Contractor shall support the Assessment and Authorization (A&A) of the system. The Contractor shall support the government�s efforts to obtain an Authorization to Operate (ATO) in accordance with DoDI 8500.01 Cybersecurity, DoDI 8510.01 Risk Management Framework (RMF) for DoD Information Technology (IT), NIST SP 800-53, NAVSEA 9400.2-M (October 2016), and business rules set by the NAVSEA Echelon II and the Functional Authorizing Official (FAO). The Contractor shall design the tool to their proposed RMF Security Controls necessary to obtain A&A. The Contractor shall provide technical support and design material for RMF assessment and authorization in accordance with NAVSEA Instruction 9400.2-M by delivering OQE and documentation to support assessment and authorization package development.

Contractor Information Systems Security Requirements. The Contractor shall implement the security requirements set forth in the clause entitled DFARS 252.204-7012, "Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting," and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for complex decision support system training within a virtualized software baseline on portable processing hardware that could be carried by two people. Demonstrate the concept meets the parameters in the Description. Feasibility will be shown through modeling and analysis on an unclassified system. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype USW-DSS system with AI/ML-powered integrated training based on the results of Phase I. The prototype integrated training infrastructure will demonstrate it meets the parameters in the Description. The Phase II prototype will be hosted in a secure cloud environment to be provided by the Navy and evaluated by Government subject matter experts to validate the improvements achieved by the prototype.

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: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use. The final product will be an integrated training capability that leverages AI/ML to improve mission effectiveness that enables virtualization of USW-DSS and the integrated training capability within an expeditionary computational infrastructure. Of the total envisioned Phase III capability, the MVP required to achieve successful transition is a combination of a powerful integrated training capability together with a credible virtualization design and expeditionary infrastructure architecture. Work with the USW-DSS prime integrators to develop and produce the expeditionary units and perform any USW-DSS installations aboard CANES to which the company�s technology applies, both at shore sites and aboard combatants tasked with ASW mission execution.

Potential for dual use for monetary decision support, which is a $13 trillion market opportunity. The medical training use of the integrated training technology developed under this SBIR topic would be of particular benefit to global health providers, where provision of virtualized and expeditionary units could disproportionately benefit communities where traditional healthcare infrastructure is either damaged or wholly lacking.


1.       Fountaine, Tim, et al. "Building the AI-Powered Organization: Technology isn�t the biggest challenge. Culture is." Harvard Business Review, August 2019.

2.       Paranjape K, Schinkel M, Nannan Panday R, Car J, Nanayakkara P. "Introducing Artificial Intelligence Training in Medical Education," JMIR Med Educ 2019;5(2):e16048.

3.       Navy Fact File, "AN/UYQ-100 Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS)." U.S. Navy Office of Information, 20 Sep 2021.


KEYWORDS: Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services (CANES); Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); integrated training with a virtualized design; Artificial Intelligence (AI) in training; Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS); expeditionary unit


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

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