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MIO Workshop defines 2012 Experiment Goals

Article by Maggie Spivey

The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for Network Innovation and Experimentation (CENETIX) held the 2012 Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) planning workshop on campus from February 7-8.  

According to the CENETIX website, the Center was founded in 2004 and serves as a research venue for exploring frontiers of self-organizing tactical networking and collaboration.  It provides students and faculty with opportunities for interdisciplinary study of agile, adaptive wireless networks, network-controlled unmanned vehicles, sensors, intelligent agents, and situational awareness platforms.

CENETIX also integrates and manages the unique, student-operated NPS-U.S. Special Operations Command Tactical Network Topology (TNT) and MIO test bed.  The plug-and-play test bed includes fixed, rapidly deployable, and mobile network operations centers that stretch across the U.S. and to overseas partner sites in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, and Singapore.

Additionally, CENETIX supports several U.S. field experimentation campaigns, including the TNT program, run in cooperation with U.S. Special Operations Command, and the MIO experimentation series started in 2007 in collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  As part of that series, the recent MIO planning workshop focused on structuring the scenario, major tests, team composition, and test bed configuration for the 2012 experiment, a global scenario taking place throughout Europe and the U.S. in June.

Led by CENETIX Director, Dr. Alex Bordetsky, Associate Professor with the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, over 20 participants gathered on campus and via teleconference for the 2-day workshop to define the 2012 experiment tasks.  These included to integrate with Special Operations Forces (SOF) community tasks of biometrics identification and detection site exploitation; explore innovative solutions for radiologic and nuclear detector networking in countering small craft threats; collaborate multiple country SOF and boarding teams; integrate command and control elements; and conduct synchronous collaboration with subject matter experts at reach back locations.

The planning workshop also provided participants the opportunity to view a demonstration of MIO activities in the CENETIX lab, followed by a trip to San Francisco Bay where the group was able to observe these different MIO actions simulated on the water.

This planning workshop contributed to the greater MIO experimentation series, which is successfully bringing together participants from across California, the U.S., and around the world in academia, the military, private industry, government, and non-governmental organizations and serving as an example of how partnerships can contribute to greater outcomes than what can be achieved alone.  As the designated U.S. Partnership for Peace Training and Education Center (USPTC), NPS conducts a variety of shaping activities, such as this MIO series, that contribute to conflict prevention in the U.S. and around the globe.

The 2010-2011 MIO experiments produced a variety of critical findings that have helped set the tone for the 2012 experiment, including integrated radiologic and nuclear detection with instantaneous expert reach back; joint tracking and multinational collaboration from NATO crews on target search, following, and interdiction; and innovative networking of search swimmers and unmanned aerial vehicle-based detection techniques.  

Further, these previous experiments provided a better understanding of how to integrate boarding team sensor operators with synchronous collaboration access to their reach back subject matter expert (SME) supporting agencies, and they also highlighted the phenomenon of cyber distortion—the ability of remote technical SMEs to accurately perceive, understand and support a Boarding Team during on-the-move detection operations, especially when the SMEs suffer imperfect communications or delayed situational awareness.

“The 2012 experiment,” said Dr. Bordetsky, “is the next step in the continuing collective experimental studies of how emerging networks, advanced sensors, and collaborative technology could support integrated detection and interagency collaboration to counter nuclear and radiological threats aboard maritime craft.  The study also expands into other illicit material traffic monitoring and interdiction.”

In preparation for the experiment, the MIO team will meet in April at the University of Bundeswehr in Munich, Germany, for a final planning conference.


Photo credit: CENETIX

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