Jul 24, 2007

Deep Green

DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is asking the IT world for proposals to create a state-of-the-art automated battlefield decision-making system. (50 page pdf)

The scene in Dr. Strangelove where Gen. Ripper and Group Captain Mandrake discuss the mid-20th century paradigm shift from the politicians to the generals vis à vis the capability of and responsibility for strategic military thought comes to mind.

The implication of the envisioned new system (called "Deep Green" by DARPA) is that it is time now for the generals to pass the baton to the computers.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) seeks strong, responsive proposals from well-qualified sources for a new technology program called Deep Green. Deep Green will build a battle command decision support system that interleaves anticipatory planning with adaptive execution. Deep Green must be capable of addressing the full spectrum of joint and combined arms capabilities available to the modular brigade commander, drastically increasing the option and future space. This will allow the commander to think ahead, identify when a plan is going awry, and help develop alternatives "ahead of real time." The commander (and his support staff) is involved in essentially two major asynchronous functions: generating options and making decisions. The goal of this program is to create a commander-driven system to assist the commander and his support staff in generating options or Courses of Action (COAs).

Deep Green will aid in battle command and commander’s visualization by creating technologies that make it easier for the commander to articulate options to consider and anticipate the possible futures that result from those options. This proactive analysis will help predict which possible futures are becoming more likely – before they occur. Given that information, the commander can make better decisions and focus planning efforts (the generation of future branches and sequels) on where they can be the most useful. To accomplish this, Deep Green will focus on the following functional components: The Commander’s Associate (which consists of Sketch to Plan and Sketch to Decide), Crystal Ball, and Blitzkrieg.

There are six (6) tasks under the envisioned Deep Green program:
Task 1: Commander’s Associate (Sketch to Plan and Sketch to Decide)
Task 2: Blitzkrieg
Task 3: Crystal Ball
Task 4: Automated COA Generation
Task 5: Integration
Task 6: Test and Evaluation


The United States has a compelling need for reliable information affecting military command, soldiers in the field, and national security.

Today’s technical barriers include the following issues:
■ New technology is needed for machine induction of intuitively expressed plans.
■ Multi-modal (sketch and speech) collaborative technologies must be extended to incorporate modern learning technology that induces plans and the user’s intent from intuitive, coarse-grained plan descriptions.

■ Existing AI planning & monitoring systems
■ are largely deterministic in nature, while the battlefield is inherently stochastic;

■ focus on full automation rather than commander-driven plan generation; and

■ are reactive in nature, re-planning after the plan has broken

■ The current generation of combat models
■ run slowly,

■ generate a narrow spread of possible outcomes, and

■ require significant manual intervention.

The overall goal of Deep Green is to provide a technology that allows the commander
■ generate and analyze options quickly, including generating the many possible futures that may result from a combination of friendly, enemy, and other coursesof action;

■ use information from the current operation to assess which futures are becoming more likely in order to focus the development of more branches and sequels; and

■ make decisions cognizant of the second- and third-order effects of those decisions.

Deep Green is composed of tools to help the commander rapidly generate courses of action (options) through multimodal sketch and speech recognition technologies. Deep Green will develop technologies to help the commander create courses of action (options), fill in details for the commander, evaluate the options, develop alternatives, and evaluate the impact of decisions on other parts of the plan. The permutations of these option sketches for all sides and forces are assembled and passed to a new kind of combat model which generates many qualitatively different possible futures. These possible futures are organized into a graph-like structure. The commander can explore the space of possible futures, conducting “what-if” drills and generating branch and sequel options. Deep Green will take information from the ongoing, current operation to estimate the likelihood that the various possible futures may occur. Using this information, Deep Green will prune futures that are becoming very improbable and ask the commander to generate options for futures that are becoming more likely. In this way, Deep Green will ensure that the commander rarely reaches a point in the operation at which he has no options. This will keep the enemy firmly inside our decision cycle.


Security classification guidance on a DD Form 254 (DoD Contract Security Classification Specification) will not be provided at this time since DARPA is soliciting ideas only and does not encourage classified proposals in response to this announcement. However, after reviewing incoming proposals, if a determination is made that contract award may result in access to classified information, a DD Form 254 will be issued upon contract award. If you choose to submit a classified proposal you must first receive the permission of the Original Classification Authority to use its information in replying to this announcement.


Anonymous said...


wargames sound familiar?

or maybe terminator is closer to the mark...

time to get out of dodge, i think.

Meatball One said...

Outta Dodge? I doubt it.

Once we landed on the beaches of Normandy we were in Europe to stay. I'm willing to bet the same goes for Iraq. Talk of anything else is just perception management tactics to tame/shape the Eaters with a vote.

BTW, here's an interesting paper from Feb 2003. Looks like Deep Green has been up and running for some time now ;)



Anonymous said...

heh. keep your troops, i meant me!

Meatball One said...

Excerpts from the Strategic Studies Institute paper (Feb 2003)mentioned in my previous comment:


To be successful, an occupation such as that contemplated after any hostilities in Iraq requires much detailed interagency planning, many forces, multi-year military commitment, and a national commitment to nationbuilding.

Recent American experiences with post-conflict operations have generally featured poor planning,
problems with relevant military force structure, and difficulties with a handover from military to civilian responsibility.

To conduct their share of the essential tasks that must be accomplished to reconstruct an Iraqi state, military forces will be severely taxed in military police, civil affairs, engineer, and transportation units, in addition to possible severe security difficulties.

The administration of an Iraqi occupation will be complicated by deep religious, ethnic, and tribal
differences which dominate Iraqi society.

U.S. forces may have to manage and adjudicate conflicts among Iraqis that they can barely comprehend.

An exit strategy will require the establishment of political stability, which will be difficult to achieve given Iraq’s fragmented population, weak political institutions, and propensity for rule by violence.

Meatball One said...


LOL. Poor guy. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

an exit strategy doesn't exist, in other words. it may take years of development, they say. and a national commitment to nationbuilding? another corporate conglomerate nation telling the other to rise to the occasion. i dont think it will work quite the same way the americans think. actually, it never really has.

the time has passed for trying to understand ourselves, so why bother trying to understand others, eh? just go in and bully them around... their political situation will force them to cave to governmental american terrorism for fear of mass loss of lives, but that has little influence on the ones below. america, as far as the government and militia are concerned, will never admit that they cannot win. therefor, you may be correct in saying they will never leave. except that they cannot see what is coming past their overstuffed egos. time to pay attention to their dreams. time to pay respect to the human agenda. time to survive.

those who cannot change will not survive. and we've been shown how much the world likes changing their political agendas. specialization is their main event, and its about to cost them.

flow with the river, my friend. even the smallest creek can wear away the hardest stone.

Meatball One said...

Many a shiny nugget in there, Anon. Like this one:

...the time has passed for trying to understand ourselves, so why bother trying to understand others, eh? just go in and bully them around

Anonymous said...

John Boyd is rolling in his grave. Techno-fetishism, beyond the realm of augmentation, is both hammer and nail in that proverbial coffin. Perhaps Hubert Dreyfus should add a chapter to 'What Computers (Still) Can't Do' entitled 'Nope, They Can't Fight Wars Either...'. Anon, 'Wargames' - spot on!

Meatball One said...


...and I'm thinkin' about da study of neural networks as substrate for human behavior(s). The vanguard stuff conducted at world class institutions de rigor.

Basic research in this field is commonly based on studying the relatively simple neural networks of organisms such as the disgusting lamprey eel,extracting numbered parameters for computers to crunch.

Human neural networks are, to date, impenetrable for wizkid frontrunners attempting to elucidate the connect between even their most basic components & connections and any kind of remotely recognizable human behavior.

That's just the way the world still turns.

Deep Green?

Meatball One said...

While indulging in tangents, here's a recent piece on EA.