DOD SBIR 24.2 Annual

Active
No
Status
Open
Release Date
April 17th, 2024
Open Date
May 15th, 2024
Due Date(s)
June 12th, 2024
Close Date
June 12th, 2024
Topic No.
MDA242-D001

Topic

Continuous Adaptive Digital Operations Planning

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "Continuous Adaptive Digital Operations Planning" under the SBIR program. The research aims to revolutionize the operations planning process by utilizing new and evolving digital technologies. The objective is to develop tools and processes that enable the continual review and update of Operation Plans (OPLANs) to maintain currency and maximum relevancy. The technology should automate routine tasks, integrate diverse data sources, utilize predictive analytics, implement geospatial analysis tools, optimize user experience, ensure scalability, integrate machine learning algorithms, and incorporate feedback loops for iterative improvement. The Phase I proposal should demonstrate a preliminary understanding of the technology, while Phase II requires the creation of a full prototype capability. Phase III involves scaling up the capability and integrating it into a system-level testbed. The topic is restricted under export control laws. The proposal submission deadline is June 12, 2024. For more information, visit the solicitation link.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Computing and Software; Mission Readiness &Disaster Preparedness; Sustainment & Logistics

 

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: Use new and evolving digital technologies to revolutionize the operations planning process, resulting in always up to date and ready to execute plans that maintain commander’s intent and utilize available resources most effectively and efficiently.

 

DESCRIPTION: Joint doctrine describes an Operation Plan (OPLAN) as a complete and detailed plan that identifies the force requirements, functional support, and resources to execute the plan.  An OPLAN contains a full description of the concept of operations (CONOPS), all applicable annexes, a time-phased force and deployment list (TPFDL) and a transportation-feasible notional time-phased force and deployment data (TPFDD), as well as analysis of the impact of a potentially contested environment on the joint deployment and distribution enterprise (JDDE).

 

The initial development of an OPLAN is a detailed and time-consuming process involving subject matter experts (SMEs), modeling and simulation, and detailed analysis.  Once fully developed, plans are on the shelf for future use and are reviewed and updated periodically to maintain their relevance.  In the event of a conflict, the current plan will be used to inform and guide tactical operations and strategy. The problem is that even though plans go through periodic review and update processes, this is not done frequently enough to maintain currency with a rapidly changing real world.  The less current an OPLAN is, the less valuable it will be in the event of a conflict. 

 

The baseline assumptions underlying any OPLAN are constantly changing.  Details such as red intelligence estimates, blue inventories, asset maintenance and availability, force levels, and available transportation and logistics support are always changing and impact current plans.  Global political events and conflicts can rapidly alter strategic considerations and lead to changes in commander’s guidance and intent.  A responsive, automated, near real-time system to update OPLANs as underlying data changes and the ability to alter plans based on updated guidance is needed to ensure our deployed forces and commanders at all levels always have the best plans available to deter the enemy and ensure our forces can engage most effectively and efficiently if conflict ensues.

 

This topic seeks innovations in digital operations planning.  The desire is to research and develop tools and processes that enable the continual review and update of OPLANs such that they maintain currency and maximum relevancy.  This is a multifaceted problem that involves model maintenance and both automated and analyst driven data updates, continuous assessment of the current plan as inputs change, automated optimization and analysis informing whether updates are recommended, and the ability to trade off and measure best choices across multiple metrics while considering levels of change to the currently accepted plan.  New metrics and new constraints may be introduced and ways to incorporate these while maintaining and updating the plan are needed.

 

PHASE I: Phase I-like proposals will not be evaluated and will be rejected as nonresponsive.  For this topic, the Government expects the small business would have accomplished the following in a Phase I-like effort via some other means, e.g., independent research and development (IRAD) or other source, a concept for a workable prototype or design to address, at a minimum, the basic capabilities of the stated objective above.  Proposal must show, as appropriate, a demonstrated technical feasibility or nascent capability.  The documentation provided must substantiate the proposer’s development of a preliminary understanding of the technology to be applied in their Phase II proposal in meeting topic objectives.  Documentation should comprise all relevant information including but not limited to, technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results.  Feasibility = maturity and what have you already done/validated.  

 

Proposers interested in participating in Direct to Phase II must include in their responses to this topic Phase I feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and Phase I feasibility described in Phase I above has been met.  (i.e., the small business must have performed a proof of concept like “Phase I” component and/or other validation in a relevant environment, and/or at a much higher TRL level (5 or higher) and describe the potential commercialization applications.  The documentation provided must validate that the proposer has completed development of technology in previous work or research completed.) 

 

IRAD work, previous Phase I/Phase II work:  Documentation should include the most relevant information including, but not limited to:  technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and/or performance goals/results.  Work submitted within the feasibility documentation must have been substantially performed by the proposer and/or the principal investigator (PI).

 

PHASE II: Create a full prototype capability implementing the tools and demonstrating the processes required to enable digital OPLAN maintenance, review, and updates.  Work with project sponsors to perform an example study using this new technology with representative data and models.

 

Key Technical Objectives:

  • Automation of Routine Tasks: Implement automation for routine planning tasks such as data entry, report generation, and scheduling, reducing the time and effort required for these activities.

  • Integration of Data Sources: Integrate diverse data sources, both internal and external, to provide a comprehensive and real-time view of relevant information.  This can include integrating databases, Internet of Things devices, or other systems to ensure data accuracy and timeliness.

  • Predictive Analytics: Utilize predictive analytics to forecast trends, demands, and potential operational challenges.  This can enable proactive decision-making and allow for adjustments to plans before issues arise.

  • Geospatial Analysis: Implement geospatial analysis tools to visualize data on maps.

  • User Experience (UX) Optimization: Prioritize the user experience of digital planning tools.  A user-friendly interface improves efficiency and reduces the learning curve for team members, leading to faster adoption and more effective use.

  • Scalability: Ensure that the digital planning infrastructure is scalable to accommodate growing data volumes and user loads.  Scalability is crucial for handling increased operational demands without a significant decrease in performance.

  • Machine Learning Integration: Explore the integration of machine learning algorithms to analyze historical data and patterns.  This can assist in decision-making processes, providing insights that might not be immediately apparent from manual analysis.

  • Feedback Loops and Iterative Improvement: Implement mechanisms for collecting feedback from users and operational outcomes.  Use this feedback to make iterative improvements to the digital planning processes and tools continuously.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Scale-up the capability from the prototype utilizing the new processes and software technologies developed in Phase II into a mature, fieldable capability.  Work with DoD integrators to integrate the technology into a system level testbed for analyst use.

 

REFERENCES:

Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Planning, 01 December 2020.  https://www.jcs.mil/Doctrine/Joint-Doctrine-Pubs/5-0-Planning-Series
On How Simulations Can Support Adaptive Thinking in Operations Planning.pdf. (https://www.sto.nato.int/publications/STO%20Meeting%20Proceedings/STO-MP-MSG-133/MP-MSG-133-18.pdf
Plan Maintenance for Continuous Execution Management https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/tr/pdf/ADA523659.pdf

 

KEYWORDS: CONOPS; Digital; OPLAN; Modelling; Simulation; Planning; Continuous; Automation; Operational; Processes

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