Researchers to examine 'Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield'

Military intelligence analysts, when devising strategies for operations, must take a number of threat conditions into account. "Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield" is a term used in the military that defines the methodology employed to reduce uncertainties concerning the enemy, environment, and terrain for all types of operations. Researchers at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) recently received a grant that will enable them to explore the ways in which battlefield planning methods can be improved, with the ultimate goal of helping the U.S. Army develop a technological game plan for winning on the battlefield.

David Hall, dean of the College of IST; Michael McNeese, associate dean for Research, Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs; Steve Shaffer, senior lecturer and Jake Graham, professor of practice in security and risk analysis, have received an award of $125,000 from the Calspan-University of Buffalo Research Center (CUBRC) to support the project, “Future IPB through Intelligence Analyst-Expert System Teaming: Concepts of Design and Development of Knowledge-Based Systems.” The goal of the undertaking, which has been initiated by the Army Research Office, is to evaluate current practices in IPB and determine how they can be improved through knowledge-based systems – software that uses artificial intelligence or expert system techniques in problem-solving processes.

“IPB is a very detailed process of examining the elements of terrain and weather as well as man-made systems, roads and infrastructure to evaluate the effects of those things on both friendly and adversarial operations,” said Graham, a retired Marine Corps colonel.

The IST researchers will examine various technologies -- database search engines, automated retrieval and storage systems, and representational systems (neuro-linguistic programming models that examine how the human mind processes information) -- to see how they could support IPB activities. In addition, Graham said, they plan to conduct surveys with IPB practitioners to help them “determine what would best support their roles as intelligence analysts.”

The project, which started in April, is funded for one year.

“We hope that we will have a follow-on (award) to support a larger, more expansive study,” he said.

The research that is being conducted by the IST group could eventually have an impact on battlefield planning methods, Graham said. The Army is interested in acquiring new technology to support intelligence programs, and the results of the study could aid the Army in building an acquisitions roadmap.

Last Updated July 19, 2012