Accelerating Rotary Wing Innovation Through Unmanned Systems

14ef4bb02a51fb1e5f412f5c978d2b12

Publisher avatar for Naval Helicopter Association, Inc
from Rotor Review Spring 2023 #160

by Naval Helicopter Association, Inc

One of the great things about working at a Navy Warfare Center, such as Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, is that you have the opportunity to see new technologies envisioned, created, and, in many cases, implemented into the Fleet or Fleet Marine Forces. With over 5,500 government employees, and an equal number of contractors, our warfare center is involved in a breathtaking number of projects.

Increasingly, given the U.S. Navy‘s commitment to unmanned systems and the Chief of Naval Operations’ vision of a hybrid fleet comprised of 350 manned vessels and 150 Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS), a great deal of our work has focused on unmanned systems in all domains: air, surface, subsurface and ground.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accelerated the development and use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Ground Systems (UGS), however, the development of unmanned systems in other domains has fallen behind. The Navy has now shifted focus to the development and fielding of multi-mission UMS. To aid in that development, Fifth Fleet established CTF-59 to experiment with UMS and UAS and accelerate their development and fielding.

In late 2022, CTF-59 orchestrated Exercise Digital Horizon. This multinational exercise featured 12 Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and three UAVs, linked using artificial intelligence, to push the boundaries of these platform’s contributions to important naval missions, especially Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). The importance of Digital Horizon 2022, and a view of what would be accomplished, was highlighted by one naval analyst this way:

Despite the cutting-edge hardware in the Arabian Gulf, Digital Horizon is far more than a trial of new unmanned systems. This exercise is about data integration and the integration of command and control capabilities, where many different advanced technologies are being deployed together and experimented with for the first time.

The advanced technologies now available and the opportunities that they bring to enhance maritime security are many-fold, but these also drive an exponential increase in complexity for the military. Using the Arabian Gulf as the laboratory, Task Force 59 and its partners are pioneering ways to manage that complexity, whilst delivering next-level intelligence, incident prevention and response capabilities.

Digital Horizon 2022 brought together emerging unmanned technologies with data analytics and artificial intelligence in order to enhance regional maritime security and strengthen deterrence by applying leading-edge technology and experimentation in unmanned and artificial intelligence applications for the Navy. A key goal of Digital Horizon 2022 was to speed new technology integration across Fifth Fleet, and seek alternative, cost-effective solutions for conducting MDA missions.

Digital Horizon lived up to the high expectations of all involved. Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Fifth Fleet, and Combined Maritime Forces described what was accomplished during Digital Horizon 2022 thusly:

We are creating a distributed and integrated network of systems to establish a “digital ocean” in the Middle East, creating constant surveillance. This means every partner and every sensor, collecting new data, adding it to an intelligent synthesis of around-the-clock inputs, encompassing thousands of images, from seabed to space, from ships, unmanned systems, subsea sensors, satellites, buoys, and other persistent technologies.

No navy acting alone can protect against all the threats, the region is simply too big. We believe that the way to get after this is the two primary lines of effort: strengthen our partnerships and accelerate innovation. One of the results from the exercise was the ability to create a single operational picture so one operator can command and control multiple unmanned systems on one screen, a Single Pane of Glass (SPOG). Digital Horizon was a visible demonstration of the promise and the power of very rapid tech innovation.

The results of Digital Horizon 2022 could change the way the world’s navies conduct maritime safety and security. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are able to amalgamate the sea of data created by unmanned systems into actionable, realtime intelligence for use by commanders, which enables U.S., allied and partner nations to dedicate their crewed vessels to other missions.

Using a two billion dollar ship and a crew of 300 officers, chiefs, and sailors to conduct surveillance operations is not a cost effective solution when a medium-sized commercial offthe-shelf (COTS) USV (such as a MARTAC Devil Ray T-38, one of the participants in Digital Horizon) can be bought or leased in a contractor owned, contractor operated (COCO) arrangement for a relatively modest cost and equipped with state-of-the-art COTS sensors to provide persistent surveillance. During Digital Horizon, the T-38 provided AIS, full motion video from SeaFLIR-280HD and FLIR-M364C cameras, as well as the display of charted radar contacts via the onboard Furuno DRS4D-NXT doppler radar. These were all streamed back to Task Force 59’s Robotics Operations Center (ROC) via high bandwidth radios. The force multiplying potential of unmanned systems demonstrated during Digital Horizon has already been recognized by the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) and the rotary wing community.

Elbit Systems Seagull unmanned surface vessel operates in the Arabian Gulf, Nov. 29, during Digital Horizon 2022. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Murphy)
Elbit Systems Seagull unmanned surface vessel operates in the Arabian Gulf, Nov. 29, during Digital Horizon 2022. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Murphy)

So why is this important to us? For those of you who attended the 2021 NHA Symposium and listened to the Flag Panel, you heard that Naval Aviation is on a glideslope to be approximately 40% unmanned circa 2035. Though exact timelines and percentages are impossible to predict, the unmanned future is coming, spearheaded by the MQ-25 Stingray, the MQ-4C Triton and MQ-8C Fire Scout leading the way.

The Fire Scout is currently the Rotary Wing Community’s only “skin in the unmanned game,” and though the MH-60S Knighthawk and MQ-8C Fire Scout are currently embarked onboard Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), where Rotary Wing Aviators and Surface Warfare Officers are developing CONOPS for their use together, the Navy is scaling back its inventory of LCS. This will shrink the opportunities for our community to explore tactics, techniques and procedures to develop man-machine teaming or to develop Fire Scout “smart wingman” in the same fashion that the U.S. Air Force is doing with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and emerging UAVs.

In remarks at the December 2022 Reagan National Defense Forum, Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, said that the Navy intends to stand up additional unmanned task forces around the globe modeled after Task Force 59, noting:

We’ve demonstrated with Task Force 59 how much more we can do with these unmanned vehicles—as long as they’re closely integrated together in a [command and control] node that, you know, connects to our manned surface vehicles. And there’s been a lot of experimentation, it’s going to continue aggressively. And we’re going to start translating that to other regions of the world as well. That will include the establishment of formal task forces that will fall under some of the Navy’s other numbered fleets.

The Naval Rotary Wing Community needs to be part of this emerging technology development, lest we be left behind as the Navy and NAE place huge bets on a force increasingly populated by unmanned systems. As to how we can do this, those of you wearing flight suits are best-qualified to develop new concepts for how our community can leverage rapid developments in unmanned systems in all domains to ensure that we have a warfighting advantage in future conflicts.

The Admiral’s Almanac Podcast with George Galdorisi – NYT Best Selling Author

Untitled

I sit down with New York Times’ best-selling author George Galdorisi as we continue to explore how writing fiction novels can be useful in developing national security intelligence. This process has a long history, but it is having a resurgence as we deal with the national security issues of the day.

We cover fiction and nonfiction writing, how to get started writing, and why leaders at ever level need to write.

Op-ed: How will future wars evolve and be fought? – The Coronado News

Originally published by George Galdorisi for The Coronado News

Humans are a curious species.

We want to know things, especially about how the future will unfold. When we are young, this might include what school we will attend, if we will marry, and what profession we will embark upon.

When we are older, if we have children, we want to know how things will turn out for them. Later in life, as we complete our professional careers, we wonder what is in store for the rest of our lives.

While these are worthy issues to think about, if things turn out differently than we think they will
it is just a different fork in the road – and one that we will almost certainly survive.

However, this is decidedly not the case for the U.S. military. Understanding how warfare will evolve in years hence is crucial to our military winning or losing the next war. Our military leaders must look far into the future to set in motion the doctrine and weapons procurement to ensure that we prevail in future conflicts.

“Useful Fiction”

Fortunately, there is a new, cutting-edge, practice that the U.S. military is leveraging to ensure that we are more-ready for future conflicts than our adversaries. It is called “Useful Fiction” or FICINT (Fictional Intelligence).

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its second year and shows no signs of abating, many are asking: “Who could have predicted that Vladimir Putin would invade an Eastern European neighbor?” Some of us writing Useful Fiction did foresee this event.

In 2019, when I started writing “Fire and Ice” (my most recent novel), the high concept was this: What if there was considerable unrest in Russia due to economic conditions, and what if Vladimir Putin did what so many autocratic leaders do and tried to shift the public’s attention from their not-so-great-circumstances to an outside threat?

And what if he decided to invade one of those perceived outside threats and also hold the rest of Europe hostage to Russia’s energy?

And what if he used cyber-attacks against the West, especially the United States, and also committed acts of terrorism and genocide?

“Fire and Ice” told that fictional story, was published in early 2021, and has garnered positive reviews.

“For years, forward-thinking writers in the Useful Fiction genre have examined future warfare through novels.”

-Galdorisi

That said, I am not alone in writing in this genre, but have several Useful Fiction fellow travellers. For years, forward-thinking writers in the Useful Fiction genre have examined future warfare through novels, but in years past, U.S. officials responsible for the security and prosperity of America have disregarded these works.

As more and more writers have examined future warfare through works of fiction, this new genre of military-themed literature has emerged and thrived. Useful Fiction is generally understood to be imagining future warfare scenarios based on the realities of high-end combat and real-world intelligence—not fantasy.

Embracing new genre

No longer disregarding fictional accounts of future warfare, the U.S. national security community has embraced this new genre as a useful instrument to intuit how tomorrow’s wars will be fought.

A number of U.S. military commands and think tanks, including The U.S Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the U.S. Naval War College, the Atlantic Council, the Center for International Maritime Security, the U.S. Naval Institute, and others, now sponsor fiction-writing contests to tease out good ideas from Useful Fiction writers.

As one small indication of the momentum that Useful Fiction has gained, I recently spoke at a Useful Fiction event at the U.S. Air Force Academy organized by futurists Peter Singer and August Cole (authors of “Ghost Fleet” and “Burn In”).

It was attended by hundreds of Academy cadets, as well as scores of officers from various commands, including the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Sea of change

There has been a sea of change in the way the U.S. national security community (especially the U.S. military) is now embracing these types of books. Several recent Useful Fiction novels, including “Fire and Ice,” which has proven especially prescient in light of today’s war in Ukraine, are helping the U.S. plan for tomorrow’s wars.

To dig a bit deeper into this topic, part of why there is such a demand for this new genre of Useful Fiction within the U.S. national security establishment is the power of narrative. Here’s how Michael Lewis, author of “Moneyball,” put it in his best-selling book, “The Undoing Project:” “No one ever made a decision based on a number; they need a story.”

Fire and Ice by George Galdorisi

My goal in writing “Fire and Ice” was not just to write an entertaining and believable military thriller, but to stress the importance of challenging our assumptions as they relate to national security. The book is available in our Coronado Public Library, and I’ll leave it to those of you who read it to decide whether I’ve accomplished those two goals.

Finally, Coronado has a vibrant writing community of beginning, emerging and established writers. For some hints and best-practices to take your writing to the next level, you can access this information on my website: https://georgegaldorisi.com/. Go to Blog at the top of the page and pull down “Writing Tips.”

George Galdorisi is Director of Strategic Assessments and Technical Futures for the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific. Prior to joining NIWC Pacific, he completed a 30-year career as a naval aviator, culminating in fourteen years of consecutive service as executive officer, commanding officer, commodore, and chief of staff. He is a 40-year Coronado resident and enjoys writing, especially speculative fiction about the future of warfare. He is the author of 15 books, including four consecutive New York Times bestsellers.

RECOMMENDED READING FROM THE DESK OF THE SNA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Book Reviews Galdorisi.pdf

Rick Holden Trilogy: The Coronado Conspiracy, For Duty and Honor
and Fire and Ice

For most of the last century, national security policymakers were
sanguine that the U.S. military had an intact process for envisioning
future warfare. Over the last few decades that process has shown
stress, and now the Pentagon looks outside the lifelines – often to
military fiction – to get a better sense of how wars might evolve and
be fought years hence. This process has been institutionalized as a
number of U.S. military commands and think tanks now sponsor fiction
writing contests to tease out potential future warfighting scenarios.

This has spawned a new genre of military-themed works of fiction.
Labeled FICINT – imagining future warfare scenarios based on the
realities of high-end combat and real-world intelligence, not fantasy
– the U.S. national security community has now embraced this genre
as a useful instrument to intuit how tomorrow’s wars will be fought.
Two well-known books in this genre are P.W. Singer and August Cole’s
Ghost Fleet and Elliot Ackerman and Admiral Jim Stavridis’ 2034
(reviewed in the previous issue of Surface SITREP).

This brings me to a recent entry in the FICINT genre – actually a
trilogy of entries – Captain (USN – retired) George Galdorisi’s Rick
Holden thrillers, The Coronado Conspiracy, For Duty and Honor and
Fire and Ice. Each is a good read by itself, and even better if read
in the order presented here. The chief protagonist, Rick Holden, is a
former CIA operative, now undercover as a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

In all three thrillers, Galdorisi not only provides us with a picture of
future warfare but examines what could go awry with issues like
civilian control of the military, near-absolute power in the hands
of senior military officers, and the ability of rogue nations to hold
allies hostage. I believe you will enjoy this trilogy, and I’m eagerly
looking forward to the next Rick Holden thriller.

 

Download this Review in PDF Format

Putin Teetering

im-641181

Public pronouncements aren’t commensurate with the gravity of the Ukraine situation. They’ve gotten too informal, off-the-cuff and shallow.

Russia continues its missile barrage against Ukrainian cities. The Crimean bridge was daringly taken out, delivering Vladimir Putin a real blow, and within hours Ukraine was tauntingly unveiling a postage stamp depicting the ruined span. The Nord Stream pipeline has been sabotaged. Each side blames the other, but either way Europe is braced for a long dark winter. And both sides are either threatening or speculating aloud about the use of nuclear weapons.

This war isn’t progressing, it’s hurtling.

President Biden has taken to publicly comparing the current moment to the Cuban Missile Crisis. From reported remarks at a New York City Democratic fundraiser: “We have a direct threat of the use of the nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path they are going…. We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy.” Vladimir Putin is “not joking.”

If we’re facing Armageddon, that should be taking up all the president’s time. When JFK spoke it was in a studied, careful way, and to the entire nation.

What’s needed is a serious, weighty, textured document that reflects the gravity of the moment we’re in, a full Oval Office address that doesn’t emote but speaks rationally to a nation of thoughtful people. A big definitional statement. Where are we? Are we communicating with the Kremlin? How should the American people be thinking about all this?

Think Different

13Heffernan-articleLarge-v2

While bookstore (or Amazon warehouse) shelves groan under the weight of books about Silicon Valley, they continue to feed our fascination with the tech industry.

That is why I was drawn to the review of a book: WHAT TECH CALLS THINKING
An Inquiry Into the Intellectual Bedrock of Silicon Valley. Here is how it begins:

In 2007, the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen argued in a brassy blog post that markets — not personnel, product or pricing — were the only thing a start-up needed to take flight. Teams, he suggested, were a dime a dozen. Products could be barely functional. He even suggested that the laws of supply and demand, the ones that generate price competition, no longer obtained.

The takeaway was something like If they come, you will build it. To get them to come, a founder needs a magnetic concept. Community, say. Connection. Sharing. Markets coalesced around these hazy notions in 2007 and 2008, with the debuts of Twitter, Airbnb, Waze, Tumblr and Dropbox.

In an erudite new book, “What Tech Calls Thinking,” Adrian Daub, a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford, investigates the concepts in which Silicon Valley is still staked. He argues that the economic upheavals that start there are “made plausible and made to seem inevitable” by these tightly codified marketing strategies he calls “ideals.”

There are so many scintillating aperçus in Daub’s book that I gave up underlining. But I couldn’t let “Disruption is a theodicy of hypercapitalism” pass. Not only does Daub’s point ring true — ennobling destruction and sabotage makes the most brutal forms of capitalism seem like God’s will — but the words themselves sound like one of the verses of a German punk-socialist anthem.

Want more? Here is a link to the NYT article

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/books/review/what-tech-calls-thinking-adrian-daub.html

 

Nuclear War?

51SaasrQNqL._SY346_

Eight months into the war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is saber-rattling and threatening to use nuclear weapons, the world is under the specter of nuclear war not seen in sixty years since the Cuban Missile Crises. Given Putin’s losses in the Ukraine war, people are justifiably concerned that nuclear weapons will be used and are searching for ways to protect themselves and their loved ones.

While there is no sure way to fully protect oneself and those around you, there is help available. Former Navy SEAL and CIA operative, Dick Couch, has written the definitive book designed to help us cope with the threat of ALL weapons of mass destruction, The U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Survival Manual: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Yourself and Your Family.

Drawing on best-practices honed by the U.S. military over decades of experience, this book is essential reading in an era where a deranged autocrat, terrorists or others resort to weapons of mass destruction to further their deadly aims. Dick Couch delivers this important survival information in a “news you can use” format. Read it and be reassured that you will be prepared should the worst happen.

China on the March

8SR

Since rising to power a decade ago, Xi Jinping has unleashed an array of campaigns to help ensure that China would prevail in, or at least withstand, a confrontation with the West. He has bolstered China’s military, reorganized the economy and remade society around a more ideologically committed Communist Party.

Mr. Xi has made clear that his overarching goal is to restore China to what he believes is its rightful place as a global player and a peer of the U.S. As a consequence, he has come to see the possibility of a showdown with the West as increasingly likely, according to people familiar with his thinking. Now he stands on the edge of a third five-year term in power at a Communist Party conclave starting Sunday, in a break with a recent precedent of stepping aside after two terms. That will likely ensure that his vision, which is simultaneously assertive and defensive, will guide China for years to come.

His approach could be summed up in a favorite aphorism of Mao Zedong that Mr. Xi has invoked, warning against a lack of vigilance, according to people familiar with the matter: “Don’t fight unsure wars, and don’t fight unprepared battles.”

Politically, Mr. Xi has installed trusted lieutenants at every level of the ruling Communist Party and cracked down on opposition in places like Hong Kong and Xinjiang, to help shore up his authority and weed out foreign influences.

Militarily, Mr. Xi has reorganized the People’s Liberation Army, doubled its budget and begun work to enhance China’s nuclear arsenal. He has also launched a societywide campaign to promote toughness, punish denigration of the military and prevent young men from wasting time playing videogames. All are meant to ensure China is ready to engage in combat, if necessary, for the first time since 1979—especially if elections in the U.S. and Taiwan in 2024 result in leaders willing to embrace independence for the island, the reddest of red lines for Mr. Xi.

The End

14nun-death-1-articleLarge

The Covid-19 has caused many people to confront death through the loss of friends and loved ones. But even if you are not touched by personal loss, you are likely thinking about your own limited time on this earth more than you were, say, 18 months ago.

The Stoics have a term for this – memento mori. I also wondered about this term and wanted to know more. That’s why I eagerly read a recent article “Meet the Nun Who Wants You to Remember You Will Die.” The subtitle is profound: “Suffering and death are facts of life: “Everyone dies, their bodies rot, and every face becomes a skull.” Here is how the article begins:

Before she entered the Daughters of St. Paul convent in 2010, Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble read a biography of the order’s founder, an Italian priest who was born in the 1880s. He kept a ceramic skull on his desk, as a reminder of the inevitability of death. Sister Aletheia, a punk fan as a teenager, thought the morbid curio was “super punk rock,” she recalled recently. She thought vaguely about acquiring a skull for herself someday.

These days, Sister Aletheia has no shortage of skulls. People send her skull mugs and skull rosaries in the mail, and share photos of their skull tattoos. A ceramic skull from a Halloween store sits on her desk. Her Twitter name includes a skull and crossbones emoji.

That is because since 2017, she has made it her mission to revive the practice of memento mori, a Latin phrase meaning “Remember your death.” The concept is to intentionally think about your own death every day, as a means of appreciating the present and focusing on the future. It can seem radical in an era in which death — until very recently — has become easy to ignore.

Want more? You can read the rest of the piece here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/14/us/memento-mori-nun.html

When Fiction Foretells the Future of Warfare

Article_Part_One

by Samantha Bey

Last summer, retired naval aviator Captain George Galdorisi, had just released two anticipated books: AI at War: How Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are Changing Naval Warfare (U.S. Naval Institute Press) and Fire and Ice (Braveship Books). Since both books – non-fiction and fiction, respectively – addressed the future of warfare, we decided to circle back a year later to see how the ideas he presented were playing out today.

The bottom line in AI at War, explained Galdorisi, is that “Our national, military and intelligence community efforts are synced up to leverage big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to make our military weapons systems smarter and more effective and to also help our warfighters make better decisions faster than our adversaries.”

 

Read the entire article here! (PDF download)