The Air Force Research Lab and BAE Systems are partnering on a program that could help map out future conflicts as they occur.
Sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research lab awarded BAE a $4.2 million contract for the Causal Exploration of Complex Operational Environments program, BAE said in a release Monday.
The concept uses technologies to "model different political, territorial and economic tensions that often lead to conflicts" and will help "planners to avoid unexpected outcomes," the release states.
"Military planners often conduct manual research and use limited modeling tools to generate models and evaluate conflict situations, which are extremely time consuming and labor intensive," said Chris Eisenbies, product line director of the Autonomy, Controls, and Estimation group at BAE Systems.
BAE said the Defense Department's need is based on the lack of time, expert resources and automated tools available as a conflict emerges.
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The program will use software that creates an interactive model of a particular environment for military leaders to carve out solutions. The software will be a first-of-its-kind technology called Causal Modeling for Knowledge Transfer, Exploration, and Temporal Simulation, or CONTEXTS.
"To break down these barriers, CONTEXTS will use reasoning algorithms and simulations with the goal to give planners a quicker and deeper understanding of conflicts to help avoid unexpected and counterintuitive outcomes," Eisenbies said in the release.
The program will be developed at the company's facilities in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia, the release states.
In November, DARPA awarded BAE another contract to create a virtual lab for commanders to outline potential threats in space, as well as command-and-control simulation, according to Space News.
The project, dubbed Hallmark testbed, will give service members more situational awareness to execute plans as threats in space develop. The contract award was valued at $12.8 million.
The latest contract comes as the DoD continues to prepare for what it calls "the next high-end fight" with a global adversary such as Russia or China.