Current readiness systems only include commander’s best estimate for equipment status. Estimates have traditionally been utilised usually for overall equipment assigned to the unit and not individual pieces of equipment.
Military Services use systems to maintain records of equipment under service, but records do not include any information about what units it is assigned to.
Central to the work presented here was the development of a tool, the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Equipment Structural Assessment, which was loosely based on previously developed plan
Inputs to the system consist of a MEU equipment list, the tasks identified through the mission deconstruction process, the measures and metrics used to define equipment capabilities, and the set of linkages between tasks and equipment.
What equipment is available to the MEU to accomplish mission tasks and subtasks? A diverse set of factors affect the types of equipment aboard a MEU, including not only space available but also risk trade-offs made by commanders and expectations about the mission on deployment.
Since there is no standardised table of equipment for a MEU, the study team obtained a list of equipment assigned to a recent MEU, which included information on what was embarked and what was left behind.
What measures and metrics should be used to assess the capability of selected equipment? The loading list provided the set of available equipment. We then used equipment manuals and sponsor input to define the capabilities of each piece of equipment in performing designated tasks. This information is displayed to the user when a piece of equipment is selected
We identified the measures and metrics, or “planning factors,” needed to assess the capability of each piece of equipment in the loading list. In our initial construction of the tool, we identified which alternative equipment might accomplish a task, but not as effectively.
We concluded that either we had it wrong or that other equipment might do just as well or better than what we selected. Consequently, equipment selection is now up to the user of the tool. The upgrades proceeded in parallel with these activities.
We have not received official Marine Corps approval to run our application at Job Sites. The programme is a valuable materiel readiness information tool designed and Tested for Marine Corps.
Users training on existing systems, even though we have designed logical architecture and operation modes, we have found concerning lack of training on logistics information tools throughout Marine Corps.
Tool supports this objective by asking the user to define mission-specific characteristics and allowing the user to tailor equipment lists, equipment priority, and task priority as appropriate.
The approach used in this report is for the user to use the tool to facilitate the development of planning factors by the user and use the tool to assign equipment to tasks.
This process provides a framework that MEU commanders can use to develop mission plans and understand where equipment shortfalls are likely. The process consists of simple steps that translate mission requirements into tasks, subtasks, and military activities, each of which is linked directly to the types of equipment needed for completion. It also highlights key parameters that may affect the types of equipment needed or the execution of key tasks.
Site Visit Executive can first look at broad readiness, but can also look at readiness levels of subordinate units to provide the ability to control, distribute, and replenish equipment and supplies in assigned areas of operation, to receive supply support from and provide supply support to other services
Readiness Terms are used in different contexts/processes. Operational gaps in systems used by Marine Units must be closed so exchange is seamless. Capability to link information as it is processed by Units must be built.
Aggregated information provided to Commanders must be traced/linked to operational systems used to rollup information. But no Marine Site Executive has yet stood up to identify functions spanning across process and write terms required to support processes
If Site Visit Executive has better overview of equipment status, resources will be allocated/pooled more efficiently so greatest potential for operational readiness is realised.
Information from readiness systems is required to determine number of pieces of equipment available for deployment. No Site Executive has created an easy way to link equipment information available from readiness and Services systems.
Technological advances in production and distribution can strengthen the Navy and Marine Corps aviation parts supply chain. Improved spare parts logistics systems and 3D printing will increase flight availabilities and decrease costs. 3D printing is the headline of how far we’ve come with efficiencies, both at the fleet readiness centers and out in the field.
The entire spare part logistics system has the potential be sped up with the use of 3D printing. With forward deployed forces, addition of 3D printing increases availability and save costs by quickly producing small replacement parts onsite instead of waiting for the supply chain to send equipment far off.
In addition, 3D printing as a way for the industry to quickly manufacture the parts needed by aircraft maintainers without necessarily having to sink money into new machinery to make specialised components not frequently requested.
Ultimately, this on-demand manufacturing will help companies control their costs. The only limiting factor is the ability for 3D printers to create air-worthy parts. “We’re at the front end of this. There are parts that require airworthiness for approval and the non-air worthiness, the non-airworthiness are easier to do.“
Maintenance portion of an aircraft program is of equal importance as new acquisitions in keeping costs down. “We got to operate it, and sustain it, and fly it for the lifecycle. So understanding your supply chain and making sure it’s robust is key.”
A new logistics sustainment system Marine maintainers are trying will help both the service and industrial base adjust their ability to purchase and manufacture replacement parts. The new system prioritises how to allocate replacement parts to aircraft based on how quickly it will return to service after the part arrives.
Consider the fate of two aircraft from different squadrons. Both are grounded, and each requires the same replacement part, but one of the aircraft needs additional other work done to get back in the air.
Under the current system, the part goes to the maintainers who request it first, even if this aircraft needs additional work resulting in being grounded for weeks. Meanwhile, the aircraft that only required the one part could’ve been ready sooner, but remains unavailable while waiting for part delivery.
“We’re now using supply optimisation tools that are taking a look across a base, and not only a base but across a type, model series. As an example, a long lead-time part is coming in, so what airplane benefits most from that? That’s one area where we’re using agent learning to make decision making.”
We got the chance to learn about the latest technologies showing potential for Marine Corps deployment. We are covering this expo as a team who has never been to one, so here is our perspective on the experience.
Even though we had never been to a Marine expo before, we had a pretty good idea of just what it will entail. We were expecting multiple companies to be set up in theatre showing off their latest tech advancements and best manoeuvre practices.
These expos seem like a great way to learn about Marines and connect with one another for possible future partnerships or work. In a nut shell, we believe this advanced expo is going to house a lot of tech and experienced Marines and we should be able to learn a lot from it.
When we walked through the doors and entered this expo, it seemed like the number of Marine suppliers was infinite. Everywhere you looked there was something new to look at and learn about. The first supplier that grabbed my eye was a growing company from who had designed a sorting system for small parts.
The group realised their designs potential for larger parts and how it could be applied to multiple different industries. The group upscaled their design and went from one machine designed for extremely small parts, to an array of multiple machines each having the ability to sort different sized part much larger than the first design. It was incredible to see how one design could be changed only slightly and have so many different applications for Marines.
There were no limitations when it came to suppliers and the number of different AORs present at the expo. There were solutions for warehouse storage, automation, sorting, milling bits, and even 3D printing. One of our favorite booth we visited was run by a company who had all the 3D printing solutions you could ever need, even for new areas of the field.
These suppliers were displaying their new desktop metal 3D printer and its ability to print in metal.3D printing in metal was something we had heard about before, but imagined it had only been done by a very small number of Marine companies.
Right there in front of us this printer was creating quite incredible parts all in metal. We were told these prints had similar strength qualities as cast metal parts and were printed using a type of metal powder mixed with wax.
This was incredible to hear if you had only ever experienced 3D printed plastic parts before. Looking around the booth it was easy to see all the Marines gears turning as they were able to see all the applications this desktop metal printer could be used for their own field operations.
Going into this expo we didn’t have much knowledge about Marine manoeuvres. After speaking with suppliers showcasing part sorting/packing systems, we were surprised to learn a significant amount about sensor sorting systems. These machines simply take images of the sorting bed and use tools to tell which items to grab or re-sort.
We saw how easy 3D printing in metal and its benefits compared to plastic. With this machine being able to create custom metal parts that no other manufacturing process can create, it is easy to see the endless possibilities and applications for this process.
An expo is a great place to satisfy our curiosity. With all kinds of new technology and processes you can check out all the booths for hours finding the answers to all your pressing questions about the Marines.
These expos don’t need to be just for Marines. We were welcome to learn a little more about the processes and machines used to make products. Overall, going to this advanced expo was a great experience and we will be attending many more in the future.
Even while the groups and organisations hyping artificial intelligence solutions popped up everywhere at the expos with promises to create the next battlefield advantage using next generation weapons, gear, or satellites. The term artificial intelligence splashes the headlines with promises that we’re moments away from revolutionising the battlefield.
It’s frustrating. The special AI “task forces” and their massive budgets are great, but it’s time to get honest about the rest of the military.
Ask any Marine their opinion of how things run on a daily basis and you will hear complaints about lost orders, broken gear, and outdated technology.
Bottom line: all those flashy AI applications being touted as perfect for Marines use are not going to run on the outdated infrastructure on which a majority of the military still operates.
That doesn’t mean that AI isn’t a good fit or shouldn’t be pursued. But it does mean that AI success requires a force readiness approach. First, AI isn’t new and it isn’t new to the military.
Marketing hype around the term has experienced a surge lately but the fact that something wasn’t tagged as artificial intelligence historically does not take away the fact that it was actually AI.
Despite the hype, AI is simply a field of science that trains systems to perform some human task through learning and automation. There are varying degrees of sophistication but most of the mining, network assessment constructs and mapping technology used over the past decade or more have all been forms of AI.
Weapons systems and combat vehicles have been leveraging AI for many years as well. So don’t let the noise change the focus from the mission need.
There are varying degrees of sophistication but most of the data mining, network engineering and mapping technology used over the past decade or more have all been forms of AI. Weapons systems and combat vehicles have been leveraging AI for many years as well.
Marines on the front lines need their supporting forces to be trained and armed with the appropriate technology to support the advances being operationalised on the battlefield. If we look specifically at the intelligence arena, the vast majority of military intelligence analysts are still using the same products and systems from 10-15 years ago.
Efforts around collecting intelligence are ripe for sophistication, but what about the Marines that have to sift through and make sense of that additional data? How has their training changed to account for a more technologically advanced battlespace? How do products and solutions integrated requirements and workflows with real time information truly augment their efforts?
The majority of data mining and visualisation tools on the market have flashier interfaces than we saw a decade ago, but the true sophistication of what the vast majority of Marines have been offered doesn’t really reflect the decade of advancements seen in the commercial market.
You don’t have to be a part of a high profile AI initiative to find value in the science for nearly all areas of the military. We need the whole force to have the technical advantage on the battlefield and that means AI must become a force readiness initiative.
It’s all about augmenting human efforts across battalions, regiments and divisions to raise the readiness levels of the entire force. Marines inside the wire should have the knowledge, technical skills and agility to support all of the operations and technology our troops outside the wire are running.
Then there’s the applicability across all military systems.
An “AI watchman” could prevent ships from colliding with one another since the computers are “constantly looking at sensor data and is making sense of the environment and the situation.”
“There is that safety aspect of using artificial intelligence to augment the level of capability and intelligence available on ships, on tanks, in aircraft, all over, where you almost have an embedded AI technician be part of every military asset.
“That is a capability and it leads to benefits that are tremendous. And the possibilities may be endless. There’s an easy answer to the question: Where can AI be applied? “It can be applied literally everywhere.
“The biggest part of the problem of artificial intelligence is: they build these incredibly long algorithms with all of these gates to go through. They push all of this machine learning and data through it. Frankly, we are not entirely sure how all of that works, all the time.
1. Use language processing and machine learning to automatically classify and match incoming data to indicators and warnings being monitored. Provide alerts on trending topics, keywords or themes that may indicate emerging tactics, techniques and procedures.
2. Display both geographic and temporal representation of multi-intelligence data with a natural language generated summary of the data. Include the ability to break data into individual entities as needed and internalise analyst annotations into the automated summary.
3. Automatically map finished intelligence products to the priority intelligence requirement to help answer with automated caveat classification of documents tied to user permissions. Include smart search capabilities to that repository so analysts can find relevant products more efficiently.
4. Monitor human developed courses of action beside computer generated courses of action including the criteria for suitability, feasibility, acceptability, uniqueness and completeness. A machine will see information differently than its human counterparts and may identify behaviour discrepancies present in data that human analysts may miss due to the sheer volume and complexity of reporting that an intelligence analyst is presented with.
5. Capture workflows and product development in a shared space so knowledge gaps are reduced between shifts or rotations. Use automation to track knowledge gaps and alert users to update analysis and finished products when significant knowledge gaps are filled to tag/map intelligence gaps as new information comes in and alert users to the new information.
6. Measure impact of operational intelligence and associated collections or requests that contributed to that intelligence by automating inputs and processes serving as operational measurements.
7. Add cognitive search into the massive data repositories analysts are required to sift through to move beyond keyword search and enable contextual search at an enterprise level.
8. Provide in-depth training on AI systems and set standards on how technology augments the human analytic process without replacing the analyst behind the screen. In short, tie the technology into existing workflows and adjust workflows to account for technological innovation.
9. Conduct initiatives in parallel with operations to ensure force efforts are complimentary and requirements are aligned with discrepancy alerts or gaps in the operational plan and the intelligence needed to execute it.
10. Invest in both garrison and tactical systems and infrastructure that are capable of running and sustaining the increased computing power that comes with training and deploying AI programmes