Decision makers are flooded with data; automated analytical processes that are platform-agnostic are needed to deliver decisive information, said Capt. Jeffrey Czerewko, Director, Battlespace Awareness Division, in the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6 F2).
Czerewko, speaking about the Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation, Dissemination (TCPED) and Fusion and Analysis model in the Information Warfare Pavilion at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition in May, said analyzing data is manpower intensive so analysts are needed who can rapidly cut through the chaff to understand the battlespace and provide the right information in a contested environment.
The problem is that increasing manpower is a zero-sum game. The vision for the Battlespace Awareness Division is to increase data automation, reduce the Navy’s platform and domain specific solutions, stop duplication of effort and communalize training and systems to fast-track the steps in the TCPED cycle, Czerewko explained.
A fighter pilot, Czerewko, whose call sign is "Caesar," said data analysis help is available through the national reachback architecture from the Intelligence Community, Navy Information Operations Commands and fleet, but in a contested environment reachback may not be accessible so the TCPED model must flex based on environmental constraints.
Onboard data processing and correlation producing actionable intelligence for ships and aircraft can alleviate the problem, Czerewko explained.
To that end, the Navy is now fielding the Minotaur Mission Processor for airborne surveillance of maritime surface traffic. Minotaur is an automated intelligence correlation processor that can be installed on platforms or in control stations to analyze the data coming in from sea search radars, electromagnetic spectrum sensors, video cameras and other sources. The system is an evolution of capability developed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory over many years, Czerewko explained.
The results have been so successful, Czerewko said, that Minotaur can enable one operator to do the work that would normally take three. "I'm putting Minotaur on as many platforms as I can," he said.
Minotaur provides software that reduces operator workload and increases operational efficiency by correlating data from different sensors to a common track or target. Its speed and memory capability are substantial improvements over previous processors; however, its correlation algorithms are the real value. Minotaur derives essential massive information data sets, maintains track histories and seamlessly exports data to tactical networks, Czerewko explained.
As an Intruder and Hornet pilot for 26 years and a CAG, or Commander, Air Group, for Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2), Czerewko said he would have liked to have the data fusion tool that Minotaur provides when he was flying missions over Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since Minotaur is an open-architecture, government-owned system, future updates of outdated systems will be easier, according to Johns Hopkins APL.
To advance a Minotaur-like capability, Czerewko would like to have capabilities like Minotaur installed in manned and unmanned aircraft, ships and submarines linked to the sensors that are already onboard for data collection and analysis. He explained the naval labs, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, academia and industry are working together to develop new capabilities.
Capt. Czerewko is also working across the warfare domains to leverage cross-domain expertise.
“The beauty of this job is I can have [representatives] sitting at the same table from Naval Oceanography experts, SEALs, SWOs (surface warfare officers) talking to a fighter pilot talking to a Cryptologic Warfare Officer talking to a submarine officer for high caliber innovation and wargaming ideas,” Czerewko said. “I don’t fear failure; I fear expensive failure.
“I want more thought behind doing more with less,” Czerewko said. The captain said he is looking for low-dollar, high-value solutions for improved bandwidth to process data into intelligence on manned and unmanned platforms, more resilient networks and better Link 16 integration.
Czerewko said he is optimistic that innovation in all these areas is coming soon.