BAE Systems to develop first-of-its-kind software for DARPA to model conflicts

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is sponsoring BAE Systems to develop software that will aid military planners in understanding and addressing the complex dynamics that drive conflicts around the world. Under a $4.2 million Phase 1 contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Causal Exploration of Complex Operational Environments program seeks to develop technology to model different political, territorial, and economic tensions that often lead to conflicts, helping planners to avoid unexpected outcomes.

With increasingly complicated operational environments and diverse adversaries, military planners are often hindered from rapidly and effectively achieving a holistic understanding of conflict situations due to a lack of time, expert resources, and automated tools. To solve this challenge, BAE Systems is developing first-of-its-kind software called Causal Modeling for Knowledge Transfer, Exploration, and Temporal Simulation (CONTEXTS). The software is intended to create an interactive model of an operational environment, allowing planners to explore the causes of a conflict and assess potential approaches.

“Military planners often conduct manual research and use limited modelling 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. “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.”

CONTEXTS builds on the company’s autonomy technology portfolio and is being created by BAE Systems’ research and development team, which investigates, creates, and deploys cutting-edge technology capabilities. Work for this program is being performed at the company’s facilities in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia. The program also includes teammate Dr. David Danks of Carnegie Mellon University.

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