Navy wants to take big data into battle

ONR calls for ideas on a framework and analytics tools to help with warfighting efforts.

The Navy is awash in data generated by sensors aboard ships, aircraft and other platforms, but to date has not been able to make much use of it, at least not without a hefty amount of manual work. The Office of Naval Research wants to solve that problem with a Naval Big Data Ecosystem enabled by ground-breaking analytics tools.

ONR recently issued a call for white papers looking for ideas on how to use big data to enhance warfighting capabilities. The Navy wants to able to get real-time results by combining data from IT systems and sensors with combat systems and sensors, according to the solicitation. “In the past, the ability to merge these types of information to support tactical warfighting has been extremely limited,” ONR said.

The initiative will focus in two areas—Anti-Submarine Warfare and Integrated Air/Missile Defense—seeking to enhance threat assessment and prediction, combat ID, integrated fires, and mission planning and execution, the solicitation says.

There are four main “thrust areas:”

1. Development of a Naval Data Science Foundation with a common framework for characterizing and sharing data across diverse communities.

2. Source Ingestion and Indexing, in a way that makes large data sets available via the Navy’s cloud environment.

3. Naval Warfighting Analytics, to develop advanced analytics tools to support warfighting efforts, especially with regard to anti-submarine activities and air and missile defense.

4. Data Cloud Security and Integrity, to fortify the defenses within the Naval Tactical Cloud.

ONR has a cloud ecosystem platform developed in recent years called the Naval Tactical Cloud Reference Implementation (NTCRI), built with components that include Cloudera (for computing); Hadoop Distributed Files System, Accumulo, MapReduce and Storm (analytics); and Content Zone (storage). ONR said any proposals will have to make use of NTCRI as the underlying environment.

ONR estimates that it will award $28.5 million in contracts over a five-year period under the program. White papers are due July 18. Full proposals from white papers selected will be due Oct. 3.

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