Publications Articles with Category: Policy


Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2013-2038

December 23, 2013
Unmanned Systems integrated Roadmap FY2013-2038, US DOD, 23 Dec2013

Unmanned systems continue to deliver new and enhanced battlefield capabilities to the warfighter. While the demand for unmanned systems continues unabated today, a number of factors will influence unmanned program development in the future. Three primary forces are driving the Department of Defense’s (DoD) approach in planning for and developing unmanned systems.

1. Combat operations in Southwest Asia have demonstrated the military utility of unmanned systems on today’s battlefields and have resulted in the expeditious integration of unmanned technologies into the joint force structure. However, the systems and technologies currently fielded to fulfill today’s urgent operational needs must be further
expanded (as described in this Roadmap) and appropriately integrated into Military Department programs of record (POR) to achieve the levels of effectiveness, efficiency, affordability, commonality, interoperability, integration, and other key parameters needed to meet future operational requirements.

2. Downward economic forces will continue to constrain Military Department budgets for the foreseeable future. Achieving affordable and cost-effective technical solutions is imperative in this fiscally constrained environment.

3. The changing national security environment poses unique challenges. A strategic shift in national security to the Asia-Pacific Theater presents different operational considerations based on environment and potential adversary capabilities that may require unmanned systems to operate in anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) areas where freedom to operate is contested. Similarly, any reallocation of unmanned assets to support other combatant commanders (CCDRs) entails its own set of unique challenges, which will likely require unmanned systems to operate in more complex environments involving weather, terrain, distance, and airspace while necessitating extensive coordination with allies and host nations.

The combination of these primary forces requires further innovative technical solutions that are effective yet affordable for program development. The purpose of this Roadmap is to articulate a vision and strategy for the continued development, production, test, training, operation, and sustainment of unmanned systems technology across DoD. This “Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap” establishes a technological vision for the next 25 years and outlines actions and technologies for DoD and industry to pursue to intelligently and affordably align with this vision.


Autonomy in Weapon Systems

November 21, 2012
DoD Directive 3000.09, November 21, 2012, Autonomy in Weapon Systems

US Department of Defense Directive 

NUMBER 3000.09
November 21, 2012

SUBJECT: Autonomy in Weapon Systems

1. PURPOSE. This Directive:
a. Establishes DoD policy and assigns responsibilities for the development and use of autonomous and semi-autonomous functions in weapon systems, including manned and unmanned platforms.
b. Establishes guidelines designed to minimize the probability and consequences of failures in autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems that could lead to unintended engagements.


The Role of Autonomy in DoD Systems

July 19, 2012
DSB, The Role of Autonomy in DoD Systems, DOD, 19 July 2012

The Task Force has concluded that, while currently fielded unmanned systems are making positive contributions across DoD operations, autonomy technology is being underutilized as a result of material obstacles within the Department that are inhibiting the broad acceptance of autonomy and its ability to more fully realize the benefits of unmanned systems.

Key among these obstacles identified by the Task Force are poor design, lack of effective coordination of research and development (R&D) efforts across the Military Services, and operational challenges created by the urgent deployment of unmanned systems to theater without adequate resources or time to refine concepts of operations and training.

To address the issues that are limiting more extensive use of autonomy in DoD systems, the Task Force recommends a crosscutting approach that includes the following key elements:
     • The DoD should embrace a three-facet (cognitive echelon, mission timelines and human-machine system trade spaces) autonomous systems framework to assist program managers in shaping technology programs, as well as to assist acquisition officers and developers in making key decisions related to the design and evaluation of future systems.
     • The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) should work with the Military Services to establish a coordinated science and technology (S&T) program guided by feedback from operational experience and evolving mission requirements.
      • The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) should create developmental and operational test and evaluation (T&E) techniques that focus on the unique challenges of autonomy (to include developing operational training techniques that explicitly build trust in autonomous
     • The Joint Staff and the Military Services should improve the requirements process to develop a mission capability pull for autonomous systems to identify missed opportunities and desirable future system capabilities.

Overall, the Task Force found that unmanned systems are making a significant, positive impact on DoD objectives worldwide. However, the true value of these systems is not to provide a direct human replacement, but rather to extend and complement human capability by providing potentially unlimited persistent capabilities, reducing human exposure to life threatening tasks, and with proper design, reducing the high cognitive load currently placed on


Guidance for developing Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS) capability

July 9, 2012
CJOSCOE, Guidance for developing Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS) capability, NATO, July 9, 2013

  Guidance for Developing Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS) Capability

This guidance aims to inform the capability development of Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS), broadening beyond that currently being exploited by UAV into Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) and Underwater Surface Vehicles (USV). It covers likely attributes and tasks for MUS, and discusses some of the challenges in developing this capability.


An MUS is defined as an Unmanned System operating in the maritime environment (subsurface, surface, air) whose primary component is at least one unmanned vehicle. A UUV is defined as a self-propelled submersible whose operation is either fully autonomous (pre-programmed or real-time adaptive mission control) or under minimal supervisory control. They are further sub-divided in 4 vehicles classes (man-portable, Light Weight Vehicle (LWV) Heavy Weight Vehicle (HWV), Large Vehicle Class (LVC).

An USV is defined as a self-propelled surface vehicle whose operation is either fully autonomous (pre-programmed or real-time adaptive mission control) or under minimal supervisory control. They are further sub-divided in 4 vehicles classes (X-Class, Harbour Class, Snorkeler Class, Fleet Class).


Drone-Ethics Briefing: What a Leading Robot Expert Told the CIA

December 15, 2011
Lin P, Drone-Ethics Briefing: What a Leading Robot Expert Told the CIA, The Atlantic, dec 2011

Last month, philosopher Patrick Lin delivered this briefing about the ethics of drones at an event hosted by In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture-capital arm. It’s a thorough and unnerving survey of what it might mean for the intelligence service to deploy different kinds of robots.


The Future of Unmanned Naval Technologies: A Second Look

May 13, 2011
Roughead G, The Future of Unmanned Naval Technologies: A Second Look, Brookings Instute, May 2011

Event Summary
On May 13, the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings hosted Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, for a discussion of the U.S. Navy’s use of unmanned naval technologies. Admiral Roughead, who addressed this issue at Brookings in 2009, gave an update on the development and integration of these systems into the current and future Navy force structure; the challenges that the Navy has encountered in deploying these systems; and the lessons learned to date. He also addressed the major operational challenges and benefits of new and rapidly evolving technologies and spoke to the doctrinal, legal and ethical questions that arise when using unmanned naval systems.

Abstracted comments on Unmanned Underwater Systems

“I’m also very pleased that we have been able to keep the press on in unmanned underwater systems. In the session that I had here a couple of years ago and in different venues where I have had the opportunity to speak about unmanned systems, I’ve challenged the technical community, the research community, the academic community to give us power in unmanned underwater systems. Safe, shipboard, long duration power is the coin of the realm. And I’ve been extraordinarily pleased with the response that we’ve received and some of the durations that we’re now beginning to see in that technology.

I’m also pleased with some of the tests that we have run with network unmanned underwater systems that I think will have the potential, if we do it right, of changing the underwater domain. So the fact that when we talk unmanned, we tend to look up in the sky, I look underwater, because that is an area where you can truly change naval warfare.”


Admiral Roughead is the highest ranking officer in the U.S. Navy, and one of only two admirals to have commanded both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. He also serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Senior Fellow Peter W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (Penguin Group, 2009), provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.

After the program, Admiral Roughead took audience questions.

PETER SINGER: One of the challenges of technology, and I would argue the wider policy world today, is the incredibly fast pace of change. So, for instance, in the short time since that discussion, we’ve seen technologies that were, for example, in what you could describe as the dream stage now start to take flight.

As an example, we’ve got several programs vying for the Navy’s U Class Program for carrier deck unmanned systems. Or as another illustration, the Fire Scout: in the time since we had this discussion, the Navy’s unmanned helicopter, went from doing sea trials on the tall combat ships to, just a couple weeks ago, deploying out to Afghanistan in support of coalition forces there. So, in essence, what we’re seeing is new possibilities, but also new challenges that come out of not just the advance of this technology, but also by putting this technology in a wider set of hands for uses, and this will only continue.

As an illustration, last week I was involved in a war game which was set in the year 2025, which is the year a lot of our planning scenarios and documents and strategy head towards. And one of the things I had to remind the team that was planning in terms of what the red and the blue teams might have at their disposal was the fact that in the year 2025, the 18-year-old sailor in that space will have been born in 2007, the very same year that the iPhone was born. So the 18-year-olds in 2025 will have a very different sense of technology, as well as a very different set of technologies at their hands than the 18-year-olds today, which already is tough enough for us to wrap our heads around.

And so it’s lucky for all of us that we’re able to do something that’s all too rare in Washington, which is to pull back, to reassess, to reexamine where matters stand and where they’re headed, in essence, to take a much needed second look at a rapidly changing issue. We’re even more lucky today to have Admiral Gary Roughead, the 29th Chief of Naval Operations, rejoin us for that relook. Not only did he originally set us on this journey, but he brings to this discussion a wealth of operational and command experience in the nation’s service, including being the only one of two officers ever to have commanded the fleets in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.



Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030

April 22, 2011
Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030,

In 2004, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy report, An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century, called for “a renewed commitment to ocean science and technology” to realize the benefits of the ocean while ensuring its sustainability for future generations. Since the release of the Commission’s report, federal agencies have been working together through the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST), which has the mandate to identify research priorities, facilitate coordination of ocean research, and develop ocean technology and infrastructure. This study was initiated to assist SOST in planning for the nation’s ocean research infrastructure needs in 2030 by identifying major research questions anticipated to be at the forefront of ocean science in 2030, defining categories of infrastructure that should be included in next-generation planning, providing advice on criteria that could be used to set priorities for asset development or replacement, recommending ways in which the federal agencies could maximize the value of ocean infrastructure investments, and addressing societal issues. It is also intended to complement efforts in support of the National Ocean Council, which was established to implement the National Ocean Policy outlined in the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (Executive Order 13547, July 19, 2010).

National Academies Press: Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030


Extracted paragraphs of AUV interest:

The chapter focuses on common or shared infrastructure rather than supporting infrastructure generally found in the inventory of an individual scientist, as this is often prototype or highly specialized. Many current ocean infrastructure assets began in this manner and were nurtured to maturity over a period of years by astute sponsors. This leads to another emerging challenge, related to agency support for the development of new instruments. Many of the sensors and platforms currently in widespread oceanographic use arose from investments by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) under the aegis of national security. The ONR technology investment is no longer strongly aligned with many of the ocean research questions expected to be of interest in 2030, leading to its diminished role in sustained funding for “high-risk, highreward” ocean infrastructure. To foster innovation and technological advancements in the ocean sciences, federal agencies will need to encourage a risk-taking environment. However, this is difficult under the current peer-review system.

The nature of shipboard work may change as a consequence of increasing numbers and capabilities of over-the-side systems (NRC, 2009b), which will increase operational efficiency. Increasingly multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research requires vessels with support for a wide diversity of platforms and instruments, and increasing ship costs motivate greater use of autonomous assets. To meet these needs, the past two decades have seen significant increases in dynamic positioning and station holding capabilities, multibeam and sidescan sonar systems, and more complex sensors and instrumentation. This has also led to an increasing dependence on shipboard science technical support. One metric for planning future fleet capacity and capability could be the number of scientists using the academic fleet in larger interdisciplinary groups versus those in smaller, focused campaigns, taking into account potential locations for future research. Another metric could be the number and capabilities of extended duration instruments, including autonomous vehicles, which could lessen the number of scientists at sea. Future trends include a fleet composed of both adaptable, general purpose platforms and specialized ships to meet a broad range of research activities; sustaining the number of larger, general purpose platforms; and growing the capabilities and numbers of smaller ships. The committee endorses the following recommendation from the 2009 NRC report Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet: “The future academic research fleet requires investment in larger, more capable, general purpose Global and Regional class ships to support multidisciplinary, multi-investigator research and advances in ocean technology.”

One future direction may be in the use of hybrid vehicles that combine components of traditional ROVs and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for greater capability and operations at full ocean depth, such as the hybrid ROV Nereus. Another may be in increased use of nonnuclear submarines, such as smaller air-independent propulsion platforms, which are common in navies other than the United States.

In the past decade, seafloor survey operations have begun to shift from use of towed vehicles to use of AUVs, particularly in deep water. While towed vehicles can be supplied power from the ship, and therefore operate higher-power sensors, AUVs can operate at higher speeds than is typical of deep tow, offer a very stable platform for sonar sensors, and are capable of closely following seafloor terrain. However, towed systems are likely to continue to be a method for collecting samples, including seawater from depth for shipboard analysis, in the near future. As AUV capabilities increase, there is likely to be some impact on the use of towed systems. This is especially true in areas where it is difficult to deploy towed systems, such as icecovered seas. AUVs are currently the preferred sonar mapping platform in commercial industriessuch as oil and gas. As AUVs mature and their cost of operation drops, towed platform applications will likely continue to migrate to AUVs.

Autonomous and Lagrangian Systems

Autonomous and Lagrangian platforms operate without tethers to ships or to the seafloor (Rudnick and Perry, 2003). Included in this class of devices are drifters that move with the surface current, floats with adjustable buoyancy that profile the water column from surface to depth, underwater gliders that fly horizontally with up-down profiling, and self-propelled AUVs. This category of platforms has seen a remarkable increase in capabilities, numbers, and use over the past two decades (Dickey et al., 2008).

The increasing effectiveness of autonomous and Lagrangian platforms has been influenced by “consumer” technologies driven by commercial markets outside ocean science. Circa 1990, there were only a few 8-bit microprocessor systems with sufficiently low power consumption for autonomous deployments, and they had volatile solid-state memory and limited computational power and data storage. In 2010, processors with orders-of-magnitude-higher computational power can navigate systems, command sensors and actuators, adapt missions, and retain gigabytes of data in robust solid-state memory. There have been parallel improvements in power availability, including the transition from alkaline to lithium batteries. Consumer-driven advances in microelectronics are likely to continue to benefit the ocean research community through increased platform capabilities. This will be enabled by modular platforms that can easily accommodate rapidly evolving sensors.

In coming years, autonomous and Lagrangian platforms are likely to be deployed in larger numbers to provide improved spatial coverage and resolution during process studies, routine monitoring, and event response. This will lead to a need to form scalable arrays of devices, optimized for the specific task and available at locations of interest. In sufficient numbers and with a sustained presence, such arrays can provide data that are currently needed for routine model assimilation and skilled forecast models.


The first observations of ocean flow were probably by surface drifters, including work by Benjamin Franklin (1785) and Irving Langmuir (1938). With the advent of satellite communication in the 1970s and 1980s, the use of drifters increased rapidly. Global deployment takes place through the Global Drifter Program,4 an array that grew from fewer than 100 satellite-tracked drifters in 1988 to at least 1,250 in 2010. Drifters can carry a wide variety of sensors, measuring such variables as temperature, salinity, wind, light, passive radiation, and atmospheric pressure; these types of observations have led to global maps of surface circulation (Niiler et al., 2003). The use of drifters is seeing growing application in the coastal ocean, especially in dispersion studies (e.g., pollutant tracking, larval transport). Due to their wide commercial availability, relatively low cost, and ease of use, drifters will continue to be used. A broader suite of sensors, especially for ocean-atmosphere flux studies and monitoring, are needed for future science research. Newer developments in drifter-like assets include surface floats that can develop propulsion from wave action near the surface, which allows them to travel separately from the local surface drift.


The first neutrally buoyant floats were designed to observe subsurface currents (Swallow, 1955). During the 1970s and 1980s, float tracking began to make use of the ocean sound channel, and eventually autonomous profiling floats were developed to periodically surface for navigation updates and data telemetry by satellite (Davis et al., 1992). In addition to velocity measurement, floats have measured a wide and growing variety of oceanic variables (e.g., temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, dissolved oxygen, nitrate); this is almost certain to increase by 2030. Because floats are stable, they are also able to observe challenging quantities like turbulent microstructure and vertical velocity (D’Asaro, 2008). Today, the international Argo program sustains at least 3,000 floats in the global ocean, each providing a 1,000- or 2,000 m profile of temperature and salinity once every 10 days (Roemmich et al., 2004). The present 3,000-float array was populated in less than 10 years. Future trends include an increase in numbers of floats; variety of observations; enhanced two-way satellite communication for active piloting and adaptable missions; full profiling of the entire water depth; and under-ice capabilities to extend float coverage to high latitudes. The need for longer endurance across a wide range of sensor types and environments will undoubtedly bring challenges in power requirements; these might be met by innovative methods of energy storage or harvesting. The Argo-type float array has been very successful and shows great promise for a robust, low-cost global capability that can provide subsurface observations able to inform both at sea campaigns and skillful ocean models.


Underwater gliders are the fulfillment of Stommel’s (1989) vision of buoyancy-driven devices that profile vertically while flying horizontally on wings. In the last decade, gliders have transitioned from prototypes (Eriksen et al., 2001; Sherman et al., 2001; Webb et al., 2001) to widely used tools for a variety of research purposes (e.g., Davis et al., 2003; Rudnick et al., 2004; Glenn et al., 2008; Hodges and Fratantoni, 2009), with several hundred now in operation. For example, the Navy has commissioned 150 gliders for use in both oceanographic research and national security (Rusling, 2009). Gliders can carry many types of sensors (e.g., temperature, salinity, velocity, nutrients, optics, fluorometry, acoustics), a suite which is likely to grow in the next two decades. Because gliders are typically recovered and reused (unlike many floats and drifters), there will be pools of gliders that can be made available for event response; the scientific community mobilized several gliders in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. With more robust capabilities, including the ability to work under ice and in other extreme environments, and longer endurance, gliders are very likely to become ubiquitous elements of regional ocean observing systems by 2030. A likely trend is toward easier deployment, perhaps from ships of opportunity, offshore platforms, or aircraft. In the next 20 years, gliders may become inexpensive enough to lessen the need for recovery.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

AUVs are self-propelled, uncrewed underwater vehicles. Basic characteristics include a power source, payload capabilities, and onboard controls capable of executing missions without regular human supervision. AUVs have been configured to carry a wide variety of in situ sensors, including water samplers. In comparison to gliders or floats, AUVs are more flexible platforms because they can travel at a chosen depth as well as steer, climb, and dive in response to commands, preprogrammed instructions, or adaptable observation strategies. While most current AUVs are optimized around higher power payloads (e.g., multibeam or side-scan sonar) and therefore have generally shorter endurance than gliders (days versus months), in principle they will be capable of greatly increased range and endurance by 2030. A prototype long-range AUV was recently demonstrated (Bellingham et al., 2010). As with gliders, most AUVs can operate in a range of environments (e.g., the continental shelf [Brown et al., 2004; Johnson and Needoba, 2008]; coral reefs [Shcherbina et al., 2008]; under ice [Nicholls et al., 2008]) and can be deployed from multiple platforms. The oil and gas industry routinely uses AUVs for deepwater mapping, the U.S. Navy has spent at least two decades making large investments in AUV technology for a range of military applications, and NOAA uses multi-instrumented AUVs that can be deployed from its fisheries survey vessels to augment a variety of marine ecosystem investigations.

In 1990, there were no AUVs in routine operation for science and today there are a range of commercially available vehicles. While still in their infancy as platforms, a substantial improvement of AUV capabilities, reliability, and usability can be expected over the coming decades.

 Developmental Concepts

Energy storage is a fundamental limitation for all autonomous systems at sea. While battery technology has advanced in past decades, progress has been incremental rather than revolutionary. Development of new battery systems has been primarily driven by the portable electronic industry to power devices such as cell phones and laptops. However, the advent of electric cars promises to generate further technical advances relevant to marine instrumentation. Not only may this industry create new high-energy-density systems, it is likely to encourage an increased focus on safety, a particular concern in marine applications. There are also some classes of electrochemical energy storage systems peculiar to the marine environment, including seawater batteries that depend on the surrounding environment for an oxidizer. Advanced lithium-based seawater batteries with very high specific energy have been developed in prototype and may be in common use by 2030.

Environmental energy (sun, wind, wave, thermal, chemical) offers a promising route to power the growing inventory of autonomous platforms used for oceanographic research. Solar power on ocean moorings was rare in the 1990s and is routine today, as are wind power generators. Solar-powered AUVs that recharge their batteries at the ocean surface have been tested (Crimmins, 2006). One type of profiling drifter uses thermal temperature differences to generate electrical power. There has also been development of autonomous surface vessels that scavenge energy for propulsion. One device uses wave energy for propulsion and has demonstrated ranges of thousands of kilometers even in low sea states (Willcox et al., 2009). Autonomous sailing vessels have also been developed (Neal, 2006) and have potential to serve as research platforms.

In addition to the broad categories of systems described in earlier sections, a number of platforms have been developed either as prototype systems or as specialized solutions to specific sensing problems. For example, seafloor experiments and observations can be carried out by benthic landers or crawlers (e.g., Sayles, 1993; Smith et al., 1997). These range from comparatively simple sensor platforms to systems capable of carrying out perturbation experiments on the seafloor (Sherman and Smith, 2009). With the installation of scientific cabled observatories, some of these systems are being designed to be operated attached to a cabled system, while others are intended to operate autonomously. The power and bandwidth available through cabled systems can be used to extend AUV operations, potentially making them independent of a ship for extended periods. AUV docking has been demonstrated by many groups (Cowen, 1997; Singh, 2001; Stokey, 2001; Evans, 2003; Fukasawa, 2003; Allen, 2006) with more recent work exploiting the capabilities of cabled observatories (McEwen et al., 2008). Another developmental concept with ocean research applications are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with GPS, energy-harvesting solar cells, and diverse sensor packages. These UAVs could monitor the ocean surface in the same manner as a drifting buoy and reposition themselves via flight (Meadows et al., 2009).

Summary Conclusion

In the past two decades, use of floats, gliders, ROVS, AUVS, and scientific seafloor cables has increased; use of ships, drifters, moorings, and towed arrays have remained stable; and use of HOVs has declined. Based on these trends, utilization and capabilities floats, gliders, ROVs, AUVs, ships, and moorings will continue to increase for the next 20 years and HOV use is likely to remain stable. Ships will continue to be an essential component of ocean research infrastructure; however, the increasing use of autonomous and unmanned assets may change how ships are used. Cabled observatories are only now being installed on a large scale, and while their use will undoubtedly increase due to increased availability, the nature of their scientific impact cannot be predicted.

 Community-Wide Facilities

Currently, there are a limited number of community-wide facilities and organizations in the ocean sciences; their development is usually driven by cost and expertise issues. However, the logistical challenges inherent in conducting ocean research have led to increasing use of such facilities. These efforts are usually a means to address the technical needs and costs required for (1) platforms, sensors, and analytical equipment; (2) compiling, managing, and maintaining large complex data sets; and (3) computing and modeling. Facilities that are supported and accessed by a broad base of ocean science users can focus on specialized areas of ocean infrastructure, while providing cost effectiveness and standardized, reliable services.

One of the most successful examples is the growth of data and modeling centers (e.g., NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center and National Geophysical Data Center, National Center for Atmospheric Research). Numerous data centers have been created over the past 20 years and, given the diversity of new observation systems, the range of data available to the broader community (including education and the interested public) through distributed data centers are very likely to grow. Barriers to be overcome include data accessibility and impediments to collaboration, which are critical to continued success. For community-wide facilities that provide laboratory analyses, independent verification and calibration is needed to provide sustained confidence in the data being produced.

Successful community-wide organizations need broad support at several levels of government. UNOLS has been an exemplar of this type, having strong engagement between academic, state, and federal partners. UNOLS provides academic and government oceanographers with access to the research fleet through coordination of ship schedules and operations, as well as managing standards and safety and ensuring standard instrumentation aboard each vessel. It also schedules deep submergence assets (HOVs, ROVs, AUVs) and use of research aircraft. By 2030, it is expected that consortia similar to UNOLS could facilitate broad community access to other infrastructure assets, including other mobile or fixed platforms (e.g., AUVs, gliders, drifters, moorings, seafloor cables and nodes, UAVs) or expensive analytical equipment. The creation of new community-wide facilities for ocean research infrastructure will be dictated in large part by technology innovations that either simplify operations and maintenance requirements or lower purchase and operation costs, as well as broad involvement and acceptance. However, they could also be driven by federal agencies as a means to maximize infrastructure effectiveness while minimizing costs.

 Technology Development, Validation, and Transfer Groups

To address the various societal needs of 2030, new innovations need to be created, matured, and transitioned into operations. A number of federal agencies and private foundations support design and construction of new in situ and remote sensors and platforms. Some novel work in sensor development has been supported through the federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research Program.20 In addition, several laboratories, research groups, and private companies are actively developing the next generation of ocean infrastructure (e.g., MBARI, SRI International Marine Technology Program). However, to ensure that basic science understanding, forecasting, and management decisions are based on accurate, precise, and comparable data, there is a fundamental need to verify and validate the performance of new and existing instrumentation. Enabling organizations that facilitate the development and adoption of effective and reliable sensors and platforms for ocean science will continue to be needed in the future. These types of organizations (e.g., the Alliance for Coastal Technologies21) can provide technology users with an understanding of sensor performance and data quality and provide technology developers and manufactures with opportunities for beta testing, system validation, and insights into various user needs, applications, and requirements through independent laboratory and field testing of prototype and off-the-shelf instrumentation. Such efforts help to accelerate critical instrument development and operationalization, while minimizing the risks of error and failure often associated with young technologies.

 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations

The science research questions posed in Chapter 2 and the infrastructure categories described in Chapter 3 lead to a number of major ocean infrastructure needs anticipated for 2030. First, this chapter details overarching infrastructure needs related to a majority of the scientific questions and societal objectives discussed elsewhere in the report. Each societal objective is then examined for needs of special note, followed by a summary of recommendations regarding ocean research infrastructure for national needs. Finally, Table 4.1 summarizes the categories of infrastructure. The table details the essential capabilities each type of asset will need in 2030, as well as capabilities to be advanced or developed. It is worth noting that the complexities of dealing with the harsh ocean environment create special challenges for building and maintaining robust research infrastructure.


Ships, satellite remote sensing, arrays of in situ observations, and shore-based laboratories are the foundation for ocean research infrastructure. The most essential infrastructure component will continue to be the ability for scientists to go to sea aboard research vessels, a capability that complements and enables the increasing suite of autonomous technologies and remote sensing data expected to be available in the next two decades. Ships form the backbone for all ocean observations; for example, they serve as platforms for sample collection, for deployment of remotely operated and autonomous vehicles, and as tenders for instrument maintenance. Shore-based laboratory facilities will continue to be required as a natural extension to ship-based sampling, for analytical work, and for coastal observations.

Several space-based observations are key for the ocean sciences, such as vector sea surface winds, all-weather sea surface temperatures, sea ice distribution and thickness, ocean color and ecosystem dynamics, dust transport, sea surface height and topography, mass balance of ice sheets. Planned missions with sensors that provide global coverage of ocean salinity1 and atmospheric carbon dioxide2 will add to this measurement base.

The global, internationally supported array of 3,000 Argo profiling floats (measuring temperature, salinity, and depth) is another critical component. Expansion of this network, both in terms of numbers and capabilities, will further enable study of the ocean’s physical, biological, and chemical processes while providing essential data for assimilation into global models. Sensor capabilities for profiling floats are expanding (e.g., oxygen, bio-optics, nitrates, rainfall rates, vertical current speeds), with additional sensors for pH, pCO2, and acoustics in development.

Extensive fleets of underwater gliders and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) capable of operating in both expeditionary and long-duration modes, outfitted with a much broader suite of multidisciplinary, biofouling-resistant sensors will also be needed (e.g., physical [conductivity, temperature, and depth; stable salinity], chemical [O2, pH, nitrate], biological [acoustic, genomic], biogeochemical, and imagery [visual, acoustic]). AUVs will be capable of providing increased power and space for advanced sensors and more complex payloads. Moorings and ships with more capable sensors will provide local refinement needed for further quantification of processes measured and offer replenishment to AUVs operating in the vicinity. The nested observation network together with embedded campaigns described above place a premium on widely shared data; this will achieve greater success if incentives are included for commercial operations in the coastal region to participate in data collection and use. Data management and data repositories are and will become increasingly important given the large data sets being collected for both global and regional studies, including climatological, oceanographic, geological, chemical, and biological data. Many of the science questions and societal objectives will require adaptive sampling as well as event response capabilities.


Recommendation: To ensure that the United States has the capacity in 2030 to undertake and benefit from knowledge and innovations possible with oceanographic research, the nation should

• Implement a comprehensive, long-term research fleet plan to retain access to the sea.

• Recover U.S. capability to access fully and partially ice-covered seas.

• Expand abilities for autonomous monitoring at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales with greater sensor and platform capabilities.

• Enable sustained, continuous time-series measurements.

• Maintain continuity of satellite remote sensing and communication capabilities for oceanographic data and sustain plans for new satellite platforms, sensors, and communication systems.

• Support continued innovation in ocean infrastructure development. Of particular note is the need to develop in situ sensors, especially biogeochemical sensors.

• Engage allied disciplines and diverse fields to leverage technological developments outside oceanography.

• Increase the number and capabilities of broadly accessible computing and modeling facilities with exascale or petascale capability that can be used for future oceanographic research needs.

• Establish broadly accessible virtual (distributed) data centers that have seamless integration of federal, state, and locally held databases, accompanying metadata compliant with proven standards, and intuitive archiving and synthesizing tools.

• Examine and adopt proven data management practices from allied disciplines.

• Facilitate broad community access to infrastructure assets, including mobile and fixed platforms and costly analytical equipment.

• Expand interdisciplinary education and promote a technically skilled workforce.



September 30, 2010

The purpose of this thesis is to study the manning and maintainability requirements of a submarine unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) program. This case study reviews current commercial and military applications of UUVs and applies their principles to the missions of the Navy’s submarine force. Past and current UUV efforts are lacking requirements documents and the formal systems engineering process necessary to produce a successful program of record. Therefore, they are not being funded for use by the war-fighter. The Navy must develop formal concepts of operations (CONOPS) for the missions and systems that it wants to produce and allow industry to begin development for a formal future UUV program. Furthermore, the military has developed countless unmanned systems that have been developed for use in the water, on the ground and in the air, from which the Navy can apply important lessons learned. Lastly, analysis suggests that the Navy should continue to support the use of a submarine detachment for operation and maintainability of future vehicle programs.


The Future of Unmanned Naval Technologies

November 2, 2009
Admiral Gary Roughead Chief of Naval Operations, The Future of Unmanned Naval Technologies. Alexandria Va: The Brookings Institution, 2009

For those of you I haven’t met yet, I’m Peter W. Singer. I conduct the 21st Century Defense Initiative here at Brookings. 21CDI wrestles with the changing forces acting on the age-old phenomenon of warfare, everything from changing actors, changing technologies, changing expectations upon warriors, changing doctrines, training programs, et cetera. In history, some of the most remarkable changes have been those that have been driven by technology like gunpowder, like the steam engine, like the airplane; technologies that force us to ask questions about not only what is possible that we didn’t have to think about before, but more importantly, the human side of it, questions of what is proper, the right and wrong of everything from doctrine to questions around the laws of war. These moments, these technologies, are very rare in history; in fact, they’re often oversold, but we may be living through one of these moments right now.

Today a young teenager is being invited to join the Navy through TV commercials that extol how the Navy is “Working every day to unman the front lines.” That same type of TV recruiting ad is also being played out for anyone who’s interested in joining the Army and the Air Force — that is, you have the three services that are emphasizing unmanned systems in their recruiting efforts today.

Once they join the force, that young sailor will receive the latest in virtual training on everything from how to operate weapons system to how to deal with PTSD. Then once they enter into the force itself, if they’re deployed into Iraq or Afghanistan, they may well us a PackBot or a Talon in doing route security and EOD work. If they end up in the surface force they may well end up for example on an Aegis class or an LCS that serves as a hub for everything from Fire Scout unmanned helicopters to Protector robotic sentry motorboats. If they career takes them into submarines, they may well end up using UUVs that help do everything from detect mines to surveil coastlines. Or if they end up in aviation, they may well end up in anything from the BAMS program Global Hawk to monitor sea lanes, to UCAS that explores the use of unmanned systems in carrier strike aviation. The point here is that young sailor not only will be engaging with technologies that as TV commercial, as that recruiting ad says, “Seems like science fiction but are in the Navy today.”

But more importantly, that young officer will be begin to wrestle with questions that no one had to wrestle with before, everything from Naval doctrine to the laws of the sea. It’s an amazing and challenging time and it’s made all the more notable by the fact that it’s happening in the midst of two ongoing wars and emerging global threats.

So it’s lucky for that young sailor as well as us here today that the Navy has a leader like Admiral Gary Roughead in charge who it’s our great honor to have joining us. Admiral Roughead is the twenty-ninth Chief of Naval Operations and most importantly he brings to this discussion on unmanned naval technologies and their impact on the Navy not only a wealth of operational and command experiences including being one of only two officers ever to have commanded the fleets in the Atlantic and the Pacific, but also a reputation as a thinking leader dedicated to the mentoring of the next generation including having served as the Commandant of the Naval Academy from which he previously graduated.

Indeed, it was this ability to look both to the present but also to the horizon that has us doubly excited for him to join us today. Not only is the Navy moving forward in the use of these technologies, but it’s also leading the way in the research and analysis of the questions that surround them under his personal leadership. For example, the CNO’s SSG Group, Strategic Studies Group, at the Naval War College is examining the operational questions of the growing use of unmanned systems, while at the Naval Academy the Ethnics Program this year is focusing on the legal and ethical dilemmas that are coming out of using these technologies. So we’re greatly looking forward to his views on this important area and very much want to think again for joining us.


FY2009–2034 Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap

April 6, 2009


In today’s military, unmanned systems are highly desired by combatant commanders (COCOMs) for their versatility and persistence. By performing tasks such as surveillance; signals intelligence (SIGINT); precision target designation; mine detection; and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance, unmanned systems have made key contributions to the Global War on Terror (GWOT). As of October 2008, coalition unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) (exclusive of hand-launched systems) have flown almost 500,000 flight hours in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) have conducted over 30,000 missions, detecting and/or neutralizing over 15,000 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and unmanned maritime systems (UMSs) have provided security to ports.

In response to the Warfighter demand, the Department has continued to invest aggressively in developing unmanned systems and technologies. That investment has seen unmanned systems transformed from being primarily remote-operated, single-mission platforms into increasingly autonomous, multi-mission systems. The fielding of increasingly sophisticated reconnaissance, targeting, and weapons delivery technology has not only allowed unmanned systems to participate in shortening the “sensor to shooter” kill chain, but it has also allowed them to complete the chain by delivering precision weapons on target. This edition of the Unmanned Systems Roadmap attempts to translate the benefit of these systems and technologies into the resultant combat capability by mapping specific unmanned systems to their contributions to Joint Capability Areas (JCAs) such as Battlespace Awareness, Force Application, Force Support, and Logistics.

As the Department of Defense (DoD) continues to develop and employ an increasingly sophisticated force of unmanned systems over the next 25 years (2009 to 2034), technologists, acquisition officials, and operational planners require a clear, coordinated plan for the evolution and transition of unmanned systems technology. This document incorporates a vision and strategy for UAS, UGVs, and UMSs (defined as unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned surface vehicles (USVs)) that is focused on delivery of warfighting capability. Its
overarching goal, in accordance with the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), is to focus military departments and defense agencies toward investments in unmanned systems and technologies that meet the prioritized capability needs of the Warfighter that include:

1. Reconnaissance and Surveillance. This remains the number one COCOM priority for unmanned systems. While the demand for full-motion video (FMV) remains high, there is an increasing demand for wide-area search and multi-INT capability. Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) remains a key area highlighting the need for interoperability.

2. Target Identification and Designation. The ability to positively identify and precisely locate military targets in real-time is a current shortfall with DoD UAS. Reducing latency and increasing precision for GPS-guided weapons is required.

3. Counter-Mine and Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Since World War II, sea mines have caused more damage to US warships than all other weapons systems combined. IEDs are the number one cause of coalition casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom. A significant amount of effort is already being expended to improve the military’s ability to find, mark, and destroy land and sea mines as well as IEDs.

4. Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Reconnaissance. The ability to find chemical and biological agents, as well as radiological or nuclear weapon materiel and/or hazards, and to survey the extent of affected areas while minimizing the exposure of personnel to these agents is a crucial effort.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is responsible for ensuring unmanned systems support the Department’s larger goals of fielding transformational capabilities, establishing joint standards, and controlling costs. OSD has established the following broad goals to steer the Department in that direction.

Goal 1. Improve the effectiveness of COCOM and partner nations through improved integration and Joint Services collaboration of unmanned systems.

Goal 2. Support research and development activities to increase the level of automation in unmanned systems leading to appropriate levels of autonomy, as determined by the Warfighter for each specific platform.

Goal 3. Expedite the transition of unmanned systems technologies from research and development activities into the hands of the Warfighter.

Goal 4. Achieve greater interoperability among system controls, communications, data products, data links, and payloads/mission equipment packages on unmanned systems, including TPED (Tasking, Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination).

Goal 5. Foster the development and practice of policies, standards, and procedures that enable safe and effective operations between manned and unmanned systems.

Goal 6. Implement standardized and protected positive control measures for unmanned systems and their associated armament.

Goal 7. Ensure test capabilities support the fielding of unmanned systems that are effective, suitable, and survivable.

Goal 8. Enhance the current logistical support process for unmanned systems.

This Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap represents the Department’s first truly synchronized effort that increases the focus on unmanned systems, and through interoperability with manned systems, establishes a vision in support of our Warfighters. This Roadmap projects the types of missions that could be supported in the future by unmanned solutions, and the improvements in performance that can be expected as a result of investment into identified critical unmanned technologies. It recommends actions the Department can pursue to bring the projected vision to fruition. In short, this Roadmap informs decision makers of the potential to more effectively and efficiently support the Warfighter by continuing to leverage unmanned systems.