Edge focus areas
Four key lines of effort have been identified to realise the Air Force’s augmented intelligence ambition. These lines of effort focus on exploring the edges of a fifth-generation Force to create, accelerate, and exploit opportunities for advantage.
The Air Force will seek to capitalise on the increasing volume, velocity and variety of information by exploring ways to infuse autonomous processing throughout the force.
Autonomous processing encompasses the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning that enable Defence to rapidly understand and implement broader artificial intelligence developments in a transparent, explainable, and trusted manner.
The purpose of this effort is to enhance decision quality and speed by harnessing machine processing’s tempo and pattern recognition to offset human weaknesses in dealing with large volumes of information. The Air Force will also enhance our decision tempo and resilience by distributing processing power throughout the force.
The Air Force will explore new approaches to detect and track challenging targets in difficult environments from multiple perspectives. This effort will enhance the quality and resilience of force’s situational awareness by increasing sensor diversity and their ability to function in difficult operating environments. Sensing techniques that are optimised for the near region’s tropical and maritime environment, enhancing surveillance of space, bolstering the resilience and responsiveness of space-based sensors, and finding alternative methods to assure precision navigation and timing will be key priorities.
The Air Force will pursue technical integration to ensure the discrete and diverse resources — information, processors, weapons, and sensors — of its fifth-generation force can be distributed, managed, and applied as a unified whole. The purpose is to optimise decision and action tempo and increase options by removing barriers and building better pathways between resources, enabling more nodes to make and enact decisions that harness resources from across the force. Machine-to-machine integration across diverse capabilities will be a priority to optimise force-wide resource employment and enable sensor and weapon management at machine speeds.
The Air Force will investigate ways for people to thrive in and optimise a fifth-generation force in partnership with machines. This will enhance decision-making quality by fostering human creativity and flexibility in ways that best leverage the potential of a fifth-generation force. The Air Force will explore ways to ensure ethical and moral values, and legal accountabilities are observed and strengthened.
This focus area utilises human cognitive attributes to operate with machines, explore workforce requirements to understand, develop, and manage augmented intelligence; technical human-machine interaction options; and the development and testing of new operational concepts to realise the potential of fifth-generation force.
The following articles in the At the Edge magazine provide some insights and examples of work underway in these focus areas.