3.6 Advanced Weather Tactical Decision Aids: Improving Mission Success Through a Collaborative Common Operating Picture

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 9:45 AM
615 (Washington State Convention Center )
Glenn Higgins, Northrop Grumman, Chantilly, VA; and K. Darmenova, B. MacCall, Y. Wang, B. P. Reen, R. E. Dumais Jr., G. Huynh, and D. I. Knapp

Weather information is a critical component of the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). It factors into many aspects of mission performance including mobility, warfighter effectiveness, weapon system effectiveness, etc.  Various weather impact/tactical decision aids have been developed over the years by the Joint Services, Academia, and Industry that combine weather information and forecasts with other factors (e.g. operational parameters, terrain) in physics, rules-based, and machine learning models, to quantify the projected impact of weather on operations. Yet, the majority of the decision aids are still not reaching the field as a part of the tactical decision-making process. An unresolved problem is the lack of a Common Operating Picture (COP) across the echelons for displaying and sharing critical mission information, including weather effects, within the area of operations tailored to the commander’s requirements. Furthermore, geospatial analysts often do not have sufficient time to wait for weather product updates from the deployed Staff Weather Officer (SWO) to integrate into their terrain analysis, so they frequently rely on other sources of weather data to accomplish their tasks. Here we present a synergistic approach for integrating authoritative actionable weather products, terrain and tactical information data pertinent to mission planning and execution. The platform used to facilitate the COP is Northrop Grumman’s Geospatial Decision Support System (GDSS). GDSS integrates several open source packages to create a simple yet robust web application for accessing, assembling, searching and viewing weather, climate, infrastructure, socio-economic, and other geospatial information. The authoritative weather data for this experimental capability is produced by the Advanced Research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF-ARW) and ARL’s own 3D Wind Field (3DWF) Model.  Together, these models are used by ARL for research and development of Now-casting atmospheric modeling systems at the meso-gamma scale to the microscale to support warfighters.  The data produced by these models are used by GDSS to illustrate how the MDMP can benefit from blending ARL’s high-resolution model data with mission-specific information within a single COP for the purpose of planning, execution and assessment of operations in an urban combat environment which is strongly impacted by the wind patterns in urban canyons.
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