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Combining Technical and Human-Centered Strategies for Decision Support in Command and Control - The ComPlan Approach
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, MDALAB - Human Computer Interfaces. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2008 (English)In: ISCRAM2008 Proceedings of the 5th International ISCRAM Conference / [ed] F. Fiedrich and B. Van de Walle, 2008, 504-515 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

ComPlan (A Combined, Collaborative Command and Control Planning tool) is an approach to providing knowledge-based decision support in the context of command and control. It combines technical research on automated planning tools with human-centered research on mission planning. At its core, ComPlan uses interconnected views of a planning situation to present and manipulate aspects of a scenario. By using domain knowledge flexibly, it presents immediate and directly visible feedback on constraint violations of a plan, facilitates mental simulation of events, and provides support for synchronization of concurrently working mission planners. The conceptual framework of ComPlan is grounded on three main principles from human-centered research on command and control: transparency, graceful regulation, and event-based feedback. As a result, ComPlan provides a model for applying a human-centered perspective on plan authoring tools for command and control, and a demonstration for how to apply that model in an integrated plan-authoring environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. 504-515 p.
Keyword [en]
Decision support, mixed-initiative planning, critiquing, cognitive systems engineering
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-42584Local ID: 66339OAI: diva2:263441
5th International ISCRAM Conference, May 4-7, Washington, DC, USA
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2013-12-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Affordances and Constraints of Intelligent Decision Support for Military Command and Control: Three Case Studies of Support Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Affordances and Constraints of Intelligent Decision Support for Military Command and Control: Three Case Studies of Support Systems
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Möjligheter och begränsningar med intelligent  beslutsstöd i militär ledning : Tre fallstudier av teknikstöd
Abstract [en]

Researchers in military command and control (C2) have for several decades sought to help commanders by introducing automated, intelligent decision support systems. These systems are still not widely used, however, and some researchers argue that this may be due to those problems that are inherent in the relationship between the affordances of technology and the requirements by the specific contexts of work in military C2. In this thesis, we study some specific properties of three support techniques for analyzing and automating aspects of C2 scenarios that are relevant for the contexts of work in which they can be used.

The research questions we address concern (1) which affordances and constraints of these technologies are of most relevance to C2, and (2) how these affordances and limitations can be managed to improve the utility of intelligent decision support systems in C2. The thesis comprises three case studies of C2 scenarios where intelligent support systems have been devised for each scenario.

The first study considered two military planning scenarios: planning for medical evacuations and similar tactical operations. In the study, we argue that the plan production capabilities of automated planners may be of less use than their constraint management facilities. ComPlan, which was the main technical system studied in the first case study, consisted of a highly configurable, collaborative, constraint-management framework for planning in which constraints could be used either to enforce relationships or notify users of their validity during planning. As a partial result of the first study, we proposed three tentative design criteria for intelligent decision support: transparency, graceful regulation and event-based feedback.

The second study was of information management during planning at the operational level, where we used a C2 training scenario from the Swedish Armed Forces and the documents produced during the scenario as a basis for studying properties of Semantic Desktops as intelligent decision support. In the study, we argue that (1) due to the simultaneous use of both documents and specialized systems, it is imperative that commanders can manage information from heterogeneous sources consistently, and (2) in the context of a structurally rich domain such as C2, documents can contain enough information about domain-specific concepts that occur in several applications to allow them to be automatically extracted from documents and managed in a unified manner. As a result of our second study, we present a model for extending a general semantic desktop ontology with domain-specific concepts and mechanisms for extracting and managing semantic objects from plan documents. Our model adheres to the design criteria from the first case study.

The third study investigated machine learning techniques in general and text clustering in particular, to support researchers who study team behavior and performance in C2. In this study, we used material from several C2 scenarios which had been studied previously. We interviewed the participating researchers about their work profiles, evaluated machine learning approaches for the purpose of supporting their work and devised a support system based on the results of our evaluations. In the study, we report on empirical results regarding the precision possible to achieve when automatically classifying messages in C2 workflows and present some ramifications of these results on the design of support tools for communication analysis. Finally, we report how the prototype support system for clustering messages in C2 communications was conceived by the users, the utility of the design criteria from case study 1 when applied to communication analysis, and the possibilities for using text clustering as a concrete support tool in communication analysis.

In conclusion, we discuss how the affordances and constraints of intelligent decision support systems for C2 relate to our design criteria, and how the characteristics of each work situation demand new adaptations of the way in which intelligent support systems are used.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 154 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1381
Decision Support, planning, machine learning, information management, Command and Control
National Category
Computer Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67630 (URN)978-91-7393-133-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-17, Key 1, Hus Key, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-04-20 Last updated: 2012-03-27Bibliographically approved
2. User-centric critiquing in command and control: the DKExpert and ComPlan approaches
Open this publication in new window or tab >>User-centric critiquing in command and control: the DKExpert and ComPlan approaches
2007 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis describes two approaches for using critiquing as decision support for military mission planning. In our work, we have drawn from both human-centered research as well as results on decision support systems research for military mission planning when devising approaches for knowledge acquisition and decision support for mission planning.

Our two approaches build on a common set of requirements which have been developed as the consequence of both literature analyses as well as interview studies. In short, these criteria state that critiquing systems should be developed with transparency, ease of use and integration in traditional work flow in mind. The use of these criteria is illustrated in two approaches to decision support in two different settings: a collaborative real-time war-gaming simulation and a planning tool for training mission commanders.

Our first approach is demonstrated by the DKExpert system, in which end-users can create feedback mechanisms for their own needs when playing a two-sided war-game scenario in the DKE simulation environment. In DKExpert, users can choose to trigger feedback during the game by instructing a rule engine to recognize critical situations. Our second approach, ComPlan, builds on the insights on knowledge and planning representation gained from DKExpert and introduces an explicit representation of planning operations, thereby allowing for better analysis of planning operations and user-controlled feedback. ComPlan also demonstrates a design for critiquing support systems that respects the traditional work practice of mission planners while allowing for intelligent analysis of military plans. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2007. 76 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1309
National Category
Computer Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-38256 (URN)43288 (Local ID)978-91-85715-15-2 (ISBN)43288 (Archive number)43288 (OAI)
2007-05-21, Visionen, Hus B, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2013-12-18

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