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Strategic Deterrence Programs

Improved Decision Making for USSTRATCOM Mission Planning

As part of our long-standing support of the mission of the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) in its stewardship of the nation’s strategic capabilities, we have continued development of a rapid strike mission planning capability prototype. New enhancements provide better collaborative decision-making processes, supported by multiple and integrated courses of action, and deliver measures of effectiveness with confidence assessments, where applicable. This prototype capability has been recently demonstrated to both the service and acquisition communities as a tool to enable prompt strikes against time-critical targets.

Developing Tests to Create Trusted Electronics

In collaboration with Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, APL is helping the U.S. Navy protect their supply chain of electronic parts and assemblies from being contaminated by counterfeit and maliciously manipulated parts. We are developing a new approach incorporating risk-based analyses to determine what tests should be conducted on these parts and assemblies and how many should be tested. This approach takes into account the architecture of the system, the robustness of the supply chain, and quantifiable confidence in various underlying parameters.

Finding Undiscovered Trends in Weapons Systems’ “Big Data”

Applying the tenets of Big Data that are also being applied to various other Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Homeland Security problems, including tracking potential terrorists, we are helping Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) get a handle on their diverse data collected over several years from several subcontractors in both digital and handwritten forms. The primary goal is to give the director of SSP, branch heads, and mid-level managers a dashboard view of the status of the entire U.S. Navy nuclear deterrence enterprise. A secondary goal is to discover previously undetected connections between diverse data streams that might be able to be used to focus future research and development efforts at SSP.

A New Submarine GPS Antenna for Rough Seas

To allow for more consistent reception of GPS data at speed and depth, we have developed a more advanced GPS antenna to be incorporated into the trailing wire antenna deployed by submarines from the AN/BRR-6 towed buoy. The new antenna assembly includes components to allow for GPS reception in high sea states by incorporating a frictionless connection between the primary wire and the antenna elements. These roll-invariant components maintain the overall buoyancy of the antenna and the upward orientation of the GPS elements while allowing the trailing wire to twist and turn in the prevailing currents and waves.

Cost Savings Through Risk–Benefit Analysis of System Requirements

In 2011, the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs established a program plan to address key risk areas. Most efforts to date have examined the Strategic Weapon System (SWS) architecture to discover opportunities to maintain demonstrated performance at reduced cost. We approached the problem from a different viewpoint than other researchers, hypothesizing that costs could be reduced by relaxing select system requirements. The Laboratory developed the Requirement Affordability Analysis, a process that evaluates changes in system performance and cost savings that might accrue from relaxed requirements. Input and data from multiple stakeholders were crucial in the process, as was APL expertise in analysis and systems. Several options were ultimately generated, with one providing both increased performance and cost savings. Although the test cases examined high-level SWS requirements, the process is scalable and can be extended to requirements that affect the system, subsystem, and component levels.