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The coming transformation of network-centric RSTA: concept, technologies, benefits and challenges

Dr. Gavin Pearson
Ministry of Defense in UK

October 1, 2008
Lally 102, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Refreshments at 3:30 p.m.


This talks covers (1) the potential transformation of network-centric RSTA coming from increased networking (with networks-of-networks), increased processing power (and steady migration of tasks from human to machines) and increased data storage, (2) the benefits of this transformation to the military,(3) some of the resulting challenges to achieve the vision, and (4) the role of the International Technology Alliance (ITA) in Network and Information Science (NIS) in achieving this goal. The well understood lack of a "silver bullet" sensor technology which can provide everything wanted from Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) using a single sensor type on a single platform, combined with the improved ability to network multiple platforms together is at the heart of the growth in network-centric RSTA. When this is linked to the growth in data storage capacity (c.f. memories for life) then a much richer and more beneficial opportunity for the transformation of network-centric RSTA opens out. In particular the long term storage of sensor data (at detection or pre-detection points in the sensor processing chain) enables the traditional one-way data fusion (or sensor information processing) approach to be turned into a much richer two-way process where higher level context is used routinely, hypothesis testing is the norm and the system can report on both the positive presence and absence of "targets" of interest.


Gavin Pearson is a Capability Advisor to the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition & Surveillance (ISTAR) Capability Planning Groups (CPGs) within the UK Ministry of Defence: thus involved with technical side of planning, directing and assessing research & (some) development in this area. Formerly, his focus area was the systems to gather data and information (from radar to humans): currently his focus area is the process of managing ISTAR and the conversion of gathered information to intelligence (and associated information management). Thus, his interests range from future camera systems to the training of all-source analysts, and all points in between: but with a particular focus on what future capability is required and how to develop that capability.

Hosted by: Dr. Boleslaw K. Szymanski (x2714)

Last updated: September 15, 2008