AFRL’s Information Directorate is located in Rome NY. Rome Air Development Center (RADC), the predecessor organization to AFRL Rome Research Site, began operations at Griffiss on June 12, 1951. RADC was the Air Force’s research and development of ground electronics and intelligence systems. In 1990, RADC became Rome Laboratory as part of an Air Force Laboratory consolidation. In 1995, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRACC) closed Griffiss Air Force Base but maintained Rome Laboratory as a “stand alone” facility. In 1997, the Air Force consolidated its laboratories into Air Force Research Laboratory and established the AFRL Rome Research Site. Rome Research Site draws on a 60 year tradition of excellence researching and developing revolutionary technologies such as troposcatter and satellite communications, long-distance radios, phased array radars, computer networks and software, electronic reliability tests and standards. RADC was one of the original 21 nodes of the ARPANET, the pioneering computer network that we know today as the internet. These advances became beneficial not only to the Nation’s military, but its citizens’ everyday lives as well. The transistor, the integrated circuit, the personal computer, the laser and the compact disc all advanced from the research at AFRL Rome Research Site.
Today, AFRL’s Information Directorate is focused on Information Technology which holds the key for the future of battlespace command and control. Situation awareness of who the enemy is, real-time knowledge of what is happening, and exploiting techniques to rapidly transfer critical information to the decision makers are all crucial. Information superiority will allow warfighters to dominate and control battlespace – control that is essential to virtually all joint warfighting capabilities in the 21st Century.
Command, Control, Communications, Cyber, and Intelligence (C4I) is the key enabler of the Air Force’s ability to conduct its mission to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace. Air Force Laboratory/Information Directorate’s ability to conceive, develop, and transition compelling C4I capabilities provides the science and technology backbone to support the AF vision of Global Vigilance, Reach and Power for our Nation
To achieve its mission, the Information Directorate focuses its research and development in four Core Technical Competency (CTC) areas; Autonomy, Command and Control (C2), and Decision Support, Processing and Exploitation, Connectivity and Dissemination, and Cyber Science and Technology.
The Autonomy, Command and Control (C2), and Decision Support CTC delivers distributed, resilient, timely, integrated C2 decision making technologies for the monitor, assess, plan and execute processes associated with Air Force command, control, and intelligence operations. Focus is on technology to present actionable information to military decision-makers and anticipate future adversarial and indigenous population activity. Being able to synchronize actions across air, space, and cyberspace and deliver agile C2 capabilities for future dynamic conflicts is critical. Research is focused on building trusted highly autonomous systems to enable machine-aided decision support.
The Processing and Exploitation CTC leads the discovery, development, and transition of all-source processing and exploitation innovations for the Air Force and joint communities. Focus is on creating advanced techniques, architectures and prototypes to intercept, collect, and process sensor and intelligence data; the computing and algorithms behind transforming raw data into information. Challenges center on managing, processing, and exploiting current massive amounts of ISR data flows to analyze Patterns of Life and infer relationships and assessment of the current situation.
The Connectivity and Dissemination CTC provides assured, mission-responsive communications and secure information exchange for the Air Force and joint communities; putting the right information into the right hands at the right time. A key challenge is developing layered communications and mission-aware networks, from platforms to capabilities, in congested and contested RF environment. Research involves cross-domain multimedia information sharing and mission-aware prioritized resource management.
The Cyber Science and Technology CTC creates the future Air Force and joint service assured operating environments that provide for mission aware and resilient full spectrum capabilities; leveraging and shaping the cyber domain to US advantage. The challenge is providing Mission Assurance while moving from cyber defense to resilience and developing trusted computing regardless of supply chain. Research is focused on mission modeling and cyber situational awareness for assuring effective missions, cyber agility to disrupt/deny adversary attack planning, cyber resiliency to fight through and recover from attack, hardware & software “Root of Trust” for computational platform assurance, and full spectrum cyber operations for Cyberspace Superiority.
AFRL also has two very unique test ranges; the Stockbridge and Newport facilities. The Stockbridge Facility is used for development and evaluation of advanced RF/optical communications systems, radar imaging systems, foliage penetration studies and for communications link experiments with small unmanned aircraft systems. The facility provides a controllable RF interference environment for time varying analysis and evaluation of communications systems. A Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) airfield is also operational within the facility.
The Newport Facility is comprised of five independent data acquisition facilities and eight measurement ranges. All ranges and both hills are interconnected with a fiber optic network with an interface to instrumentation and a high data rate link to AFRL Rome Research Site. The five primary ranges are fully instrumented with signal sources, antennas, amplifiers, receivers, computers, displays, recording systems, fiber optic interfaces, positioned controllers and high speed multiplex systems. Simultaneous operation of four ranges is possible. Automated data acquisition allows data to be available in real-time for analysis and recorded digitally for future off-line analysis. The facility is used primarily to obtain antenna patterns and to perform isolation measurements on full size tactical aircraft such as the F-35, F-22, A-10, F-15, F-16, various helicopters (Blackhawk/Seahawk), remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) sections of the
B-1B, KC-135, C-130, and future aircraft prototypes. Other types of systems such as ground vehicles, specialized aircraft, and satellites are also evaluated in accordance with the needs of their specific programs.
In this issue of the Cyber Security and Information Systems Information Analysis Center (CSIAC) Journal we present several articles on the technologies and capabilities being developed at AFRL Rome Research Site.