Army Research Laboratory Broad Agency Announcement for Basic and Applied Scientific Research -- W911NF-17-S-0003

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is the Department of the Army’s corporate laboratory and sole fundamental research laboratory. It is dedicated to scientific discovery, technological innovation, and the transition of knowledge products. ARL is situated within the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) – a U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Major Subordinate Command (MSC). The ARL mission is to “Discover, innovate, and transition Science and Technology (S&T) to ensure dominant strategic land power”. To accomplish its mission, ARL executes fundamental research to address enduring S&T challenges identified by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology [ASA(ALT)] and by priorities articulated by the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA). In addition, the laboratory conducts research and analysis in emerging fields that may realize novel or vastly improved Army capabilities into the deep future (2030 and beyond).  

The ARL BAA identifies topics of interest to the ARL Directorates (Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, Human Research and Engineering Directorate, Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate, Vehicle and Technology Directorate, and Weapons and Materials Research Directorate). The Directorates focus on executing in-house research programs, with a significant emphasis on collaborative research with other organizations in an Open Campus setting (Open Campus opportunities are described in detail at http://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?page=2357). The Directorates fund a modest amount of extramural research in certain specific areas, and those areas are described in this BAA. 

The ARL BAA seeks proposals from institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, foreign organizations, foreign public entities, and for-profit organizations (i.e. large and small businesses) for research based on the following S&T campaigns: Computational Sciences, Materials Research, Sciences for Maneuver, Information Sciences, Sciences for Lethality and Protection, Human Sciences, and Assessment and Analysis. Further details are described in the ARL Technical Strategy and in the ARL S&T Campaigns located at www.arl.army.mil. These documents are subject to periodic refinements which may result in taxonomy inconsistencies. These inconsistencies should not affect the efficacy of the BAA to present a complete portfolio of essential ARL research.  

Proposals are sought for cutting-edge innovative research that could produce discoveries with a significant impact to enable new and improved Army technologies and related operational capabilities and related technologies. The specific research areas and topics of interest described in this document should be viewed as suggestive, rather than limiting.  

This BAA is a continuously open announcement valid throughout the period from the date of issuance through 31 March 2022, unless announced otherwise

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

SPECIAL NOTICE FOR ADVANCED AI/AA ANALYTICS

Deadline: April 12, 2021

The U.S. Army Contracting Command – Aberdeen Proving Ground, Research Triangle Park Division, on behalf of the CCDC Data & Analysis Center is soliciting proposals under: “7. ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT (AA) CAMPAIGN a. KCI‐AA‐1: Methodology for A&A of Complex Systems and Technologies across Multiple Domains” &   “9. AMRY AI TASK FORCE RESEARCH INTERESTS b. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)”   of the ARL Core Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Basic and Applied Scientific Research, W911NF‐17‐S‐0003‐09. 

DEVCOM DAC is soliciting proposals under this Special Notice of the BAA for the performance of applied research focused on developing a suitable analytical and simulation framework for artificial intelligence and assistive automation (AI/AA) systems to ensure these systems can be assessed and evaluated properly by the Army. The framework should include live, virtual, and constructive simulations to model the AI/AA in relevant Army operational situations. The framework should enable the DEVCOM DAC to perform: direct measurement, trade off analysis, performance and effectiveness analysis, development of data for higher‐level force‐ on‐force models, and sustainability analysis. These analyses will enable Senior Army decision makers to better integrate AI/AA systems into the Army structure. As part of this framework, metrics and their underlying variables should be developed, defined and delivered. These experimental, calculated, or modeled metrics must have high explanatory value in appropriately capturing the most important determinants of the performance and effectiveness of the AI/AA technology‐human operator ensemble.

The Army, like world industry, has many automated or partially automated systems under consideration that will employ artificial intelligence (AI).  Some of the planned assistive automation (AA) will only be as complex as an alarm clock, but longer term commercial and Army goals will push against current AI state‐of‐the‐art.  For example, future Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) will employ advanced machine learning (ML) techniques. Future Cyber‐ security applications must be able leverage self‐learned mitigation techniques to incoming attacks faster than a human can respond. Development, validation, and application of these sophisticated new technologies require the Army to figure out how to specify, analyze, and evaluate AI/AA that may react in unforeseen and unintended ways to new stimuli. Even more challenging will be self‐driving technologies, ground‐based and airspace auto‐navigation capabilities, and air‐defense systems required to react so quickly to approaching obstacles or incoming threats that they must be virtually autonomous.

There is not yet a well‐established framework, analytic metrics, measurement techniques, analytical tools, analytical and simulation environments, and data collection architectures for assessing AI/AA in either benign or contested environments. This gap is serious now, and will become even more critical as commercial and military system continue to operate in more dynamic environments. AI/AA systems will require analysis for many different uses: developer driven trade‐offs; evaluator assessments of effectiveness, suitability, and survivability; support of senior decision makers; and sustainability analysis for life‐cycle costing. In addition, the Army has additional criteria to include inputs to the Army’s force‐level models that will assess the overall contribution of the AI/AA to Army operations.

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty

Category

Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Social Sciences

External Deadline

March 31, 2022