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Trident Warrior Process
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What is The Trident Warrior Process?                            

By Brad Poeltler and Dr. Shelley Gallup
CHIPS Magazine, April 2005

FORCEnet is the core of Sea Power 21 and Naval Transformation, and is the Navy and Marine Corps vehicle to make Network Centric Operations/Warfare an operational reality.  FORCEnet is the “the command and control pillar that gives speed and agility to the commander who can then optimally employ Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing by integrating weapons, sensors, reachback centers, and warfighters at all levels  into a secure networked, distributed combat force, as part of the Global Information Grid.”   

In order for the Naval leadership to make accurate and timely decisions about the pathway and procurement of future FORCEnet capabilities, accurate and timely information is vital.  The Naval Network Warfare Command (NNWC), as the operational agent for FORCEnet, has chosen a series of annual events, “Trident Warrior (TW), to produce the experimentation environment in which to obtain information.

The U.S. Navy has a long history of field experimentation and assessment.  FORCEnet experimentation presents additional challenges due to the huge complexity of FORCEnet data and information systems, which includes “humans-in-the –loop.” A formal process and structured approach to experimentation definition and design is essential. “What makes Trident Warrior different from other naval assessment events is the level of detail of the assessment data.  That level of detail can be attributed to the Trident Warrior process.”  Says CAPT Chris Abbott, the director of FORCEnet Innovation and Experimentation.  “The strict compliance to this process is what ensures the event consistency and allows us to maintain a high standard in our FORCEnet assessments.”   To produce the experimentation objectives, experiment design, planning requirements and assessment needs, a thirteen step process was established (fig. 1).  This process was not simply invented from “scratch” but evolved from NPS’s experience with former Fleet Battle Experiments, from the Modular Command and Control Evaluations System (MCES) and from the Code of Best Practices in Experimentation (COBPE) produced by the CCRP.

Outlining the very complex task of experiment development makes the tasks seem routine, and in fact much in the collection of steps seems a logical progression when presented in this view.  However, constant iteration occurs within each step, and between steps.  This iteration may or may not be sequential, which presents a very large management and tracking task for experiment directors.  Also, the process is unique in the in-depth development of the objectives (step 5), the detailed models that are developed for each objective (step 6) and the computer based enterprise environment designed for Trident Warrior planning and execution – FORCEnet Innovation and Research Enterprise (FIRE) developed and operated by NPS. FIRE allows the collaboration and iteration within process steps and between process steps to occur with minimum direction and management, greatly decreasing the overhead associated with complex experiment design development.

As mentioned, the TW process begins as any large event - with planning team development, concept design, target technology / procedural selection and asset identification.  But beginning with step 5 – objective development – TW’s begins to differ.  “This step is critical to the success or failure of the event.” Says says TW05 Director CDR Tony Parrillo.  Each critical question that is identified as a FORCEnet issue is developed as a TW objective with the final assessment always in focus.  “That is what we call the “so what” element that is an intended outcome of a Trident Warrior event.  “If it does not meet the “so what test”, we drop that objective and move on.”  

TW objectives are given exceptional detail by decomposing each into the following eight categories:  objective statement (a high level description of what the objective is intended to produce), FORCEnet questions to be answered, the information goal (intent of the assessment), operational conditions required to produce valid data relevant to the question being asked, systems conditions required, information conditions required, measures and metrics that will be collected and finally the data required to produce the assessment which meets the objective statement.  This step can take several months to complete given that a typical TW can generate up to 150 separate objectives.  But when these questions are correctly focused at the right level of detail the rest of the event design is optimized.

Once the objectives are identified then the TW planners begin step 6 – construction of models.  For each of the objectives, a model is produced, beginning with a generalized model using Integrated Definition 0 (IDEF0) as a basis. (fig. 2).which is followed typically by an Operational Sequence Development model (OSD) (fig. 3). This work has obvious intended purposes, such as identifying requirements that drive planning, but another purpose is to produce common descriptions for each objective that are then used for collaboration across all TW objectives, which produces much higher integration of experiment design and supports the “system and system-of-system” view that is at the core of FORCEnet.   Modeling, common to systems analysis and systems engineering, are designed with the final assessment in mind in addition to surfacing planning requirements.  This focus helps identify the critical points for training, event design and data collection.  Below are examples of diagrams done during TW 04 for the FORCEnet objective of bandwidth management.  The IDEF model uses a standard syntax and set of very simple rules in which a verb phrase in the central box describes what is to be achieved, inputs enter the left side of the box, controls enter from the top, resources from the bottom and output to the right.  At the very high level, each IDEF0 models the requirements for an objective.

From the initial IDEF0 model, a more complete description of the system components and their relationships to each other can combined in an OSD view, such as the one shown below.  This view does not replace other architecture, engineering and systems views common to systems engineering, however as a high level description of the system, it is invaluable to further planning and experiment design.

These two modeling diagrams become the principal visual reference used in the remaining TW planning steps including event design and development of the data collection plan.  Another benefit of this TW step is that many of the objectives developed for a TW are cognitive in nature vice technical.  These diagrams when applied to human system interface (HSI) questions provide insight into refinement of tactics, techniques and procedure (TTP) data collection and assessment requirements..

The final unique feature of the TW process is the FORECEnet Innovation and Research Enterprise (FIRE).  FIRE was developed out of the need for structured data collection, data reconstruction for analysis, and generation of TW analysis reports.  No such system has previously existed, and Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), the analysis lead for TW, was asked to examine different approaches.   NPS developed FIRE as an enterprise computing solution, based on Oracle 9i and Oracle 10g technology, with unique artificial intelligence applications added.

Final results from TW reports must be “connected” between FORCEnet concepts, experiment objectives, modeling diagrams and down to the data. In past, constructing this design had been exceedingly time consuming, and manpower intensive.  FIRE makes this quite easy, fast and with greatly reduced level of effort.  TW planning is exceedingly dependent on collaboration between wide ranges of expertise that all need access to this data.  This includes military, government and contractors.   FIRE uses artificial intelligence (AI) tools to aid in searches across a broad set of information, for example long documents, chat files, where planners are trying to pull specific data that typically takes a long time to do manually.  “Fuzzy logic” tools are used to pull the best approximation for what is being searched for from the document.

Although the process described here may seem overly “prescriptive,” this very intense work results in a level of detail that is necessary to critical FORCEnet decisions.  Several of the recommendations resulting of from earlier Trident Warriors have resulted in major modifications to ship installation schedules and future FORCEnet capability procurement.  “I have come to rely on Trident Warrior information and assessments.”  Says VADM James Macarthur, Commander of NNWC.  Furthermore Chief of Naval Operations future requirements division (CNO N7) has begun to utilize Trident Warrior as a primary means for field testing Naval Capabilities Development Plan (NCDP) issues prior to critical POM decisions.

Trident Warrior 05 is currently being planned for a Nov/Dec execution utilizing the IWO JIMA Expeditionary Strike Group in the VACAPES operation area.  The FORCEnet analysis objectives range from operational level C2 decision aids to coalition network design.


Click here for information on TRIDENT WARRIOR 05.
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Click here for information on TRIDENT WARRIOR 07.
Click here for information on TRIDENT WARRIOR 08.
Click here for information on TRIDENT WARRIOR 09.
Click here for information on TRIDENT WARRIOR 10.
Click here for information on the TRIDENT WARRIOR Process.
Click here for information on the TRIDENT WARRIOR Calendar.

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ITMG provides support to SPAWAR for FORCEnet initiatives by participating Trident Warrior 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08 and now in 2009 as the Network Lead Engineer, Experiment Design Director and the Network Integration team.

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