EOI: Call for C2 Sociotechnical Experimentation Collaboration
Defence has initiated the Agile Command and Control STaR Shot program to transform how military capabilities are synthesised into a more effective and resilient force, able to operate and prevail across all levels of command, across all domains, and in all environments.
This EOI is calling on potential academic partners to explore a range of topics that shape the efficacy of an organisation’s C2 - sociotechnical system, with a principal focus on the integration of command and control of operations in the physical environment with effects in the information environment. In doing so, this EOI seeks to inform the critical C2 challenges, including:
- How to implement Defence end-to-end joint all domain C2 organisational change, to achieve multi-domain operations posturing the ADF to deliver synchronised effects, and;
- How to optimise Defence’s C2 approach to operate in contested, congested and denied environments while withstanding operational shocks.
DSTG are seeking academic partners to propose and conduct a body of research in collaboration with DSTG scientists that addresses these challenges, through an experiment that integrates teams comprised of participants working in a fire fighting simulation performing coordinated tasks in the physical (i.e.. firefighting) and information (i.e. social media) environment.
Working with DSTG scientists, you will develop an experimentation plan to test C2 – sociotechnical system design employing teams of participants in simulated activities, through a computer laboratory environment. A fire-fighting scenario has been chosen as a representation of activities in the physical environment requiring critical decision making under time pressure and coordination across multiple capabilities.
Two pieces of software have been proposed for this experimentation: C3Fires for simulating the fire and fire-fighting assets (e.g. fire and water trucks) that in the physical environment, and Conducttr for simulating the team information systems, information flows and information actors. DSTG researchers will assist in the acquisition and training in these applications with successful project partners. Applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with these applications before submitting their proposal.
Topic of Interest
When conducting crisis management, information effects have an impact on the effectiveness and agility of teams responding to a physical threat such as a bushfire, flood or pandemic. The rise of social media has drastically influenced actions in the information environment, changing the nature of crisis management. Social media has been speculated to have played a significant role in the events of the 2020 bushfires. Misinformation around the origins of the fires included stories of mass arson and ecoterrorism. Similarly, social media was an enabler for the phenomenon of disaster tourism. In this regard, social media may have had a negative impact on safety of the public or access by emergency response teams. Social media however also played a critical role in rapidly communicating with citizens in at-risk fire zones, distributing important fire safety guidance, and facilitating community-led support for people affected by the fires.
In the event of future bushfires, how can effects in the information domain be harnessed, and combined with effects such as the deployment of firetrucks, water supply, and emergency evacuation? Whereas traditional means of employment of physical emergency services have evolved to be planned together to integrate seamlessly, information effects remain a bespoke after-thought. Possible research questions include “How can physical and information effects be integrated?”, “What are the barriers to integrating physical and information effects?”, and “How immersed in the public discourse should emergency response teams be for effective and agile response?”
Investigators may also choose to additionally examine other facets of team composition. Modern Defence teams are culturally and professionally diverse, and can leverage this diversity to enhance the team’s collective knowledge and wisdom. To achieve this, Defence needs to understand the challenges and biases that can impede diverse teams.
Due to the current pandemic there is a need to consider the location of study participants, who may need to participate remotely due to restrictions at the time of experimentation. Investigators may wish to consider this in their applications, and may also choose to propose a study design that considers the factors enabling success for distributed teams, which is not only becoming an important topic of interest for Defence, but most government and private organisations.
Call for Research Partners
DSTG are seeking academic partners who are interested in establishing an ongoing C2 science research capability, to explore current and future C2 topics.
- The call is open to researchers of all career tenures;
- The lead investigator must be employed by and undertake the project at an Australian university;
- Co-investigators may be employed by the same, or another Australian university;
- There are no requirements for discipline knowledge, but investigators should demonstrate sufficient knowledge in a related field (such as psychology, management or political sciences).
- Investigators are not required to hold an Australian security clearance, however may be eligible for sponsorship.
Funding will be provided through the Agile C2 Starshot, and subject to the level of involvement and committed resources of the academic partner. Provision of funding will be subject to the completion of milestones and deliverables negotiated between DSTG and the successful applicant, with the possibility to extend on an ongoing annual basis.
- Demonstrated capability and experience to conduct experimentation of human teams.
- Ability to attract research participants;
- Suitable facilities to support a computer-based laboratory experiment
- Signatory to the Defence Science Partnering Deed, DSP 2.0.
- Capacity to develop and grow a sovereign C2 science research capability within their institution, and promote an ongoing partnership with Defence.
How to Apply
Submissions are now closed.
The nature of this research and its subject matter may be perceived as relevant to the STaRshot – Agile Command & Control. The party or parties involved in or undertaking this particular research activity should be aware that it does not provide them with any formal relationship with the relevant STaR Shot activity. Any future STaR Shot activity will be subject to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, in particular, relating to non-discrimination and ethical behaviours. In short, this research activity will not advantage a party in future arrangements.
Dr Wesley McTernan
Telephone: (02) 5128 1189 │ 0417 839 302