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Focus and Convergence Challenges for Complexity and Network Sciences. Workshop Results. Focus and Convergence Workshop 16-17 October 2007. Purposes:

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focus and convergence workshop 16 17 october 2007
Focus and Convergence Workshop16-17 October 2007


    • Identify the key challenges associated with accomplishing the functions associated with command and control in the context of complex endeavors
    • Convey these to communities whose knowledge, expertise, methods, and tools may be helpful
  • Attendees identified a few dozen C2 challenges
  • Organized into four groups to explore the nature of these challenges
    • Environment, C2 for the endeavor, value and analysis, application examples
  • Partially synthesized deliberations
complex endeavors
Complex Endeavors
  • Complex Endeavors are characterized by a large number of disparate entities that include not only various military units but also civil authorities, multi-national and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, companies, and private volunteer organizations. The effects of interest go far beyond military effects to include social, political, and economic effects.
  • The nature of the participants makes the collective action space complex while the multi-domain effects space contains complex interactions among effects of various types. In addition, the relationships between and among the action and effects spaces further contribute to the complexity of the endeavor.
Russ Abbott, Cal State-LA/ Aerospace Corporation

David Alberts, OASD/NII

Anthony Alston, QinetiQ

Robert Axtell, George Mason University/Santa Fe Institute

Michael Bell

Chris Chartier, DSC

David Dryer, JTEM

Richard Hayes, EBR

Kimberly Holloman, SAIC

Gary Horne, NPS

Rich Ivanetich, IDA

Danielle Martin, EBR

Jimmie McEver, EBR

Vincent Min, EBR

Frederick Moxley, USMA

Carl Oros, NPS

Paul Phister, AFRL

Karl Selke, EBR

David Signori, EBR

Mink Spaans, Netherlands

c2 in the 21st century
C2 in the 21st Century
  • Environment is increasingly complex (in the ordinary sense of the word – lots of diverse participants, lots of variables and interactions, difficult to parse, reductive analysis is not adequate)
  • The endeavor, consisting of a diverse set of participating entities is increasingly networked and has fuzzy, dynamic boundaries
  • This makes prediction difficult if not impossible and increases residual uncertainty and risk
  • The logical response is to increase agility to include: robustness, resilience, responsiveness, flexibility, innovativeness, and adaptability.
complex endeavors environment
Cold War View

Strategic threats were:

State actors

Rational (thought like us)

Known doctrine


Observable (physically)

Deterrence logic

Social Network facilitation:

Geographic Proximity

Person to Person (telephone)/ One-to-Many (Newspaper)

Large characteristic time scale for significant change

Current Reality

Strategic Threats are:

Range of actors

Multiple rationalities

Emergent doctrine


Less observable

No clear deterrent

Social Networks facilitation:

Virtual Environment


Scale-free time distribution for changes in environment

Complex Endeavors: Environment
complex endeavors environment 2
Cold War View

Information was:

Homogenous (state-controlled data sources or Oligarchy)

No real-time global communications

Accessibility to information often restricted (satellite imagery)

No cross-domain or scaling effects

Primarily concerned with kinetic effects

Actions scale directly related to effects scale (local actions stay local)

Local Interdependencies

Only formal structures could be global

Current Realities

Information is

Heterogeneous information sources (reporters without borders)

Real time global communications

Accessibility on-demand

Cross-domain and scaling effects

Primarily concerned with non-kinetic effects

No clear distinction between strategic, operational, tactical actions and effects

Globalization (interdependencies)

Informal structures empowered

Tipping points more prevalent

Complex Endeavors: Environment (2)
we need help in understanding the environment
We Need Help in Understanding the Environment
  • Models, tools, visualizations, and other approaches to help us better understand the environments within which endeavors of interest will operate
    • Understand nature of the interactions between/among the entities
    • Understand linkages between/among effects in different domains
    • Understand and interpret model outputs
    • Understand possible implications of abstractions/aggregations
    • Instantiating models
    • Validating models
  • Tools and approaches to help us characterize and deal with uncertainty and risk
    • Good characterizations of residual uncertainties
    • Motivating a paradigm change in thinking about prediction
  • Tools and approaches to help us understand changes as they take place in real time
complex endeavors current realities self 1
Complex Endeavors: Current Realities -- Self (1)
  • Military C2s are only a subset of a larger whole. No single governance regime
  • Multiple objectives exist with no single unifying command intent -- collective intent? informal/implicit and emergent?
  • Multiple perspectives (perhaps contradictory) exist and should be recognized and conditions created so that this can be exploited
  • Roles and responsibilities are dynamic and not clearly defined
  • Greater reliance on informal structures
  • Diverse set of competencies needed and present.
complex endeavors current realities self 2
Complex Endeavors: Current Realities -- Self (2)
  • Leaders require additional skills
  • Collaboration with wide range of actors with different cultures and goals
  • It may not be possible or desired to exercise C2 in a traditional manner even within military organizations.
  • Sensemaking is much more difficult
    • Much more difficult to correlate cause and effect
    • Difficult to distinguish between red and blue and it is dynamic and influenced by events
    • Harder to identify measures of success and to measure them
  • Need to consider self as a FoS with complex interdependencies
characteristics of effective collective c2 1
Characteristics of Effective Collective C2 (1)
  • When considering the C2-approach operational risk, uncertainty / predictability, agility must be balanced
  • The C2 organization:
    • Needs to be a learning organization
    • Must have an understanding of past, present and possible futures of:
      • All actors’ (self and non-self) roles, responsibilities, their different perspectives (their understanding), intents and motivations
        • Recognizing that the allegiance of individual actors may be difficult to identify and may change over time
      • The problem space
        • Through modeling the causal and influential network (although difficult to construct),
        • Explicitly specify what we do and don’t understand or know
    • Should explicitly be considered in terms of authority, power, “soft-mechanisms”, empowerment and task-oriented structures.
  • In a comprehensive approach all actors must understand each others’ cultures, structures, capabilities, goals, ways of working, etc.
characteristics of effective collective c2 2
Characteristics of Effective Collective C2 (2)
  • C2 organization must be considered as a FoS with complex interdependencies with cross-level, cross-scale and cross-system effects
  • The C2 organization must recognize the multiple objectives of its parts and have the ability to establish a ‘collective intent’
  • When leaders are selected / trained non-military leadership skills must be considered (e.g. negotiating, influencing, diplomacy). Note: the overall leader could be a civilian.
we need help in understanding self
We Need Help in Understanding Self
  • Creating and maintaining
    • Learning Organizations
    • Innovation
    • Trust and mistrust
    • Effective Collaboration
  • Understanding the dynamics of
    • Goal structures across participants
    • Success and failure criteria
    • Perspectives of different actors
    • Cause and effects (influences)
  • Understand how to work in the absence of trust
focus and convergence of complex endeavors
Focus and Convergence of Complex Endeavors

Governance A



Lens of Agility




(Joint Mission

Desired Effects)






help with confronting the curse of dimensionality
Help with Confronting the Curse of Dimensionality
  • Data Farming
    • C2 Characteristics
    • Governance
    • Design of Experiments
  • Network Science
    • Multiple Domain Comparative Analysis
    • Tool Development
  • Capability Test Methodology
    • Capability Evaluation Meta Model
    • Hybrid Simulation and Analysis (Combinations of ABS, Discrete Event, and System Dynamics)
  • Develop Semantics and Information Ontology to Support Synchronicity
    • Make explicit assumptions of our plans
    • Use those to monitor for and deliver high value information
    • Continuously improve on the above
help with measurement


Agility and its components











Shared Awareness

Help with Measurement