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Contested Logistics

Certus Core was born out of the idea that transformational innovation is needed in many industries if we are going to be able to meet the challenges ahead of us in the next two decades. With the rise of China as a global superpower, a Defense pivot to Strategic Competition, and massive upheaval in many industries due to innovations in the artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data understanding spaces, a new mindset is needed in order to meet modern-day conflict. Certus rapidly innovates and enables Defense partners to meet these new challenges by augmenting customer’s human intellect with expert knowledge enabling rapid, informed decisions.

In a rapidly evolving warfare global landscape, logistics, and more importantly, the ability to be logistically successful in a contested environment, will be a key differentiator between maintaining superiority and defeat. For the military, these capabilities for success are of the utmost importance considering the next large conflict is anticipated to be primarily conducted across the land and littoral battlefield, a challenge which the Department of Defense is already preparing for and experiencing. In this dynamic environment, the military must be able to address their logistics challenges in a manner and in situations which are unprecedented. In order to be successful, there are foundational sets of requirements which must be addressed.

Air Force Refueling Application - Defense of Taiwan

A critical mission focus is operational planning for the defense of Taiwan. In this scenario, The Air Force is conducting Agile Combat Employment (ACE) mission planning. The PACAF A3 has been tasked with ACE Scheme of Maneuver based in multiple locations per the ACE doctrine: Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, USA; Yokota Air Base, Japan; Kadena Air Base, Japan; Osan Air Base, Korea; Misawa Air Base, Japan; Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam; Tinian International Airport, Tinian.

The A3 Air Operations personnel want to know if they can use standard operational data to help efficiently plan for the defense of Taiwan with a selected set of available airframes. They have identified three initial data sets: NGA’s DAFIF data (Air Ops standard listing all flight lines and known flight paths), Open Street Maps, and Natural Earth. Given ACE mission planning in the PACAF area, which of the bases listed offers the most fuel-efficient flight paths to support refueling routes for the defense of Taiwan for KC-135 air refuelers? An ideal outcome would be a geospatial product as the Air Ops flight planners could plot results in a C2 tool for commanders.

First, PACAF Air Ops would most likely look at the data with their analytic staff to determine which data features are most pertinent to their mission planning efforts. Based on an analysis of the Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File data (DAFIF), it looks like Holding Patterns, Training Routes, and Refueling Routes are of highest importance to refueling operations: these data dimensions are placed at the core of the analytic model.

After going through the modeling process and querying the data output, the resultant visualization should represent the Air Operations model results leveraging its essential data features. The visualization below is an example of the expected output, presented in a form that the typical Air Operations user, regardless if they made the query or not, would understand and be able to interpret.

Ideally the geospatial product would be loaded into a Command & Control system to enable better use by Airmen to aid Air Ops decision-making.

Operational Relevance and System Parameters

Certus Core’s Semantic Knowledge Graph (sKG) is a suite of solutions which can be engineered for military use, as well as deliver value into military data structures and query methodologies. The solution is currently used in commercial and government applications. sKG is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer to all of your data problems but a solution which can be applied generally or specifically to data challenges. It is a solution set that serves non-technical users through a natural language query interface which is powered by offline Large Language Models (LLMs); data analyst users through connections to popular analytic tools such as Tableau, Power BI, FNA, or Excel; and data scientist and/or data engineer users through a Jupyter Notebook and our API interface.

sKG is a horizontally and vertically scalable datastore that supports natural language, graph traversal, and keyword search queries in order to enable machine learning and artificial intelligence in operations and supply chain for the military. sKG also uses a scalable ETL pipeline that supports instrumentation and on-the-fly modifications. The underpinning datastore is ScyllaDB, which is an eventually consistent, horizontally scalable database that uses configurable partitioning schemes and b-tree indexes. For graph queries, there is a query engine layer that converts the graph traversals into the requisite database queries. For full-text indexing on a given entity type, sKG can be optionally configured to use OpenSearch. For entities that have a full text index, the query layer will automatically use it where appropriate for improved query performance.

Knowledge Graphs provide a standardized, scalable and extensible method of organizing data while also making the data discoverable using Certus’ sKG platform and by connecting the sKG platform to any front-end user interface for analytics and visualizations through an Application Programming Interface (API). Certus Core will work with the military to identify the currently used data stores and sources and use this information to begin developing an ontology or set of ontologies. Those ontologies will provide the foundation of the military’s common logistics picture. By leveraging Knowledge Graphs to support intra-theater logistics, it facilitates the ability to rapidly query vast amounts of data, provide updated logistics information to multiple user interfaces, and can easily be updated to reflect new information, such as new parts information or inventory levels.  

A knowledge graph system that supports exploratory data analysis via visualized graph traversals of linked entities across these disparate data sources would enable users to interact with the aforementioned domain’s data sources (and newly identified sources) to accomplish their mission goals. sKG supports both out-of-the-box machine learning models and customized (trained on the data sources) models to provide force-multiplying automation that enables analysts to answer questions more rapidly.

sKG supports the continued addition of new data sources so that a broader range of questions can be answered. The exploratory data analysis capabilities allows analysts to discover and learn about the available data, entity types, and relationships that they can use to perform queries and analytics. sKG's support of machine learning and data science will enable analysts and data scientists to work together to add push-button automation of otherwise time-consuming analytic processes.

Certus Core’s sKG is licensed software which sits atop data warehouses and data sources, integrates that data, whether on premises or cloud-based (sKG is cloud agnostic) and can be ‘connected’ with currently used applications through APIs. There are no special dependencies or considerations for sKG.  

Certus Core’s sKG software is TRL 8.

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