Technological advances in threat technology, the increasing tempo and diversity of open-ocean and littoral scenarios, and the volume and imperfect nature of data to be processed under time-critical conditions pose significant challenges for future shipboard Command and Control Systems and operators who must use these systems to defend their ship and fulfil their mission. To address these challenges, we are investigating design concepts for a real-time decision support system that continuously fuses data from the ship's sensors and other sources, helps operators maintain a tactical situation picture, and supports their response to actual or anticipated threats. This paper is concerned with support for weapon engagement management in above-water warfare that forms part of the system. The manager plans and directs in real time actions involving use of hardkill and softkill weapons to counter air and surface threats. We propose an agent architecture that dynamically interleaves planning and execution, as it adapts to unanticipated changes in the tactical situation. The architecture integrates both reactive and deliberative planning. Deliberation is based on projecting the currently perceived situation and may incorporate plan contingencies to handle action outcome and situation uncertainty. Reactive planning is driven by precompiled stimulus-response knowledge (e.g., standard operating procedures). Local control of architectural components to allow for varying computational resources and time criticality for producing deliberative plans is also briefly examined.
Keywords: weapon engagement management, command and control system, real-time decision support, agent architecture, planning.