The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) exposition and other conferences this year reflected the trend toward a more digital battlespace. But with new technology comes the question: How do we prove that the new technology enhances mission effectiveness? This year technology companies on the floor showed off robots, sensors, and software. It makes for a fun conference, but with almost every demo or conversation, companies couldn't prove how their technology enhances the overall mission effectiveness of the soldier.
In fact, most companies apparently hadn’t thought about quantitatively proving mission effectiveness; they just offered subjective anecdotes. The stakes are too high to simply trust companies pushing new tech. The Army needs to measure the effectiveness of new technology in the military battlespace because if it doesn't, warfighters could pay the ultimate price.
Today’s battlespace and training environments are being flooded with smart technologies—including sensors on soldiers and equipment—that are producing vast amounts of data. By bringing together the technologies and their data, the Army can qualitatively determine how they apply to established measures of effectiveness (MOE) and measures of performance (MOP). The Army does this effectively in small pockets today, but the practice needs to become more ubiquitous across the service.
At the same time, the industry needs to hold itself more accountable to prove its solutions. The technology might be innovative, but if it doesn’t enhance the ability of the nation's warfighters to complete a mission, then it’s a distraction.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous devices, and smart sensors, along with the push toward joint all-domain command-and-control (JADC2), are contributing to a more complex digital battlespace. This requires the industry to do better in quantitatively measuring the impact of technology on the performance of soldiers.