The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is sponsoring BAE Systems to develop software called Causal Modeling for Knowledge Transfer, Exploration and Temporal Simulation (CONTEXTS) that will aid military planners in understanding and addressing the dynamics that drive conflicts around the world.

The goal of the $4.2 million Phase 1 contract for the Causal Exploration of Complex Operational Environments program awarded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is to develop technology to model different political, territorial and economic tensions that often lead to conflicts, helping planners to avoid unexpected outcomes.

Complicated operational environments and diverse adversaries make it difficult for military planners to quickly achieve a holistic understanding of conflict situations due to a lack of time, expert resources and automated tools. BAE Systems is developing what it says is a first-of-its-kind software – called Causal Modeling for Knowledge Transfer, Exploration, and Temporal Simulation (CONTEXTS) – that the company says will create an interactive model of an operational environment, allowing planners to explore the causes of a conflict and assess potential approaches.

“Military planners often conduct manual research and use limited modeling tools to generate models and evaluate conflict situations, which are extremely time-consuming and labor intensive,” said Chris Eisenbies, product line director of the Autonomy, Controls and Estimation group at BAE Systems. “To break down these barriers, CONTEXTS will use reasoning algorithms and simulations with the goal to give planners a quicker and deeper understanding of conflicts to help avoid unexpected and counterintuitive outcomes.”