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Officials with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate recently started asking for industry’s help in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to distributed command and control in contested environments.


In a broad agency announcement (FA8750-23-S-7006), AFRL officials released calls for the “Artificial Intelligence and Next Generation Distributed Command and Control” project, which identifies various technical areas. Officials expect this project to spend approximately $99 million over the next four to five years, and they expect to make several contract awards. White papers will be accepted until March 2027.


The primary concerns in the announcement include managing AI for command, control communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) when dealing with enemy presence.


Subject matter experts in the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and from various NATO allies have previously acknowledged that in large-scale combat operations, which would be part of a great-powers conflict, the U.S. and its allies would likely fight in contested domains – the same domains they largely controlled in the era of counterinsurgency operations. According to AFRL officials, AI can empower military decision-makers to evaluate battlespaces, select the best plans, and command forces in a particular area of operation.


As the Air Force focuses on evolving from a traditional, monolithic command and control node, to a distributed command and control paradigm, Air Force leaders intend on applying AI in C2 contexts, and in considering enemy AI used in mission planning.


The specific, technical areas the AFRL’s announcement highlights are:
– Command and control of AI to achieve mission-tailored AI.
– Federated, composable autonomy and AI toolbox.
­– Advanced wargaming agents.
– Interactive learning for C4I.
– Command and control complexity dominance generative AI C4I.
– Software defined distributed command and control.
– Tactical AI.


Interested parties can click here to view the announcement on

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