The Department of Defense (DoD) is taking the war against piracy into the virtual world, as it provides funding for an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored project that aims to develop Web applications that will help Navies of various countries in the fight against piracy.
The Coalition Warfare Program is giving $1 million awards beginning this fall to 14 projects chosen by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Among the chosen projects is the International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (ICODE MDA), a research alliance between ONR and Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific).
The ONR is collaborating with scientists in Chile to build Web-based applications for the analysis of data and other information that will be used by sailors and maritime operators in the fight against pirates, drug smugglers, arms traffickers, illegal fishermen and other disreputable groups.
Dr. Augustus Vogel, associate director for Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa in ONR-Global’s Chile office, shared: “A lot of maritime threats occur in developing parts of the world… Our goal is to develop partnerships with countries that have maritime threats to help solve those problems.”
Researchers from the Technical University of Federico Santa Maria, one of the top engineering schools in Chile, will work on the project, developing Web-based tools in an open source environment. They will focus on developing software that will improve automation, small-target detection and intent detection.
John Stastny, an engineer in the advanced analysis systems branch at SSC Pacific, who is helping to lead the ICODE MDA project, shared: “We’ll take those tools and integrate them into a widget framework that can be part of a coalition-accessible Web portal.”