Diagram of the Rapid Course-of-Action Analysis capability, transitioned to the United States Transportation Command’s Fusion Center. The capability was quickly transition because of overwhelming user acceptance. (USAF Image)
3/30/2012 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Research Laboratory delivered a Rapid Course-of-Action (COA) Analysis Tool (RCAT) to the Agile Transportation for the 21st Century (AT21) program that was immediately transitioned for use at the United States Transportation Command's (USTRANSCOM) Fusion Center.
The RCAT capability is the second phase of the Cognitive Visualization: Alerting and Optimization (CVAO) program, a USTRANSCOM-funded demonstration project that provides advanced visualizations to dramatically improve the fusion center's planning capabilities across a wide spectrum of logistics activities.
RCAT is a visual planning tool that leverages existing planning models to allow transportation planners to intuitively perform COA analyses in minutes, instead of hours or days. RCAT provides more precision in early planning resulting in less replanning through execution and more efficient use of mobility resources (planes, ships, fuel, crews, etc.).
The success of RCAT was because of the cognitive based design which more effectively integrates humans with complex automated systems such as transportation planning models. These approaches allow transportation planners to have confidence in the tool while minimizing required input and producing easily understood outputs.
RCAT automatically performs calculations in the background while transportation planners sketch out alternative COAs. The model is invoked through simple user gestures as COAs are defined (e.g. drawing routes) and responses are provided within the user's decision action cycle (seconds). RCAT provides visibility into the model's assumptions and planning factors so the user can better understand and work with the model. Finally, COA summary tables are automatically built for dynamic presentations to leadership where trade-offs on alternatives can be made in real time, replacing static PowerPoint presentations.
The immediate transition of RCAT occurred because of overwhelming user acceptance. An initial operating capability was fielded in September 2011 and is being used operationally today.