Air Force mulls secretive sensor research center

The SIRCUS program would investigate how to measure sensor exploitation performance and sensor development, and require up to Secret-level clearances for contractors.

The Air Force may be planning to build a secretive research center for developing sensing and sensor exploitation technologies, according to a presolicitation released yesterday.

The Sensing and Information Research Center for Understanding Systems, or SIRCUS program, is aimed at broad, multidisciplinary research in fundamental sensing and sensor exploitation technologies, according to the solicitation.

This includes topics such as:

  • Sensor development and management
  • Sensor exploitation
  • Computational sciences
  • Mobile computing architectures and applications
  • Cooperative autonomous systems
  • Information visualization
  • Performance analysis and methods for sensor exploitation performance prediction.

The program is a requirement of one of the branches of AFRL/RYA, the Air Force Research Lab’s Layered Sensing Exploitation Division. The research center would fall under the Layered Sensing Performance Characterization Branch, which goes by AFRL/RYAA conducts developmental research on how to assess the performance of sensor exploitation and project component-level performance into layered sensing system performance.

The winner of the contract will be required to provide all software and hardware, as well as associated data that is developed or used for the program. The anticipated program funding is $22 million for fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2020.

According to the announcement, “General OPSEC procedures, policies and awareness are required in an effort to reduce program vulnerability from successful adversary collection and exploitation of critical information.” The research being conducted will also require up to Secret-level security clearances.

A full broad agency announcement will be issued in August on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

As the amount of data collected by military sensors continue to increase, the Defense Department and military services are looking to find new approaches to exploiting sensors.

For instance, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation and Execution program is looking to use math to develop a representation-centric model of sensing that will ultimately result in a fully integrated, modular system that can conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses of multi-modal sensor data.