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Consensus Study Report


Significant efforts are ongoing within the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to improve national security and competitiveness by harnessing the growing power of information technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Product and process technologies are being researched, experimented with, and integrated into future warfighting concepts and plans. A significant part of this effort is focused on integrating operations, from the strategic to the tactical and across all lines of effort. A question that must be asked in considering these future warfighting concepts is: how will the devices that enable the knowledge-based future be powered? The abundant energy supplies that characterize peacetime operating environments may not be readily available at the far reaches of the force projections - the tactical edge - during conflict. Understanding the energy challenges associated with continued data collection, processing, storage, analysis, and communications at the tactical edge is an important part of developing the plans for meeting the future competition on the battlefield.

This report identifies challenges and issues associated with energy needs at the tactical edge as well as any potential for solutions to be considered in the future to help address these challenges. The recommendations of Energizing Data-Driven Operations at the Tactical Edge address understanding these requirement needs and the cascading effects of not meeting those needs, integrating energy needs for data processing into mission and unit readiness assessments, and research into product and process technologies to address energy-efficient computation, resilience, interoperability, and alternative solutions to energy management at the tactical edge.

Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Energizing Data-Driven Operations at the Tactical Edge: Challenges and Concerns. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

122 pages |  7 x 10 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-67023-4
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-67076-0

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