NextGen Command Post of the Future

As the User Experience Lead for the NextGen and scalability efforts, I was tasked with anticipating and solving the next generation problems that the military’s Command Post of the Future would encounter and instituting new design patterns and frameworks to solve them before they occur.

The Command Post of the Future (CPOF) is a military command and control system that allows warfighters to visualize and collaborate on current and historical data. CPOF started as a DARPA prototype in the early 2000s to augment human intellect by allowing hundreds of users to essentially mind-meld and share a common operating picture. It was rapidly adopted and deployed by all branches of the US military in all theaters of operation. (For more detail on CPOF, see Additional Links below.)

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An unclassified CPOF exercise in 2006 from the Army’s news archives.

How can you take a collaborative interface designed for hundreds of people and used by several thousand simultaneously collaborating users and scale it up to support orders of magnitude more than that? How can you allow end-users to seamlessly transition their visualizations and other information workproducts between multi-monitor workstations, vehicle displays, tablets, and wearables without requiring additional training? How can you enable rich collaboration over network latencies stretching into minutes, hours, or even days without causing confusion and frustration?

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Army officers and acquisition managers visiting our lab to see the latest prototypes.

I am honored to have worked alongside a team of brilliant and endlessly creative engineers and designers who relished conquering problems that more rational individuals would have written off as impossible.

Our designs and research findings are General Dynamics and/or US Army proprietary, but I would be happy to talk about approach and processes.

Additional Links:

  1. ‘Command Posts of the Future’ Readied for Afghan Surge [wired.com]
  2. Command Post of the Future (CPOF) [gdc4s.com]
  3. U.S. Army’s common operating picture tool continues to evolve [army.mil]
  4. Detailed geospatial map data provides Soldiers greater technology, in less time [army.mil]