Beyond SYNCOIN: Informational requirements for the three-block war

Jacob Graham, William R. Grace, A. Kiran Sridhara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


As the U.S. contemplates its withdrawal from Afghanistan and its experience in Iraq fades, military planners are already contemplating operations beyond the counter-insurgency (COIN) mission. In 1997, Gen. Krulak, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, proffered the term, three block war to describe the future of combat operations. Across Krulak's three blocks, military engagement cycled from humanitarian assistance to peace keeping to all-out combat. While never accepted into official Department of Defense publications, the notion of engaging in military operations in three spheres simultaneously conveys the multidimensionality of conflict and is reflected in the full spectrum operation doctrine adopted by the U.S. Army in 2008. Regardless of the moniker, the future operational environment is likely to be a composite affair that will require an understanding of full spectrum information. This paper explores various information elements that are likely to span future conflict space and offers suggestions on modeling a dataset for test and evaluation (T&E), much like the Synthetic Counter-Insurgency (SYNCOIN) dataset did for counter-insurgency. The SYNCOIN dataset was developed by The Pennsylvania State University as a T&E dataset to support a multi-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), sponsored by the Army Research Office. Lacking a suitable unclassified dataset, Penn State researchers were prompted to create Synthetic Counter-Insurgency (SYNCOIN), which was used in the development and implementation of fusion and analysis processes, data stores design, and the development of process flows and interfaces. The SYNCOIN dataset is centered on a representative set of entities (people, places and events) within a COIN environment circa 2010 Iraq. The goal of the MURI project was to improve automated processing and user in-the-loop analysis to enhance Situation Awareness (SA)/Situation Understanding (SU) in a counter-insurgency environment. While COIN doctrine provides guidance for commanders on winning insurgency-centric conflicts, there is no guarantee that opposing forces in future conflicts will fight militaries through an insurgency. There is, however a strong possibility that future conflict will be hybrid of the three-block-war as will the information that accompanies it. Ostensibly, the goal of a Beyond SYNCOIN dataset would be to enhance analytic effectiveness and SA across the three-block-war and consider the information challenges beyond those of counterinsurgency operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFUSION 2014 - 17th International Conference on Information Fusion
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9788490123553
StatePublished - Oct 3 2014
Event17th International Conference on Information Fusion, FUSION 2014 - Salamanca, Spain
Duration: Jul 7 2014Jul 10 2014

Publication series

NameFUSION 2014 - 17th International Conference on Information Fusion


Other17th International Conference on Information Fusion, FUSION 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems


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