An Advanced Study Institute (ASI) “Prediction and Recognition of Piracy Efforts Using Collaborative Human-Centric Information Systems” was held in Salamanca, Spain, September 19-30, 2011.
An ASI is one of many types of funded group support mechanisms established by the NATO Science Committee to contribute to the critical assessment of existing knowledge on new important topics, to identify directions for future research, and to promote close working relationships between scientists from different countries and with different professional experiences.
The NATO Science Committee was approved at a meeting of the Heads of Government of the Alliance in December 1957, subsequent to the 1956 recommendation of “Three Wise Men” – Foreign Ministers Lange (Norway), Martino (Italy) and Pearson (Canada) on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO. The NATO Science Committee established the NATO Science Programme in 1958 to encourage and support scientific collaboration between individual scientists and to foster scientific development in its member states. In 1999, following the end of the Cold War, the Science Programme was transformed so that support is now devoted to collaboration between Partner-country and NATO-country scientists or to contributing towards research support in Partner countries. Since 2004, the Science Programme was further modified to focus exclusively on NATO Priority Research Topics (i.e. Defence Against Terrorism or Countering Other Threats to Security) and also preferably on a Partner country priority area.
The objective of this ASI was to discuss how to help predict, recognise and deter maritime piracy through the use of collaborative human-centric information support systems. Maritime piracy is a widespread international concern. Over the years, it has been on the rise, with the number of attacks increasing substantially. Vessels are extremely susceptible to hostile boarding owing to inherent vessels' vulnerability due to slowness (tonnage, deep sea vessels, massive size and weight). Furthermore, technological improvements have resulted in smaller crews on (larger) vessels. In addition, ship owners are reluctant to directly address the issue of maritime piracy for commercial reasons. The lack of law enforcement makes pirates more daring since they know that there are no police officers or government officials present in the middle of the sea to capture them while they are committing their crimes. It is necessary to defeat piracy and violent marine crime through anti-piracy and counter-piracy operations: “Anti-piracy training and operational security awareness is mandatory for vessel owners and vessel crew.” Crisis Management and anti-piracy programs must be defined and followed in order to reduce the vulnerability of the vessel.
Collaborative human-centric information support systems can significantly improve the ability of every nation to predict and prevent a pirate attack or (if unsuccessful) to rapidly recognize the nature and size of the attack, and then improve the collective response to that emergency. Inherent to the concept of collaborative information support systems are: human-system integration, cognitive system engineering methodologies, collaborative environment technologies, knowledge exploitation and data/information mining technologies instantiated into concepts/approaches of decision support (collaborative information systems) centred to human, where the human is an integrated part of the system.
Operating in the crisis management and anti-piracy program environment, the decision makers at all levels (e.g., incident commanders and their staff) can use collaborative human centric information support capabilities to:
• Understand the vulnerabilities of the maritime location by considering all social, geopolitical, economical, inter-agency policy and jurisdictional aspects;
• Rapidly develop shared understandings of the operational environment; to plan operations; to monitor the situation and the execution of the plans; to ensure that each individual worker is productive and concentrated on its assigned roles and tasks;
• Formulate evaluation criteria, decide on what to do, and synchronize a diverse set of plans and actions; aiding experts to work together effectively with other relevant environment authorities (military-civilian) at all levels, and with international allies. This encompasses situation monitoring and coordination with multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction and multi-national operations.
• Enhance existing business procedures to address security issues and provide enhanced situational awareness and inter-agency co-operation: support the development of A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP);
• Support Crew Security Awareness and Detection Training: the proactive involvement of the crew to DETECT and DETER attackers will dramatically increase the operational security of any vessel; the adversaries rely on three heavy fundamentals when attacking a vessel – Surprise, Speed, and Violence (or implied violence). The ability to DETECT and DETER should also be coupled with the ability to RESPOND.
• Provide capability and technologies for deterrence, interdiction and/or response based on estimation of threat characteristics and types, threat stages and ranges and behaviour; Advise on Anti-Piracy Tracking Devices;
• Support better policing: develop close cooperation with local law enforcement agencies and provide them with intelligence of better and better quality, they'll be able to move aggressively and make arrests;
• Enable the RESPONSE communities to timely and securely access data, information, services, etc. relevant to their roles and responsibilities, regardless of what agency operates the facilities where the critical data and services reside.
This ASI involved both technology and domain experts, as well as students from pertinent fields of study who enhanced their awareness of the requirements, issues and policy, as well as information technology support systems to help predict, recognise and deter maritime piracy efforts through lectures, plenary sessions and brainstorming sessions in smaller interdisciplinary groups. A significant observation of previous similar NATO ASIs and ARWs has been that the domain experts (personnel from various organizations responsible for maritime security) have little understanding of the wide variety of technology solutions that are available and the way they can enhance the performance of such support systems. Similarly, although technology experts have a general understanding of the requirements in various security systems, they don't have visibility into operations and implementation including constraints and issues due to a variety of factors (policy, geopolitical, legal, personnel, training, etc.). The attendance of many leading scientists, domain experts as well as other participants (students) from many countries with backgrounds in a variety of contributing disciplines provided an opportunity for them to improve mutual understanding and become cognizant of the specific requirements and issues of anti-piracy operations and the pertinence of collaborative human-centric information support systems in a variety of applications exploitable in their respective countries.
Although an ASI is not usually structured to include brainstorming sessions to conduct in depth analysis of these aspects, this ASI program included study sessions where smaller groups of students lead by 3-4 lecturers discussed the information provided during the lectures and brainstormed on how collaborative human-centric information systems and collaborative decision support capabilities could help in prediction and recognition of maritime piracy efforts. During the plenary discussions a framework for piracy prevention, containment and consequence management was proposed, which leveraged the assertions from a previous NATO ASI stating that decision support is achieved through analysis of three interrelated aspects, namely people, organization and technology. It is necessary to analyse the relationships between organizational structure, the processes (operational, logistical, political, legal, inter-jurisdictional, etc.) that the people are involved in, and the technologies that are available to provide decision support enhancing performance of these processes. As part of the study sessions, the small teams of lecturers and students selected specific elements of this framework, analysed the relationships within the framework and evaluated the technologies to enable enhanced decision support. Within the scope of this ASI it was not feasible to analyse the whole framework, or even do an exhaustive analysis of the selected elements. The participants agreed that subsequent events, especially in a form of a workshop, would be very beneficial to continue such analyses. Results of the study sessions are presented in the last chapter of this book.
Participants representing Armenia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and the USA contributed to this ASI. A distinguished group of experts was assembled, and the technical program was organized with the generous and very capable assistance of the Organizing Committee composed of Dr. Éloi Bossé (Canada), Dr. Khalel Mellouli (Tunisia), Dr. Elisa Shahbazian (Canada), Dr. Galina Rogova (USA), Dr. Jesus Garcia (Spain), Dr. Edward Pogossian (Armenia), Dr. Bassel Solaiman (France), Dr. Adel Guitouni (Canada) as well as a support team from the host country (Spain). The organizers offer their deep appreciation to the ASI participants, who devoted so much of their time and talents to make the ASI successful.
We are grateful to the NATO Security Through Science Programme, which provided important financial support. The organisers are especially grateful to Prof. Fernando Carvalho Rodrigues, head of the Human and Societal Dynamics Panel (HSD), whose suggestions for providing a systemic approach to the discussions and the technical program contributed to the success of the ASI.
This ASI was originally planned to take place in Tunisia at Magic Life Manar Hotel Hammamet, on 17-29 April, 2011 but due to the political unrest in Tunisia, we had to find an alternate location. Special thanks to Dr Jesús García of University Carlos III of Madrid and Dr Juan Manuel Corchado Rodríguez, the Dean of School of Science of University of Salamanca who offered that alternative in Salamanca.
The Organizing committee would like to specifically thank:
• The School of Science of University of Salamanca that contributed in every way to ensure a successful event by obtaining the ASI recognition and participation by Spanish Ministry of Defence and providing very competent local support staff, excellent conference facilities, affordable housing and meals, as well as an interesting social program.
• The Department of the Navy of the U.S. Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) for their financial support, helping to ensure participation of highly qualified experts in this ASI and offset the additional organizational effort required to move the ASI into a new hosting country.
In addition, the following organizations supported this ASI: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Science & Technology Directorate; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of Université de Montreal Canada; Encompass Consulting, USA; and OODA Technologies, Inc., Canada.
A very special acknowledgement goes to Ani Shahbazian who undertook the very challenging task of performing the English Language editing of all the lecturers' manuscripts and producing a camera-ready document for the publisher.
And, finally, all of our thanks go to the people of the University of Salamanca, who certainly displayed, in every way, their warmth and hospitality.
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