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Jim Ong


US Air Force Awards Stottler Henke a $750,000 Contract to Develop an After-Action Review Tool for Team Training

Advanced analysis and visualization software will help instructors review on-line chat messages and events to detect coordination and communication problems

SAN MATEO, CA, July 14, 2009Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. today announced the award of a two-year $750,000 contract with the U.S. Air Force to develop an Intelligent Diagnostic Assistant software tool to help instructors review and analyze on-line chat data, events, and decisions during large-scale team exercises. The system will provide advanced analysis and visualization techniques to help instructors detect communication and coordination problems.

To support complex air operations, dozens of planners must work together to strategize, prioritize, plan, de-conflict, and monitor the execution of dozens or even hundreds of concurrent missions. Mis-communication or faulty coordination can cause planning errors that lead to mission failure and loss of life.

On-line chat provides planners with a powerful new method of working together. Typically, air planners use dozens of chat rooms, each dedicated to discuss a separate topic area such as Intelligence or Planning. After a typical four hour planning exercise, instructors might have only thirty minutes to prepare for an after-action review. During this time, they must analyze extensive chat logs to identify and diagnose team coordination and decision-making problems, so they can debrief planners on their performance. Analyzing air planning chat logs is complicated because the various aspects of each mission are discussed in different chat rooms, and multiple missions are discussed simultaneously in each chat room. Thus, instructors must reconstruct the group discussion for each mission by grouping and relating messages that span multiple chat rooms and are interleaved with messages for other missions.

The Intelligent Diagnostic Assistant (IDA), under development by Stottler Henke, will enable more consistent after action review. For example, interactive and coordinated graphical timelines and text displays will enable instructors to browse, analyze, and visualize logs of on-line discussions and events to recognize missing or incorrect communications and decisions. Intelligent text analysis will group utterances that relate to the same discussion thread and flag some problems automatically. IDA will help the Air Force gain insights to help them revise guidelines and standard operating procedures to improve complex, team planning.

Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. In 2006, Stottler Henke was the subject of a NASA “Hallmarks of Success” video profile for its work developing and later commercializing advanced planning and training software systems. Stottler Henke received a 2004 “Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning” award for innovative technology. Stottler Henke was named one of the “top 100” companies making a significant impact on the military training industry by Military Training Technology magazine, and in 2005 received a Blue Ribbon recognizing it as a company that leads the industry in innovation. Web: Email: