Got a Pirate Problem? There's Even an App for That


Story Number: NNS120514-06Release Date: 5/14/2012 10:51:00 AM
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By Grace Jean, Office of Naval Research Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- The Department of Defense will begin funding an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored project aimed at developing Web applications to help multinational navies police the world's oceans, officials announced May 14.

The International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (ICODE MDA) was one of 14 projects selected by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to receive $1 million awards beginning this fall through the Coalition Warfare Program, which funds international collaborative research efforts.

The ICODE MDA project is a research alliance between ONR and Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific). ONR is partnering with scientists in Chile to build widgets, or Web-based applications, for use by sailors and maritime operators to analyze data and other information to combat pirates, drug smugglers, arms traffickers, illegal fishermen and other nefarious groups.

"A lot of maritime threats occur in developing parts of the world," said Dr. Augustus Vogel, associate director for Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa in ONR-Global's Chile office. "Our goal is to develop partnerships with countries that have maritime threats to help solve those problems."

ONR will tap researchers at the Technical University of Federico Santa Maria, one of Chile's top engineering schools, to create Web-based tools in an open source environment. The work will focus on producing software to improve automation, small-target detection and intent detection.

Ultimately, the software will be compatible with multiple maritime network systems so that navies around the world can use the tools and share information for global operations.

"We'll take those tools and integrate them into a widget framework that can be part of a coalition-accessible Web portal," said John Stastny, an engineer in the advanced analysis systems branch at SSC Pacific, who is helping to lead the ICODE MDA project.

The effort in Chile is part of a larger collaborative project that encompasses nations in Africa, where ICODE MDA has been underway with researchers at the University of Ghana, University of Pretoria, University of Mauritius and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.

ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

For more information about ICODE MDA, visit http://code.google.com/p/icode-mda/.

For more news from Office of Naval Research, visit www.navy.mil/local/onr/.

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) responds to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai, who claimed he was being held captive by pirates.
120105-N-ZZ999-003 ARABIAN SEA (Jan. 5, 2012) The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) responds to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai, who claimed he was being held captive by pirates. Kidd's visit, board, search and seizure team, boarded and detained 15 suspected pirates, who were reportedly holding the 13-member Iranian crew hostage for the last several weeks. Kidd is conducting counter-piracy and maritime security operations while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
January 6, 2012
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