A relatively new emergent type of conflict has been recognized in recent years coined “gray zone,” because it sits in a nebulous area between peace and traditional warfare tactics.
Gray-zone actions are not openly declared, rather they are slower, and conducted more subtly using social, psychological, religious, information, cyber and other means to achieve physical or cognitive objectives with or without violence.
The lack of clarity of intent, albeit the ‘grayness’ – makes it challenging to detect, characterize, and counter an enemy fighting this manner.
To better understand and respond to an adversary’s gray-zone engagement, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office today announced a new program called COMPASS, which stands for Collection and Monitoring via Planning for Active Situational Scenarios.
The new program aims to develop software that would help clarify enemy intent by gauging an adversary’s responses to various stimuli.
COMPASS will leverage advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, game theory, and modeling and estimation to both identify stimuli that yield the most information about an adversary’s intentions, and also provide decision makers high-fidelity intelligence on how to respond, with anticipated positive and negative tradeoffs for each course of action.
(Learn More. The gray zone is a conceptual space between peace and war, where activities are typically ambiguous or cloud attribution and exceed the threshold of ordinary competition, yet intentionally fall below the level of large-scale direct military conflict. This video highlights NSI’s work in collaboration with the Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) office and the US Department of Defense to: 1) define the gray zone and 2) validate the gray zone definition using NSI’s Virtual Think Tank (ViTTa) methodology. Courtesy of NSI and YouTube)