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By Mike Strasser, U.S. Military Academy Public Affairs

28 Aug 12. Counter-IED software developed at West Point to support warfighters in Afghanistan. Three cadets spent part of their summer secluded in a locked research lab with its windows blackened inside Mahan Hall. Their contribution to a research project yielded results which, given its classified status, they can’t really talk much about. Suffice it to say, as they briefed major supporters to the project recently, with a nod and a smile, the cadets confirmed its success.

The project involved a new piece of software that can identify the location of weapons caches in theater using a mathematical model, based on the research theory of geospatial abduction. With significant accuracy, the software can predict where an enemy’s improvised explosive device, or IED, depot is, based on previous attack locations and other intelligence.

The original version of the software is called SCARE, or Spatio-Cultural
Abductive Reasoning Engine, and was created by Maj. Paulo Shakarian, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The software developed this summer is a modified version called C-SCARE/A, which focuses on the theater of Afghanistan.

This was an interdisciplinary effort, which is quite obvious from the academic pursuits of the three cadets involved in the final phase of the counter-IED project. Class of 2013 Cadet Jeff Nielsen, cadet-in-charge, is a math major, Class of 2013 Cadet Will Wright is a Department of Foreign Languages major and Class of 2014 Cadet Andrew Oswald is majoring in electrical engineering. Earlier in the summer, Class of 2015 Cadet Ellis Valdez, Class of 2013 Cadet Tim Stein, an international relations major, and Class of 2014 Cadet Geoff Moores, a computer science major, contributed to the project.

The project also involved faculty and staff from organizations to include EECS, Mathematical Science, Systems Engineering, the Operations Research Center and the Network Science Center.

The team worked with deployed combat engineers tasked with an explosive investigation unit in Afghanistan to provide support in the mission to mitigate the effects of IEDs. The team tested and provided results of the software concurrently to the combat unit along with regular video teleconferences.

“The Combat-SCARE-Afghanistan is a new piece of software that includes the road network, tribal information and a lot of external intelligence, which is the cool stuff I’m not allowed to talk about,” Nielsen said. “A lot of great things have happened to show that this program can actually contribute to the fight and save lives by finding these weapons.”

The three objectives, Nielsen said, were to create a program that is easy to use, produces results and integrates other intelligence to improve accuracy. They served as the last of three teams on this project, which launched shortly after class graduation in May. Part of their effort was to integrate additional intelligence and distribute the completed software package.

“That’s a major emphasis, and there are some very interested people here and downrange that would like to use this,” Oswald said.

Maj. Charles Levine, a math instructor, deployed this summer to get the software into the hands of Soldiers and Shakarian said the battlefield circulation has been well-received.

Shortly before the academic year began, Shakarian and the cadets briefed the dean of the academic board and administrative personnel who supported this Academic Individual Advanced Development project.

Col. John Graham, NSC director, said their contributions to cadet projects are remarkable, though often underscored. It is a complex process which legal, finance and other administrative members of the academy undertake to secure the necessary resources — from establishing a working relationship with a combat unit in Afghanistan to install

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