firm is developing software to help the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) more rapidly assess damage from a missile strike and provide those responding to an attack with quick solutions to such things as evacuation routes.

The software developed by Modus Operandi of Melbourne, Fla., will automate functions that today require a number of personnel to perform, according to company officials.

The company began working with MDA in 2006 to help the agency deal with damage that might result from an enemy missile strike or debris fallen from a U.S. interceptor, Richard Hull, vice president and chief scientist for Modus Operandi, said in a June 22 interview. The software is intended to help the various military and civil government agencies that would need to respond to an attack.

The Pentagon is working to automate a variety of functions across the Department of Defense in order to make decision making faster and more efficient. The efforts range from better connections with sensors and weapons in tactical situations to the processing of intelligence data needed to monitor events on the ground and in air and space.

As is the case with other solutions that Modus Operandi has developed on behalf of the Defense Department, the company’s concept works by adding standardized tags – essentially software code that enables computers to recognize data that they would otherwise be unable to process, according to George Eanes, vice president for business development at Modus Operandi.

The software is being designed to work continually so officials can react quickly as a scenario evolves. For example, if an incoming missile lands at a different point than predicted, the software takes that into account, factors in other local events that might also affect traffic at that time and shifts evacuation routes accordingly, said.

Modus Operandi will deliver the software to MDA next year so that the agency can begin experimenting with it in government exercises, said. The software could be evolved and eventually used operationally by whichever agency, such as the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Northern Command, is charged with handling the lead role for consequence management in the event of an actual missile incident, he said.

Modus Operandi’s software is already in use today with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in , where it is used for scheduling purposes, said. Officials with the wing use the software to coordinate the schedules of contractor and government personnel, launch facilities, sensors, and payloads and rockets, he said.

Growth areas for the future could include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions where sensors have gathered too much information for humans to easily review and utilize, said. In hypothetical scenarios like the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, better data tagging related to elements of related chemicals could help computers search through millions of photos or signal intelligence reports that might otherwise be overlooked, he said.

Monitoring objects in space is another natural application for the firm’s software, said. Air Force space officials have frequently cited the need for further automation to bring together information from a variety of sensors used for the space situational awareness mission.

The Pentagon’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) effort is also a possible growth area for the company, Eanes said.

The ORS effort is most commonly associated with the development of satellites that can be built and launched on short notice to meet rapidly emerging needs for tactical forces. However, ORS program officials also are seeking solutions that can be implemented on the ground to make better use of data coming from space, and Modus Operandi’s software could help troops take advantage of data that might otherwise “end up on the cutting room floor,” Eanes said.

In many cases, the military “is playing catch up with data fusion – how to leverage the data that the sensors are bringing in,” Eanes said.