The Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance (NS CTA) is a collaborative research alliance between the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), other government researchers, and a Consortium of four research centers: an Academic Research Center (ARC) focused on social/cognitive networks (the SCNARC), an ARC focused on information networks (the INARC), an ARC focused on communications networks (the CNARC), and an Interdisciplinary Research Center (the IRC) focused on interdisciplinary research and technology transition. The Alliance unites research across organizations, technical disciplines, and research areas to address the critical technical challenges of the Army and Network-Centric Warfare (NCW). Its purpose is to perform foundational cross-cutting research on network science, resulting in greatly enhanced human performance for network-enabled warfare and in greatly enhanced speed and precision for complex military operations.

The Alliance is conducting interdisciplinary research in network science and transition the results of this research to benefit network-centric military operations. Network science is the study of the properties, models, and theories that apply to all varieties of networks, and the use of this understanding in the analysis, prediction, design, and control of all varieties of networks. The NS CTA research program exploits intellectual synergies across network science by uniting parallel fundamental (6.1) and applied (6.2) research across the disciplines of social/cognitive, information, and communications network research. It drives the synergistic combination of these technical areas for network-centric warfare and network-enabling capabilities in support of all missions required of today’s military forces, including humanitarian support, peacekeeping, and full combat operations in any kind of terrain, but especially in complex and urban terrain. It also supports and stimulates dual-use applications of this research and technology to benefit commercial use. As a critical element of this program, the Alliance is creating a sustainable world-class network science research facility, with critical mass in the NS CTA Facility in Cambridge, MA, as well as shared distributed experimental resources throughout the Alliance. The NS CTA also serves the Army’s NCW needs through an Education Component, which acts to increase the pool of network science expertise in the Army and the nation, while bringing greater awareness of Army needs into the academic and industrial research community.