Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What is Deconfliction?

Deconfliction is used in various engineering and management fields. It is essentially a command-and-control concept, and means designing systems and operations to reduce conflict and interference.

For example, airspace deconfliction means having enough distance between planes so they don't hit each other. RF deconfliction means avoiding radio interference between neighbouring frequencies. In a military context, deconfliction means keeping units or missions apart to reduce the likelihood of so-called friendly fire.

In many situations, the only alternative to deconfliction is devoting a lot more resources to coordination. If two units are in constant communication, then they can operate closer together without increasing the risk. But there is a trade-off here: an adequate level of coordination often makes high demands on people and technology, and isn't always practical.

But deconfliction also typically involves some compromise - reducing the frequency or density of activity, which may reduce efficiency or effectiveness. Better forms of coordination, supported by better technology, may improve the trade-off here - allowing more complex missions to be undertaken more efficiently and reliably. with less deconfliction.

(At least that's the correct use of the term. In some places, however, the term "Deconfliction" is confusingly used to mean "Deduplication" - removing duplicate entries from a list, or recognizing repeated events - notably in the Common Malware Evaluation process maintained by Mitre. I think this is an incorrect usage of the term and should be discouraged. In fact, Mitre has published many other papers that use the term correctly. Meanwhile, other people seem to think deconfliction is a fancy name for conflict resolution.)

On this blog, I am primarily interested in deconfliction in the context of business organizations and information systems - loosely coupled organizations with loosely coupled computer systems, following a "service-oriented" paradigm. For more posts on deconfliction in this context, please select the deconfliction label.

1 comment:

  1. It totally matched the meaning I was looking for. I was confused in the beginning, why to communicate for deconfliction while performing Close quarter battle within the groups.