World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine
SPECIAL SECTION Non-Lethal Weapons
Marine Leader Col. Jeffrey Fultz Commanding Officer Marine Special Operations Support Group
September 2012 Volume 10, Issue 7
THE SPECIAL OPERATORS’ HIGHER EDUCATION GUIDE
Language Translation & Cultural Training Sniper Detection O Missile Systems
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Special Operations Technology
September 2012 Volume 10 • Issue 7
Cover / Q&A Sniper Detection
When an enemy sniper opens fire, recognizing the threat and learning the direction and azimuth of incoming fire can mean the difference between survival or death. Look over the features on these life-saving systems. By Christian Bourge
Language Translation and Cultural Training
Special operators in overseas theaters must be able to communicate with the local population, which can tip off American warriors to enemy movements. Training also can help warriors avoid unintentionally insulting villagers, and systems can simplify combatants’ training. By Henry Canaday
The Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide We examine the many opportunities special operators have in advancing themselves through educational opportunities, in a compelling section featuring the commander of SOCOM, admissions directors and more.
29 Colonel Jeffrey Fultz Commanding Officer Marine Special Operations Support Group
Departments SPECIAL SECTION Non-Lethal Weapons
In an age where the U.S. military strives to avoid collateral damage and civilian casualties, non-lethal weapons permit special operators to take out the enemy even when innocent civilians are nearby. And a live, captured enemy can yield valuable intelligence. By Marc Selinger
2 Editor’s Perspective 4 Whispers 5 People 14 Black Watch 39 Resource Center
Missile Systems Take a tour of missiles, ranging from shoulder-mounted weapons up to vehicle mounted systems, with full details from range to fire power. By Dave Ahearn
40 Bob Jacobson President L-3 Communications GCS
Special Operations Technology Volume 10, Issue 7 • September 2012
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EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE Admiral Bill H. McRaven has wisely cautioned members of the special operations community to be mindful of their responsibility to protect sensitive or compromising information about special ops missions and procedures. “Our reputation with the American people is as high as it has ever been,” McRaven stated. “The sacrifices of our men and women downrange have earned us that respect. Let us not diminish that respect by using our service in special operations to benefit a few at the expense of the many.” At the same time, McRaven has a balanced view of the matter. “They are well within their rights to advocate for certain causes or write books about their adventures,” said McRaven, a former journalism major at the University of Texas at Austin. Dave Ahearn Editor His comments came after an announcement that a former Navy SEAL who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will publish a first-person account of the operation without first getting the book reviewed by the Defense Department for clearance. Other special operators also have gone public with accounts of missions. As a general rule, McRaven noted in an email to the special operations community, “It is disappointing when these actions either try to represent the broader SOF community, or expose sensitive information that could threaten the lives of their fellow warriors.” He warned against those who “are using their ‘celebrity status’ to advance their personal or professional agendas.” To be sure, the admiral acknowledged the benefit of reading other special operators’ stories. He noted that his thesis while attending the Naval Postgraduate School was based on “a rigorous examination of available literature” and provided background for his own book, The Theory of Special Operations. “Most of these books were wonderful accounts of courage, leadership, tough decision making, and martial skill, all of which benefitted me as I tried to understand our past and how it could affect missions in the future,” he said in his email. A thoughtful man, McRaven has taken a balanced and measured outlook toward the media. For example, support was provided to a movie, Act of Valor, about the sort of difficult missions facing special operators. There is a decades-old tradition of the military aiding journalists and movie makers producing works with defense themes, an assistance that helps ensure accuracy in depictions of life in uniform, while also in some cases helping to spur recruitment efforts. What must be avoided, however, is any move by current or retired military personnel to further personal or professional agendas in a way that compromises security of those who stand in harm’s way.
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WHISPERS Company Honored for Supporting Guard, Reserve Employees L-3 Communications has been selected as one of 15 recipients of the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for providing exceptional support of U.S. National Guard and Reserve employees and their families, and for steadfast dedication to national defense. “We are extremely proud to be recipients of the nation’s highest honor for supporting Guard and Reserve employees,” said Michael T. Strianese, chairman, president and chief executive officer of L-3. “We have a deep respect for the mission that these dedicated men and women choose to carry out, and for the sacrifices that their families back home make every day in the name of freedom and national pride. As an aerospace and defense contractor, many of our employees have the unique
opportunity to serve our nation twice, both as active duty members of the Reserve and Guard, and as part of an organization whose expertise helps equip the strongest force in the world. It is a privilege and an honor for us to support our uniformed men and women at home and abroad.” L-3 was selected from among 3,236 nominees by a board that included senior U.S. DoD officials, business leaders and prior awardees. The award acknowledges the company’s dedication to Reservists and Guard members through a breadth of programs, from financial hardship support and charitable work for the families of deployed employees, to career development and employment counseling for transitioning active duty members, as well as seminars that focus on veterans’ issues.
Air Force and Guard to Obtain Quick-Fielding Airfield Ops System Industry team Lockheed Martin and ARINC submitted a proposal for a new, transportable air traffic control (ATC) radar system that will enable U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard units to quickly establish tactical military or disasterrelief airfield operations around the world. Under its Deployable Radar Approach Control (D-RAPCON) program, the Air Force will procure 19 ATC surveillance radar systems, which can deploy within 48 hours worldwide by C-130 aircraft and take less than six hours to set up. The total program value is expected to be more than $400 million. “Our bid carefully balances the service’s need for off-the-shelf products that reduce risk in a budget constrained environment,” said Greg Larioni, vice president of radar surveillance systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business. “We have been designing and manufacturing transportable radars for decades, with more than 100 systems deployed around the world today.”
The Lockheed Martin-ARINC team’s solution integrates fieldproven systems, including Lockheed Martin’s TPS-79 tactical surveillance radar and Microprocessor-En Route Automated Radar Tracking System (Micro-EARTS), and ARINC’s transportable ATC operations shelter. To date, Micro-EARTS is the only ATC display system certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for providing both terminal and en route ATC automation capabilities at FAA and Department of Defense operational sites, as well as for currently deployed Air Force expeditionary ATC systems. The Air Force’s D-RAPCON program will replace aging and difficult to maintain ATC systems in service, including the more than 40-year-old AN/TPN-19 landing control center. Ten D-RAPCON systems will go to the Air National Guard, seven to active duty Air Force Space Command units, and one each to the Air Force’s ATC school and depot.
DoD to Gain Soldier Radio Waveform Upgrade and Maintenance Harris Corp. has been awarded a $26 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract to upgrade and maintain the Department of Defense Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) for wideband tactical communications. The government will leverage Harris’ expertise in wideband networking to add greater capabilities to the open-standard SRW waveform software and make it more widely available to U.S. forces in next-generation tactical radios. Developed by the Joint Tactical Radio System ( JTRS) program, SRW is a DoD voice and data waveform standard used to extend battlefield IP networks to the tactical edge. Under terms of the contract, Harris will deliver improved capabilities, maintenance and ongoing support for the waveform over five years. Key enhancements developed by Harris will be placed in the JTRS Program Information Repository, which was established to facilitate software re-use in DoD tactical radios.
4 | SOTECH 10.7
“Harris will apply its unique engineering and field expertise in wideband networking to enhance and evolve SRW to meet today’s mission needs as well as tomorrow’s emerging requirements,” said George Helm, president, DoD business, Harris RF Communications. “Our expertise includes numerous successful waveform ports to our Falcon family of radios, as well as unparalleled waveform testing capabilities. We will promote the highest standards of waveform portability and interoperability. In addition, we are also providing the DoD with rights sufficient to invigorate competition, encourage innovation and accelerate fielding of radios running this important waveform.” Both the AN/PRC-117G and AN/PRC-152A operated SRW in the recent U.S. Army Network Integration Evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands, N.M. A principal goal of the NIE was to validate the Army’s network architecture, which includes both the AN/PRC-117G and AN/PRC-152A radios, for Capability Set 13.
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Marine Corps to Obtain Close Quarter Battle Pistol Colt Defense LLC, of West Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $22.5 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for production, delivery and logistical support of the close quarter battle pistol to be used by special operators and others. The contract calls for procurement of thousands of M1911A1 rail guns to be delivered over the next five years. The .45 caliber weapon has greater power to stop an oncoming enemy than the widely-used 9 mm sidearm. Work will be performed in West Hartford, and is expected to be completed by July 2017. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., manages the contract.
Radio Amplifier for Tactical Radios Gains Certification AR Modular RF has received JITC certification for its KMW2030 tactical radio amplifier system when used with the Harris PRC-117G tactical radio. The amplifier has been previously certified for use with the PRC 117F and the PSC-5D. The KMW2030 was tested along with its associated Low Noise SATCOM pre-amp, the KMW2030P. This auto-band switching AM/FM-UHF/VHF DAMA amplifier uniquely fills the need for high-power tactical communications from ground vehicles, and can also be used for aircraft tactical operations. Designed for easy operation, the user need only select mode and power level to operate. The battle tested amplifier is protected against antenna mismatch, over-temperature, excessive current draw, high VSWR and DC power mismatch.
More Helmet Sensors Sought to Screen Head/Brain Injuries The U.S. Army has ordered thousands of additional helmet sensors that can be used to record the severity of head movements and impacts during a combat-related blast or explosion. The sensors, called Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems (HEADS), are provided by BAE Systems and are revolutionizing the way data is captured, stored and retrieved to determine the effects that improvised explosive devices and other blunt impacts have on a soldier’s head. Under a new $16.9 million contract, BAE Systems will deliver the HEADS Generation II sensors by January. This order will be in addition to approximately 20,000 sensors that are already in use. “Traumatic brain injuries are known as a signature injury for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Don Dutton, vice president and general manager of Protection Systems at BAE Systems. “The Army has an urgent demand for technologies that help identify individuals who may be in need of medical assistance for potential head and brain injuries. The data collected by HEADS during a traumatic event can be used to develop better protective
PEOPLE Lieutenant General John F. Mulholland, commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, has become deputy commander, SOCOM. Lieutenant General Charles T. Cleveland, commander, Special Operations Command Central, replaces Mulholland as commander of USASOC. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Harman assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 75th
equipment and for supporting further medical treatment.” Positioned beneath the crown suspension pad of most combat helmets, HEADS allows the Army and medical practitioners to continuously measure and collect critical and potentially lifesaving data. These include impact duration, blast pressures, ambient temperature, angular and linear accelerations, as well as the exact times of single or multiple blast events. The placement of the sensor inside the helmet ensures that accurate measurements are achieved. From late 2007 and into 2008, BAE Systems delivered more than 7,600 HEADS Generation I sensors to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Then HEADS Generation II was developed, introducing a wireless technology to download summary data of recorded events. Other enhancements to the sensor included a longer battery life, expanded pressure measurement and angular rate data. The latest $16.9 million award is part of a five-year contract awarded in June 2010. This award brings the cumulative value of the contract to approximately $34 million.
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Ranger Regiment, relieving Colonel Michael Foster, who will command the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. Thomas “Tom” Bunce, retired NSW officer, has been promoted to vice president of United States Marine Inc., designer and builder of SOF maritime craft including the SOCR and the 11 meter NSWRIB.
Major General Kevin W. Mangum was named to be commanding general, Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Fort Rucker, Ala. He most recently served as commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, Fort Bragg, N.C. Colonel John W. Thompson, commander, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), relinquished command to Colonel John
R. Evans, who had been deputy commanding officer of the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command—Afghanistan. Major General Paul Lefebvre, who is retiring, handed command of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command to Major General Mark Clark, who was named to the position last fall.
SOTECH 10.7 | 5
Innovations permit systems to detect incoming enemy fire, saving lives. By Christian Bourge SOTECH Correspondent
One of the largest threats to ground troops, ground vehicles and low-flying craft for U.S. military in theater has long been enemy snipers. In the sort of asymmetrical combat situations found in the densely populated urban centers of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the latter country’s mountainous rural regions, insurgent snipers have been particularly effective foes, taking advantage of terrain that offers a host of areas from which to perch and cacophonous audible cover created when gunfire sounds ricochet between buildings or rock formations.
6 | SOTECH 10.7
Mounted soldiers in Iraq complained about often not realizing they were being shot at on mounted patrols until later finding the physical evidence. So a ramped-up wartime research and spending environment led to the fielding of acoustic and infrared-sensor-based sniper detection systems for both vehicles and, more recently, individual soldiers. Instead of difficult visual searches to return fire—a situation where seconds can mean the difference between life and death for the warfighter—or being unaware of an attack in
the confines of a ground vehicle on patrol or helicopter during takeoff and landing, such systems provide near real-time visual and audible warnings via personal or on-board video systems. Systems deployed in theater have included Raytheon BBN Technologies’ HMMWV-, Stryker- and MRAP-mounted Boomerang acoustic gunfire locator, as wells as the QinetiQ North America-produced Army and Marine Corps fielded Ears Shoulder-Worn Acoustic Targeting Systems for individual soldier protection. Several companies are working to improve their designs to provide next-generation gunshot-detecting situational awareness tools for the nation’s warfighters, capabilities that meet a host of special operations needs. Shel Jones, vice president of Tulsa, Okla.-based soldier-wearable sniper detection system maker GWACS Defense Inc., sees continued strong military demand for sniper detection capabilities, because of the sort of battles U.S. soldiers will continue to fight. “My company, I believe, is in the right market sector [due to] the kinds of conflicts I see us continuing to get into because of the ongoing focus on special operations teams, your squad, patrol and company level [soldiers] and boots on the ground tactics,” Jones told Special Operations Technology. “Enhancing the situational awareness on the ground will continue to be a priority,” continued Jones. “We’re not going to have these big Cold War battles. It’s small unit tactics, winning the hearts and minds of the locals [who] will continue to take small pot shots and use IEDs against our soldiers. This is a lifesaving technology. It’s almost like body armor in terms of marketability.”
Soldier-Wearable Detection GWACS Defense’s Ground Warfare Acoustical Combat System (GWACS) is a 1-pound, man-wearable distributed acoustic detection system that operates fully distributed over a wireless mesh network without what Jones described as a single point of failure. Each individual unit includes a 1 5/8” x 3 1/3” x 5 1/4” hybrid array of proprietary microphonebased sensors that contribute to a hostile firing detection solution within 400 milliseconds, using a combination of processors running the firm’s specific classification algorithms, which process the signature of the sonic “crack” and/or muzzle blast “boom” sound associated with a gun firing. The system separates that acoustic signature from other loud noises such as fireworks or car backfires to eliminate false detections. The firm’s testing with multiple weapons has reportedly demonstrated 100 percent detection range and localization at 500 meters, along with rejection of non-gunshot events, including echoes, that allow it to work effectively in urban, mountainous and valley environments. “Rejecting non-gunshot events is critical because operators should never be distracted from their mission by false positives,” said Jones. The connected soldiers are provided the www.SOTECH-kmi.com
azimuth, distance and grid coordinates of a detected shooter on a 3/4” x 2 1/4” x 5 1/4” wrist-worn display, with an arrow that points to their location designated by visual clock positioning (i.e., one o’clock, etc.). The same information can also be provided to command posts within range. The dynamic system’s detection information updates as the soldier maneuvers toward the shooter. While each sensor contributes to an overall solution, it will provide an individual soldier-based solution should the wireless system fail or the warfighter moves out of wireless range. “It focuses on a platoon gaining situational awareness,” said Jones. While the system focuses on visual warning, the company offers an optional ear bud providing audible warning. The development roadmap for the systems also includes what Jones described as “extreme hearing enhancements and protection” and an Android app is in development to allow for the integration of smartphones to display warnings. The current GWACS 3.0 system runs for approximately eight hours using commercially available CR123 batteries—a rechargeable system operates up to 20 hours—and transmits on 900MHz or 2.4 GHz wireless encrypted networks at ranges in excess of 500 meters with multiple integrated antennae adjusting for the orientation of the sensor. GWACS is also radio agnostic, meaning the interface can run on any low latency radio or network system. Founded in 2006 with the primary focus of developing gunshot detection systems, the company received a $5 million congressional earmark in 2010 sponsored by Oklahoma lawmakers: Democratic Rep. Dan Boren, and Republicans Rep. John Sullivan and Sen. Jim Inhoffe. Jones said the funding was used for a contract delivery of 12 systems for Marine Corps evaluation and testing. The firm is currently exploring the adaptability of the system for foot soldiers and in new robotic applications with Army officials at Fort Benning, Ga., as well as a modular version of the system for ground vehicle use. Following helicopter testing with “very positive results,” the company is also moving forward with development of a hostile fire detection system for rotor craft as well as ground armored vehicles, along with a rapid deployable, fixed site system for temporary or permanent acoustic surveillance. That work is ongoing, and Jones said the firm will work with the Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center sites in Huntsville, Ala., Warren, Mich., and Virginia’s Marine Corps Base Quantico. As to future detection development, Jones said the firm is also developing means to detect gunfire before it even occurs, using the signature sound of the weapon being prepared to fire such as the bolt being pulled back on an AK-47 assault rifle, as well as using acoustic signatures to classify the type of bullet fired at the user.
Infrared Aerial Detection Hunstville-based Radiance Technologies Ground Fire Acquisition System (GFAS) is bringing what the company’s chief engineer described as “eyes on target” to the Block II AH-64D Apache Longbow. Scheduled to head to Afghanistan for in-theater evaluation, the Army is expected to make the system standard on the new Block III Apaches pending the outcome. SOTECH 10.7 | 7
Wide Area Threat Awareness
The Ears shoulder-worn acoustic targeting system can locate the origin of enemy fire. [Photo courtesy of QinetiQ Group]
“It’s basically an infrared system that picks up the gun flash and categorizes the weapons signature,” Radiance’s Peter L. Weiland explained to SOTECH. “It can classify the weapon, small arms, machine guns, RPGs, that type of thing. The Apache guys were interested in a targeting system to augment the current weapon systems because of the [ground] threats.” Integrated with the Apache’s existing modernized target acquisition/designation sight and cockpit displays via the helicopter’s existing aircraft gateway processer, detection starts with mid-wave infrared sensors in pods. The system, which detects threats via heat signature, not only senses small arms fire, but also points the helicopter’s targeting systems toward threats in what Weiland described as “virtual real time.” It can also detect and target small rocket and mortar fire as well, buttressing the helicopter’s existing threat detection systems. “Basically, the crew clicks on [the displayed and audibly notified threat warning] and it turns the targeting sensor to the source of gun fire,” he said. Originally developed for ground based applications under the Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Overwatch Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program, the detection technology has been deployed since 2005 primarily to provide ground perimeter security. In such ground applications, Weiland said the system incorporates a cooling system that was not required for the airborne version, given in-flight airflow. Along with its current Apache system, the company also has a version of its helicopter-based gunshot detection systems for a door gunner, such as those found on CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters that company personnel are currently integrating. And while false alarms have led to other enemy fire detection systems being turned off by pilots, he said Army concerns about such occurrences with GFAS were allayed in testing. “It’s significantly less than other systems that are out there.” He also predicted that as the sniper detection sector matures, the inevitable march of sensor technology will provide for continued improvements in detection range and enhanced performance. “The next generation ground-based systems that we are designing right now will be half the size of the current sensor and draw half the power,” he said. 8 | SOTECH 10.7
While much of the sniper detection market is focused on providing information about those shooting at an individual soldier, small warfighter teams, and combat vehicles, Mountain View, Calif.-based ShotSpotter takes a different approach to the military gunshot detection market with the ShotSpotter CIKR (Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources System). James G. Beldock, senior vice president, products and business development, for ShotSpotter, described other shot detections systems as being based on an a priori model, meaning their designs are based on assumptions about what or who will take the fire in a combat situation. “To be clear, that differentiates us from counter sniper systems dramatically,” said Beldock. “Our system is designed to give you an answer when you don’t know what will be shot at. It’s protection for large areas where you don’t know what the mode of attack is going to be,” he continued. “A good example of a military use is a forward operating base or a piece of critical infrastructure that we need to protect in order to protect assets in the area, like a power station.” Beldock said the company’s wide-area, acoustic sensor-based surveillance products provide an overall picture of a threat situation up to 60 square kilometers, contrasted with what he described as the 400-600 meter by 50-100 meter detection range typical of sniper detection systems. In addition, the ShotSpotter system can detect both subsonic and supersonic gunfire along with explosives and projectiles, but this comes with the cost of a few-seconds delay in detection when compared to some other anti-sniper systems. “We can work with anything that goes bang, not just supersonic emissions. We can cover anything,” said Beldock. “The downside is that the response time is within seconds, not within a second. That depends very much on the range.” This is accomplished using a number of stationary acoustic sensors connected to create redundant detection capabilities across the area protected. In the wide-area detection systems, those sensors triangulate the sound of a potential threat, feeding it into computerbased analysis software and fire detection alerts are provided via a computerized map of the area covered. The threat is displayed in longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates with calculable range and bearing available for every point on the map. The operational time for the portable system varies widely depending on the communications system used and type and size of battery integrated. Broadly, Beldock pegged operational time as generally in the “low tens of hours.” And while ShotSpotter has abandoned the individual solder and military vehicle protection sniper detection market after making a warfighter-mounted system to focus primarily on shot detection systems for civilian law enforcement, ShotSpotter still provides incorporation of UAV-mounted sensors into the system as a means to provide wide-area detection from the sky, which he said can help protect all soldiers in the area covered. “That [ShotSpotter system] gives you a pretty large area of protection,” he said. “And unlike the clock-based sniper systems relative to a single person (or vehicle), it is map-based, utilizing longitude and latitude to calculate range and bearing over the entire area covered.” O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.sotech-kmi.com.
Multiple systems make warfighters clearly understood. By Henry Canaday SOTECH Correspondent Effective communication with local populations in the field has been, and will continue to be, an essential requirement for U.S. military operations, especially the missions of Special Operations Command. Thorough training in local languages may be the best solution, but it is impractical and impractically expensive on a wide scale, given the length of time required to master a new language, the number of languages in which familiarity may be needed and, sometimes, the unpredictability of which language will actually be needed. The next-best solution is often the availability of reliable and trustworthy interpreters. These too can be hard to come by, in sufficient numbers, without the help of firms experienced in both military needs and recruitment of reliable people who speak many different, and often rare, languages and dialects. WorldWide Language Resources provides the military with linguists and interpreters who can also translate documents and provide advice on local cultures, all on the battlefield, www.SOTECH-kmi.com
explained Ron Haynes, vice president for business development. The company has 300 employees with Special Operations Command and about 20 with British and Australian troops in Afghanistan. WorldWide employees even run post offices in Afghanistan. In that theater, WorldWide helps with Dari, Pashto and Urdu and a “smattering of other languages,” Haynes said. The firm also has Arabic and Spanish speakers and works for civilian agencies in the United States, although the majority of its work is for the military. Founded in 1995 by a former special operations officer, WorldWide uses bilingual native speakers of the target language, most of whom are recruited in the United States and have security clearances, although a minority are recruited in Afghanistan. “We get very skilled individuals,” Haynes said. Ten recruiters are based in Fayetteville, N.C., and 15 others are stationed at major ethnic hubs across the United States. “They are high-end speakers, at ILR [International Language Roundtable] 3 plus levels.” SOTECH 10.7 | 9
These interpreters are far better than translation devices. “We believe in machines; you cannot have a linguist everywhere,” Haynes said. “But talking to a person feels different than talking to a machine. You can look people in the eye and pick up nuances. When I was a soldier I first used point-and-talk pictures. Later on I got an interpreter. He probably saved my life a couple of times.” In addition to interpreters and linguists, WorldWide provides related services, including customized language training, in-country cultural immersion programs, language books and CDs and intensive training in survival-language skills. Haynes said WorldWide plans to continue expanding the depth and breadth of its linguistic services, with special emphasis on whatever languages the U.S. military needs, wherever it goes. If you can’t have an interpreter at your side in the field, the next best solution is to have one on call. Better yet is to have many interpreters just a quick radio or phone call away. Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) Defense makes LingoLink, a remote interpreter service system that enables users at the forward edge to communicate easily and effectively with local populations, according to Macy Summers, vice president of Strategic Planning. “LingoLink extends availability of field interpretation to more mission scenarios, significantly improving the effectiveness of field personnel interacting with local populations.” LingoLink offers an innovative service delivery model that can connect in-field users to many interpreters. Using commercial cellular, Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, 4G or tactical communications networks, LingoLink
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After delivering three tractors, Army Capt. Steve Davies speaks to local sheiks through an interpreter in the Ain al-Tamur District of Karbala, Iraq, May 23. Davies and fellow Special Operations Task Force - Central soldiers supplied the tractors to the agricultural district to help lower costs of cultivating the land and increase farming production. [Photo courtesy of DoD]
connects field users to these interpreters in a remote service center within their area of operation. When support is needed, users initiate a connection with a qualified interpreter. Outfitted with smartphones and peripheral devices, these users can then exchange high-quality audio, biometric data, photographs and text with their interpreters, either in real time or offline. In addition, LingoLink enables interpreters to provide private, whispered cultural and intelligence support—beyond the words being spoken aloud—on the local community’s culture, security, economy and laws. Summers said LingoLink is best suited for field interpretation, offline translation of photographed documents, intelligence collection, training in cultures and languages, and verification of interpreters in the field by a pool of linguists. It can also provide relief for field interpreters who need a break. And it can do geo-location and identification of local populations. Because it reaches back to a pool of interpreters, LingoLink greatly increases the number of interpreters and the languages and dialects they can handle. Vocabulary sizes will depend on a number of interpreters, not on a machine or just one interpreter. “Although LingoLink was originally designed for Lockheed Martin’s tactical users, it is a viable solution for the interpretation problems of any user in a remote location, for first responders, for disaster relief and for trainers,” Summers said. “The distinct advantages of Lingo Link are increased interpretation capabilities, increased quality of interpreters and enhanced training and situational awareness,” Summers said. “It does not replace inperson interpreters, but fills the gap between machine translation and live interpreters.” Lockheed is now working to enhance LingoLink to support video capture. The U.S. military’s need for language services has traditionally meant helping English-speaking Americans communicate with local populations that cannot speak English. But there also are occasions when the military needs help understanding and speaking with those who have some, but not complete, comprehension of English. In this case, two approaches are possible: interpretation between the www.SOTECH-kmi.com
proficient and less proficient English speakers, or upgrading the proficiency of the less-capable English speaker. For the first approach, Language Line Services’ primary product is telephone interpreting services available within seconds in over 170 languages for a wide variety of government and civilian markets, according to spokesman Dale Hansman. The firm’s language capabilities extend almost from A to Z, beginning with Afrikaans and including Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Somali and Urdu. These supported languages represent about 99 percent of all customer-requested languages, out of nearly 7,000 languages spoken in the world today. In addition, Language Line Services offers on-site interpretation, video interpretation, testing of interpreters and document translation. And it can do localization, the translation of software, websites, online help, multimedia and other applications into different languages. There is even a Language Line Mobile Interpreter, the world’s first Apple iPhone application with on-demand access to live interpreters in 10 languages. Language Line Services’ telephone interpretation is done by a three-way conference call among the government client, a speaker with limited English proficiency (LEP) and the Language Line Services interpreter. There are 5,000 of these interpreters available, providing coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at two redundant computer centers. “Any telephone can be used to access our service,” Hansman noted. The company also offers a special Language Line Services phone, a dual-handset phone that two people can use to communicate with
the interpreter. For interpretation of videos, Language Line Services provides a suite of services based on internet protocol (IP) and delivers high-quality audio, video and text. The service can support communication for deaf people in American Sign Language and Mexican Sign Language. Hansman said virtually any organization, large or small, public or private, that serves or communicates with LEP speakers can benefit from Language Line Services capabilities. The tools are especially useful for emergency, health and social services and for defense units. The firm has worked for the Air Force, Army and Navy and many other federal agencies. “Providing service to special operations is a highly specialized area and one that we are exploring,” Hansman added. He said Language Line Services is now the world’s largest provider of quality language interpretation and other services. It was launched in 1982 by a language instructor at Monterey’s U.S. Army Defense Language Institute (DLI), so “law enforcement and military applications are in our corporate bloodlines.” Language Line Services was once owned by AT&T and is still AT&T’s sole language-services provider, remaining a close partner of the telecom giant. “With this heritage of technology, Language Line Services has created a team of interpreters and translators second to none in our industry, providing state-of-art language products and services,” Hansman said. The two firms recently launched AT&T On Demand Interpreter, powered by Language Line Services. Over the long term, the second approach of improving the English-speaking skills of those who are not native English speakers
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Marines from 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, walk past local village workers standing outside of Forward Operating Base Todd, Badghis Province, Afghanistan. Local labor is hired to perform many of the manual labor tasks required to build and maintain the FOB with the intention of creating jobs in the community and boosting the local economy. [Photo courtesy of DoD by Sgt. Edmund L. Hatch]
may also be attractive. The real challenge is to do this effectively and economically for a large number of people who may be spread over continents and across oceans. Carnegie Speech’s NativeAccent is a web-based, highly personalized tool for improving proficiency in English vocabulary, grammar and speech for huge numbers of people with some acquaintance with English in a cost-effective manner. Chief Executive Officer Paul Musselman said NativeAccent was used in a similar way to improve U.S personnel proficiency in Farsi in Iraq. He sees a future need to upgrade the English proficiency, post-conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the local and multinational teams that will have to communicate in English to do their very critical jobs. “We envision post-conflict efforts by
a number of multinational organizations to provide humanitarian aid and stabilize the environment,” Musselman explained. “English will be a key factor in their effectiveness.” He is a graduate of DLI at Monterey and was a special operations medic in a number of countries. He said anything similar to the ninemonth course at Monterey simply is not possible or economical for the huge numbers of people who must learn to speak English well. So Carnegie adapted technologies developed at Carnegie Mellon University to provide an intelligent tutoring system that can work over the Internet to tailor instructions to the exact deficiencies in each person’s English, whether these deficiencies are in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, or accents and stresses. All the learner needs is access to the Internet, a headset and a microphone. The application cannot be used for initial instruction. “The person must have some familiarity with English,” Musselman said. “But say you have a challenge in pronouncing the ‘th’ sound. NativeAccent’s Intelligent Tutor will work on just that.” In addition to the Intelligent Tutor, NativeAccent has a special technology that distinguishes speech at the level of specific consonant and vowel sounds. That means it can teach students not just to pronounce scripted phrases correctly, but to extend their conversational competence to sentences they have not practiced. The result is much faster improvement than can be achieved in generalized courses taught by books, in classrooms or in un-personalized Internet applications. In one hour per day for 10 days, Indian students improved their English grammar 68 percent, their fluency 120 percent and their articulation 147 percent. They registered an average improvement of 72 percent in the sound of spoken English, and the weakest students showed the greatest improvements. Overall, the application showed 2.5 times the improvement that traditional classroom instruction achieves. Further, over the Internet, NativeAccent is vastly more affordable than conventional methods, especially for far-flung learners. O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.sotech-kmi.com.
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BLACK WATCH Secure Encryption Unveiled for Cells, Tablets Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions (RTCS) Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions (RTCS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Co., has broadened its leading cross domain solutions strategy to include the government’s growing need to access classified cloud and terrestrial networks from a mobile phone or tablet device. From soldiers in theater to government executives who are teleworking, the requirements for seamless collaboration have resulted in a need to access an increasing number of disparate classified or sensitive networks simultaneously from mobile devices. “Our team is carefully watching industry developments and working with the best and most advanced technologies to ensure it continues to be the leader in providing cross domain users with the access they require, regardless of the device they use,” said Ed Hammersla, chief operating officer for RTCS. “We are developing our mobile strategy based on direct user feedback,” he said. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. The level of security required for cross domain mobile computing varies from customer to customer; thus we are building sufficient flexibility into our mobile solution to enable us to meet a variety of needs.”
What’s Hot in Special Operations Gear
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Solar Electric Unmanned Aerial System Unveiled Silent Falcon UAS Technologies Silent Falcon UAS Technologies unveiled the Silent Falcon solar electric unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The introduction of the solar electric powered Silent Falcon small UAS and its high definition electro-optical and infrared sensor package was extremely well received by the UAS industry for introducing the next generation of technological innovation to the small, man-portable class of UAS, the company noted. Silent Falcon’s extremely long endurance and high quality high definition imagery and data has heretofore been unavailable in UAS in the Silent Falcon’s size and weight class. The company has been collaborating with Bye Aerospace to develop the small tactical UAS, designed to be man-portable for longer-duration intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Silent Falcon employs proprietary technological advancements in aeronautical design; electrical propulsion systems, solar energy capture, storage and management; latest-generation electro-optical and infrared sensors; advanced target identification and tracking methodologies; and unique target image and data capture and transmission capabilities. The combined result is a tactical UAS and sensor system with capabilities that exceed any UAS in its class, the company stated.
John Brown, CEO of Silent Falcon UAS Technologies, said, “After over two years of development, we are excited to bring this extraordinary sUAS to market. We believe we have introduced truly disruptive technological innovation to the sUAS market, and are proud to introduce Silent Falcon, the UAS that embodies the
latest aerospace, electronic and sensor technologies to enable it to “Fly Silent, Fly Longer and See More.” CEO of Bye Aerospace George Bye said, “The synergy of several new technologies made this remarkable solar-electric drone possible. Research results are confirming breakthroughs in a very quiet aircraft and unprecedented electric flight persistence.” Silent Falcon UAS Technologies is accepting orders for the Silent Falcon UAS and its FalconVision sensor package for delivery in late 2012 and early 2013.
Long-Lasting Lighting Innovation is Developed Brite-Strike Technologies Brite-Strike Technologies has developed APALS, the all purpose adhesive light strips, for special operators and others. The lights have several modes—fast strobe, slow strobe, steady and off, and are waterproof, shockproof and dust proof. With an average run time of 100 to 400 hours, they have an adhesive that can be attached to any surface. They are a substitute for chemical light sticks and can be used day or night as a signaling system. 14 | SOTECH 10.7
The Special Operatorsâ€™ Higher Education Guide
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The Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide
MILITARY EDUCATION PLAN By Admiral Bill H. McRaven Commander U.S. Special Operations Command will provide SOF warriors with the critical Our people are our most valuable asthinking skills necessary to effectively opset, and just as they have been the key to erate in the complex, continually evolving special operations forces’ current and past environment in which they live. successes, they will be the key to our future Developing, implementing and managsuccess. ing a SOF professional military education We must resist the temptation to read plan will be no small task, but the SOF our own press and rest on our laurels. We leader who has that responsibility is highly must remain adaptive and relevant. In the motivated and qualified. 25 years since U.S. Special Operations Recently, Major General Bennet SacolCommand was created, we have adapted ick, who gave up command of the U.S. and performed beyond expectations—but Army John F. Kennedy Spetimes are changing and our enemies cial Warfare Center and are on the move. School, reported to To ensure SOF’s future sucUSSOCOM headcess, we have to provide our quarters. He is the people with the critical thinkfirst director of ing skills necessary to effecthe newly formed tively operate in an increasForce Manageingly complex environment. ment Directorate. Clearly, we need to continue One of his directorto improve our understanding ate’s responsibilities and respect for other cultures, Adm. Bill H. is the SOF professional improve our language capability McRaven military education plan. and cultivate our ability to build reMajor General Sacolick put lationships. But these skills are simply the his team together some time ago, and they tools we use to help us define and develop have already begun work. solutions to the problem. SOF warriors are problem solvers first Critical to our current and future and foremost. By building and implementinitiatives is developing programs deing a SOF professional military education signed to train, educate and manplan, we will better arm them to make the age the career paths of our special right decisions, apply the right approach operators. These programs will result in a or mixture of approaches with the right baltailored SOF professional military educaance and ensure SOF’s future success. tion plan and training opportunities that
Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide | SOTECH 10.7 | 17
The Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide
Military students balance service, schooling to open opportunities. By William Murray SOTECH Correspondent Capping a six-and-a-half-year effort, Army Staff Sergeant Lacey Jemmott earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology in April. While she didn’t meet many of her classmates or professors, never attended a college basketball or football game nor engaged in many other rituals that thousands of American college students enjoy, her efforts just may be her ticket to becoming an Army officer. “It was definitely a relief,” she said of earning a degree from American Military University, an online educational provider. “I had to balance my education and the military.” This refrain is similar to that heard from millions of nontraditional college students who work full-time jobs while attending college. The sacrifice appears to have been worth it, in terms of potential advancement in her military career, a message repeated by other enlisted personnel from the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (SOAR(A)) at Fort Campbell, Ky., interviewed for this story. They don’t care 18 | SOTECH 10.7 | Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide
so much about pledging for a fraternity or sorority, developing a network of friends, or putting on a graduation gown—experiences that tend to come to students of residential four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Military students often are not caught up in the prestige of attending exclusive colleges. Rather, these soldiers are all about the end result: the diploma. In January, Jemmott, an assistant operations non-commissioned officer, will be a candidate for Officer Candidate School, so earning the degree was welltimed to improve her chances of success. “Ever since I got the degree, everything’s been falling into place,” she said. She also cited her fellow soldiers, including her commanding officers, as being “very understanding and helpful.” Jemmott’s higher education included two years at Hopkinsville Community College in Kentucky, where she took courses and earned her associate degree in April 2010. Jemmott estimates that she spent 15 to 20 hours each week attending online classes during her time in college. The Columbia, Ill., native has been a soldier for seven years. She initially wanted to study social work, but an Introduction to Sociology course unexpectedly got her excited about the study of society. She said that it was helpful to have fellow soldiers, including superiors, supportive of continuing her education. Ultimately, however, one can’t depend on the support of family or friends if the goal of earning a college degree is paramount www.SOTECH-kmi.com
in one’s mind. “It’s up to you,” she said of the need to successfully balance work and school. Another special operations soldier concurred. “The degree is for me, not anyone else,” said Private First Class Jeremy Varela, aviation operations specialist at the 160th. His military background and knowledge of aviation operations is turning out to be an asset in mastering the courses he takes. “I’ve always wanted to go to college.” A soldier who enlisted in early 2011, Varela began to take online and face-to-face classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in May 2012. He chose that university because of its strong aeronautical reputation; Varela’s minor is helicopter operations. The challenge with taking face-to-face classes, according to Varela, is that students have to commit to attending traditional classes for a five-to-eight week period. In the fall, Varela has enrolled in two face-to-face classes and one online. One aspect he appreciates about Embry-Riddle’s online classes is the on-demand help that is available to him, including technical assistance and help from instructors, who agree to log on during certain hours each week to chat with their students and answer questions from them. Some students also report that videos posted by their instructors for online classes are very helpful. “I think for us, special operations soldiers, our time management is even crazier than other soldiers,” so it’s important to have good habits and give special consideration to whether one should enroll in online classes or face-to-face courses, Varela said. Other Army special operators noted that successfully completing online classes took an initial adjustment because they were used to classroom learning, in which they could see and hear their instructors and classmates and ask questions and receive answers quickly. One could say that soldiers have traded convenience—being able to take online courses at the time and place most convenient to them—for perhaps a richer learning experience. The Army College Fund—an enlistment benefit that augments the Montgomery GI Bill entitlement to recruit skilled soldiers who work in military occupational specialties where the Army has strong needs— has been suspended since October 1, 2011. Under the Montgomery GI Bill, active duty military pay $100 per month to receive educational benefits, once they have passed a minimum time served. For those leaving service, another benefit is available: The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. One must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. www.SOTECH-kmi.com
Some colleges that cater to the military, such as American Military University, offer tuition assistance to military personnel who qualify. Soldiers attending for-profit universities report that some for-profit colleges and universities that target military personnel offer online classes exclusively, while others offer both traditional face-to-face classes on military bases as well as online instruction. Special operators who have enrolled in such colleges and universities appreciate the option to take five-to-eight week classes that are nonetheless worth three credits, and usually look to other soldiers for referrals when choosing a college or university. It’s very difficult, after all,
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Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide | SOTECH 10.7 | 19
The Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide to differentiate between for-profit colleges and universities, so the endorsement of a fellow soldier carries a lot of weight. Special operators who have a preference for traditional faceto-face learning report that, due to their hectic work schedules and unusual work hours, it is important to learn to adapt to taking online classes, even if such an experience means they will have to learn to wait on their professors to answer questions and they will never meet either their professors or classmates in person. Some universities, in addition, give the soldiers credit for military experience, such as non-commissioned officer leadership classes and physical training, toward earning a college degree. Special operators also appreciate the relatively quick applications process that forprofit universities seem to favor, even though there are certain contingencies that might be applicable, such as previous transcripts and the need to take placement tests. The soldiers also say that knowing that they will have to pay for the classes if they earn a grade less than a C helps give them extra motivation to do well in their classes. To be sure, some for-profit schools have attracted controversy recently concerning low student graduation rates and predatory recruiting practices of military personnel with brain trauma and emotional vulnerabilities. A Senate report on the subject may be viewed at: www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/for_profit_report/contents.pdf Staff Sergeant Carlos Gilliam, logistics operator at the 160th SOAR(A), is a professional studies major at Austin Peay State University. “It was convenient, and they had a clear career plan,” he said of his decision to enroll at Austin Peay. He spends as much as a dozen hours each week on his studies and appreciates that he can take three-credit classes in eight weeks, as opposed to the usual 16-week full-semester classes, to help him complete classes quicker and avoid any potential complications with deployments. Gilliam already holds an associate degree and thinks he could earn his bachelor’s degree within 18 months. One challenge with attending Austin Peay State University is that he has to take two foreign language classes; he’s taking a second Spanish class to meet this requirement, having earlier completed a conversational Spanish class. The South Carolina native has taken online classes and plans to start taking face-to-face courses beginning in October. “It’s more work than when you take [the class] in the classroom,” Gilliam said. “I feel like in the classroom, you learn more. I didn’t want to do online classes. Of course, with our unit, you can’t always go to the classroom,” so online classes can make more sense. He holds a 3.5 grade point average at Austin Peay and seems very likely to reach his graduation goal. Another soldier spoke of the career benefits that he sees a college degree helping him to obtain in the civilian world, as opposed to promotions potential as a soldier. “As much as I love being in the Army, I know that my Army career won’t always be there for me,” said Specialist Michael R. Noggle, a public affairs non-commissioned officer with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. “An education is something that no one can take away from you, and it’s a good preparation for a civilian career,” he said. Here again, a student finds that his military skills and background are helping him in school. His public affairs work entails a great deal of writing and note-taking, skills that are well-used in his online classes. 20 | SOTECH 10.7 | Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide
Noggle is pursuing a bachelor’s in organizational management at Ashford University and spoke about how he can make conference comments for his online classes with a smartphone or notebook PC anywhere, as long as there is a Wi-Fi or Internet connection. The Oswego, Ill., native recalled making two conference postings for a class using a smartphone while waiting at a deer stand during a hunting trip thousands of miles away from home. A soldier for nine years, Noggle made a deal with his son after he began first grade last year: that he would continue his education, just as his son was beginning his. As his son completed homework assignments at the dinner table in the evenings, Noggle could work beside him. “I knew I had to set a good example,” Noggle said. It’s worked well so far, and he has upheld his side of the agreement. A dean’s list student, he has maintained a grade point average near 4.0 and has completed 66 semester hours so far, including 16 credit hours completed this year. He estimates that he spends 10 to 12 hours a week during the early weeks of his five-week online classes and 18 to 24 hours a week as classes come to a conclusion, with major projects due. “It’s best suited for who I am as a person,” Noggle said of the online classes at Ashford University, a realization he came to after initially resisting online learning. He had previously attended classes at three other colleges and universities. He reported that Ashford University personnel gave him very clear application instructions and that he was able to complete the process within three days by following their directions methodically. While some soldiers may prefer traditional face-to-face classes, there are members of the younger enlisted generation who prefer online classes. A student at Austin Peay State University for more than 18 months, Specialist Jacob Elliott, aviation operations specialist at the 160th, prefers online classes. He plans to receive an associate degree within 18 months. “There are deadlines, of course, but you can work at your own pace,” Elliott said. The native of Clarksville, Tenn., has been in the Army since March 2009 and reserves the first part of each Saturday to complete online homework assignments for his classes. His wife, who reminds him of this obligation if he seems to want to slack off, is getting ready to earn her bachelor’s degree, so she understands his need to have good study habits and the importance of Elliott earning his degree. “It helps when NCOs and leadership value what you value,” Elliott said of the support from his chain of command. “The biggest challenge is balancing work and school. You still have to pull your weight at work,” even when taking courses toward a degree and burning the midnight oil to successfully complete papers and assignments on deadline without plagiarism, he said. It helps when he schedules his time and makes sure that he sticks to his routine, despite the temptations sometimes on the weekends to relax. Ultimately, for each person in uniform, the ability to earn a degree while earning a living as a warrior is one of the great benefits of military service. O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.sotech-kmi.com.
EDUCATION PARLAYS MILITARY EXPERTISE into
By Mike Bibbee, MBA Vice President and Director University of Phoenix Military Division
Although some think that military skills are useful only in practicing the art of war, they actually can provide a critically beneficial background to help warfighters succeed in the classroom. Consider that combatants must be able to master highly complex systems on today’s battlefields. Those in uniform must be electronic warriors using computerized intelligence about the enemy—as much as firepower and munitions—throughout the day. This translates into advantages for military personnel as they pursue studies that can help them increase their personal value both to the military and to potential civilian employers. From enormously complex electronics found in ship- and land-based missile defense systems, to satellite communication systems used by dismounted soldiers, the military is filled with high-tech gear. Thus, it is not surprising that, in a world where both military and civilian organizations cannot operate without computers, the University of Phoenix Bachelor of Science in information technology is the most popular degree for military students. Students appreciate the opportunities that the program can unlock for them in both the private and public sectors. Military students also widely acknowledge that IT issues, such as information warfare and cybersecurity, are increasingly important. A significant portion of military education focuses on information technology, so when personnel think about another career, they tend to pursue this degree because they’re already very experienced. Another academic program helping military personnel advance in both military and www.SOTECH-kmi.com
civilian sectors is the Master of Business Administration. The MBA program attracts the most military students of all business programs because many individuals exiting the military or involved in the National Guard already have an undergraduate degree. The MBA is also a very marketable degree. Whether one is interested in profit or nonprofit work, the MBA opens up a lot of career doors. Then there is the Bachelor of Science in management, a degree program with substantial transferable credit flexibility, including the ability to apply relevant military training to credits. Since most military training that has been evaluated for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE) is awarded at the undergraduate level, students are able to leverage a larger amount of their military training toward achieving their degrees faster. This program allows students to apply up to 33 credit hours of interdisciplinary/elective credits—a much larger amount than, for example, the 18 credit hours that the Bachelor of Science in business allows. Another program in which a military background can help a warrior student in the classroom is the Bachelor of Science in health care administration. This degree provides military students with geographic flexibility and the ability to pursue the nation’s most robust jobs. In this economy, the unemployment rate of veterans has been higher than the national average, so many military students are looking to this degree as a means to obtain and sustain a job in a promising field. For example, in just one month—July 2012—the economy created 12,000 new health care jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, even as the overall
Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide | SOTECH 10.7 | 21
The Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide unemployment rate remained high at 8.3 percent. One set of degree programs offers an extra measure of familiarity to military personnel and veterans: Criminal justice degrees allow servicemembers to use skills they developed in uniform to help them pursue an education. They find comfort in security and criminal justice degrees, based on their military experiences. No particular degree program eclipsed another, statistically. Part of the reason these programs are so popular is because military
students are used to being around weapons or in some type of security capacity and want to leverage those skills. Finally, there is the Bachelor of Science in environmental science. This fairly new University of Phoenix degree program has quickly gained traction within the past year, thanks to the increasing global awareness of the environment. In addition, it’s also a skill set inherent to military students. After all, when there is a large-scale ecological disaster, who is one of the first to be called for help? It’s the military. O
COMBINING COLLEGE CREDITS
from MULTIPLE INSTITUTIONS
By Jim Cronin and Pershail Young University of Maryland University College
For the typical military servicemember, earning a college degree almost always involves combining credits from different sources and different institutions. Relocations and deployments take today’s servicemembers across the country and around the world, sometimes making it impractical or even impossible to complete a degree at a single institution. It’s no surprise that at University of Maryland University College—with its 65-year history of serving the military—83 percent of the new students who enrolled in fall 2011 transferred from another college or university. And life experience or military training may also translate into college credit. In short, military servicemembers must be savvy about combining college credits. If they aren’t, they run the very real risk of wasting precious time and money taking or retaking 22 | SOTECH 10.7 | Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide
classes unnecessarily. And earning a college degree can quickly begin to look like an unattainable goal. Fortunately, help is available, in the form of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), which serves military personnel in all branches of the military. Established in 1972, SOC provides educational opportunities to members of the military who may have trouble completing college degrees due to multiple moves and deployments. SOC works alongside 15 higher education associations, the U.S. Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and active and reserve military services to expand and improve post-secondary education opportunities for servicemembers. With more than 1,900 accredited colleges and universities providing associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees for servicemembers and their www.SOTECH-kmi.com
families, students are encouraged to complete degrees, not just accumulate credits. Institutions like UMUC that are members of the SOC Consortium are required to keep their academic standards flexible, accepting credits from other institutions and evaluating nontraditional sources of credit as well, including the military training and occupational specialty credits that many Jim Cronin servicemembers bring to the classroom. Consortium members commit to meeting the following criteria: •
Maintaining reasonable standards for transferring credits from other schools Reducing the amount of time a student must complete in residence to earn a degree Granting credit for military training and experience, using the accepted standards set forth in the ACE (American Council on Education) Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services Granting credit for successfully completing nationally recognized exams from testing programs like the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST examinations, and Excelsior College examinations.
Institutions chosen by the military to deliver specific associate and bachelor’s degree programs to servicemembers and their families are also part of the SOC Degree Network System (SOC DNS), which goes above and beyond the SOC Consortium criteria. These military-friendly schools are chosen due to their flexible transfer policies, which allow servicemembers who move from place to place to complete a degree without losing credits earned elsewhere. SOC DNS members issue a SOC Student Agreement to degree-seeking students that articulates all course requirements for the degree bePershail Young ing sought, sources of accepted prior learning (whether transferred www.SOTECH-kmi.com
from other academic institutions or accepted from military training) and remaining requirements for degree completion. SOC DNS institutions also participate in guaranteed transfer agreements to accept courses that have been evaluated and approved by other participating institutions in the network. These courses, identified by SOC DNS course category codes, are deemed comparable in terms of course content and meet specific degree requirements at the home college without the need for further approval or review. The SOC Consortium and Degree Network System helps students complete requirements for a degree, provides options for earning credits from a variety of nontraditional credit sources and preserves academic integrity and seamless transferability. The Air Force does not participate in the SOC DNS, but many SOC DNS members provide support to Air Force students and assist in their completion of general education credits for their Community College of the Air Force degrees. UMUC is a member of both the SOC Consortium and the Degree Network System. Those memberships, along with the university’s regional accreditation, worldwide footprint, and status as a constituent institution of the respected University System of Maryland, help explain why more than 50,000 active duty military, veterans and military family members choose to attend UMUC. Every effort is made to streamline the credit transfer process and assist military servicemembers as they pursue a college degree. And that is a benchmark that every militaryfriendly institution should strive to attain. O AUTHORS’ BIOGRAPHY: Retired Lieutenant Colonel Jim Cronin is associate vice president, DoD Relations, for University of Maryland University College, a position he has held since retiring from the military in 2000. Cronin holds a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, a master’s degree from Central Michigan University, and a graduate certificate from UMUC. Pershail Young, a 26-year veteran of UMUC, is assistant vice president in the Office of Enrollment Management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a master’s degree in education and human development from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide | SOTECH 10.7 | 23
The Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide
HOW TO CHOOSE the right
By Jacqueline Rhodes Director, Navy College Office Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Fort Story, Va.
The Center for Personal and Professional Development’s voluntary education program is a conduit for equipping sailors with strong analytical skills, the ability to make informed decisions, and avenues to pursue their lifelong educational and credentialing goals. This applies equally to all sailors, including those assigned to duty in special forces. In fact, there are literally hundreds of opportunities to provide education and funding specifically for this group. These opportunities are as unique as the individuals who serve in this capacity. When members of the special forces visit a Navy College Office for counseling and direction, we discuss degree options based upon interests, skills and abilities, as well as determine what credits are transferrable based upon their prior military experience/ training and education. Upon completion of the assessment, the Navy College counselor will tailor a program to meet the needs of the member. These programs are likely to include the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) and the Navy College Program Distant Learning Partnership (NCPDLP) program. The NCPACE program enables a student to enroll in college courses via CD-ROM using the distance learning component of the program. The courses travel with students anywhere they are in the world. No Internet connection is required—only the student’s personal laptop, tablet or PDA device.
24 | SOTECH 10.7 | Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide
Students select courses based upon their desired degree plan, and enrollment occurs before deployment. The courses are monitored and exams proctored by their senior team leaders. The courses are free, and reimbursement of the books is often available through various special forces nonprofit organizations. The NCPDLP program allows students to choose from a wide range of degree programs related to their military occupations. These courses are strictly distance learning, which is appealing for members of the special forces since oftentimes traditional classes are not an option due to their intense travel/deployment schedules. These courses are often paid at a rate of 100 percent via the Navy’s Tuition Assistance programs. Additional financial resources are available to the special forces community, such as grants and scholarships. Navy College Offices have more details on these programs. Navy College Office education professionals understand the unique demands of special forces operators who wish to continue their education—contact your local Navy College Office or the Virtual Education Center to learn more about what we can do for you. O Navy College Program: https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/ Virtual Education Center: https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/dsp_vec.aspx
KEY PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN ADDED to the
The Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 made several key changes to the GI Bill. Effective August 1, 2009, payable starting October 1, 2011 • Expands the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include active service performed by National Guard members under title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard; or under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency.
Effective March 5, 2011 • Limits active duty members to the net cost for tuition and fees prorated based on the eligibility tiers (40 percent-100 percent) previously established for veterans. • Same limitations apply to transferee spouses of active duty servicemembers
Effective August 1, 2011 • For veterans and their transferees—simplifies the tuition and fee rates for those attending a public school and creates a cap of $17,500 for those enrolled in a private or foreign school • Pays all public school in-state tuition and fees; • Private and foreign school costs are capped at the national maximum annually; • The Yellow Ribbon Program still exists for out-of-state fees and costs above the cap. • For active duty members and their transferees—creates a national rate for those active duty members enrolled in a private or foreign school pursuing a degree • Pays all public school in-state tuition and fees; • Private and foreign school costs are capped at the national maximum per academic year (an academic year begins August 1) • Allows the VA to pay MGIB (chapter 30) and MGIB-SR (chapter 1606) ‘kickers’, or college fund payments, on a monthly basis instead of a lump sum at the beginning of the term • Pro-rates housing allowance by the student’s rate of pursuit (rounded to the nearest tenth) • A student training at a rate of pursuit of 75 percent would receive 80 percent of the BAH [basic allowance for housing] rate • Break or interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education benefit program unless under an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency, such as a natural disaster or strike. www.SOTECH-kmi.com
• This means that when your semester ends (e.g. December 15th), your housing allowance is paid for the first 15 days of December only and begins again when your next semester begins (e.g. January 10th) and is paid for the remaining days of January. • Students using other VA education programs are included in this change. Monthly benefits will be pro-rated in the same manner. • Entitlement that previously would have been used for break pay will be available for use during a future enrollment. • Allows reimbursement for more than one “license or certification” test (previously only one test was allowed). • However, entitlement is now charged • Allows reimbursement of fees paid to take national exams used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g., SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT) • Allows those who are eligible for both Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (chapter 31) benefits and Post-9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) benefits to choose the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s monthly housing allowance instead of the chapter 31 subsistence allowance.
Effective October 1, 2011 • Allows students to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for: • Non-college degree programs offered at non-degree granting schools: Pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees or the national maximum, whichever is less. Also pays up to $83 per month for books and supplies. • On-the-job and apprenticeship training: Pays a monthly benefit amount pro-rated based on time in program and up to $83 per month for books and supplies. • Flight programs: Per academic year, pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees assessed by the school or $10,000, whichever is less. • Correspondence training: Per academic year, pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees assessed by the school or $8,500, whichever is less. • Housing allowance is now payable to students (other than those on active duty) enrolled solely in distance learning. The housing allowance payable is equal to half the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents. • The full-time rate for an individual eligible at the 100 percent eligibility tier would be $673.50 for 2011. • Allows students on active duty to receive a books and supplies stipend Special Operators’ Higher Education Guide | SOTECH 10.7 | 25
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U.S. navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer robert Fluegel/released. Use of military imagery does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement
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Munition Scores Direct Hits on High-Speed Vehicles
Satcom On-the-Move Demonstrated for Use on Vehicles, Platforms
MBDA MBDA’s GBU-44/E Viper Strike munition launched from a Cessna Caravan test aircraft scored direct hits against highspeed vehicles in a recent two-day test. During a U.S. government-sponsored test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Viper Strike successfully hit eight vehicles travelling at extremely high speeds in varying realistic scenarios. “This proven high speed target attack capability is a game changer for warfighters that need to hit very fast vehicles with great precision and from any direction of attack” said Tom Bien, Viper Strike’s program manager. Viper Strike has been used in combat by both manned and unmanned aircraft, and will deploy next on the U.S. Marine Corps’ KC-130J Harvest HAWK [Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit] aircraft. Viper Strike is launched from a common launch tube that can be carried either internally or externally from the host aircraft, helicopter or UAV. Viper Strike is a glide munition capable of precisely hitting targets from extended stand-off ranges using GPS-aided navigation and an end-game, semi-active laser seeker. Its small, 44-pound, highly agile airframe, and its quiet attack profile provides a covert launch and low collateral damage effects against stationary and high speed moving targets. Using Viper Strike’s new fast-attack software, the weapon has proven that it can be quickly employed against moving targets by both air-designated and ground-designated targets. Viper Strike is in production at MBDA’s Huntsville, Ala., facility. Jerry Agee, president and CEO of MBDA, said, “Viper Strike is performing exceptionally well in test and combat environments. We’re pleased to get this weapon in the hands of our warfighters to aid them against their most challenging, high-speed targets.”
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. demonstrated its Mobile Multifunction Low-Cost Array (MMLCA) system, a prototype X-band Satcom On-the-Move phased array antenna that can be mounted on combat vehicles. The demonstration was conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Md. The MMLCA system was developed for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to demonstrate high data rate communications with military and commercial satellite systems. The system was developed under ONR’s FORCEnet Future Naval Capabilities program. MMLCA is a self-contained low profile antenna system with no rotating
parts for use by a variety of military combat vehicles and platforms. The system enables current and future military platforms to reduce the number of necessary antennas, provide better antenna coverage, and lower the overall silhouette of vehicles. Refinements identified during testing will be incorporated prior to fielding the system in an operational theater.
New Generation Radio Introduced Harris Corp. Harris Corp. introduced the next generation of the combat-proven Falcon III RF-7800W High-Capacity Line-of-Sight radio. The new RF-7800-OU500 provides the backbone for delivering command and control and situational awareness information between headquarters and the lowest echelons of the battlefield—allowing warfighters to use mission-critical applications such as realtime video, biometrics, IP telephony and teleconferencing. The new RF-7800W serves as the backbone of the Harris tactical Internet by creating wide-area battlefield networks that connect brigade and battalion headquarters
to forward-deployed units at company level and below. The radio offers several significant technical advances, such as dualband capability that extends the operational frequency range to 5.8 GHz and increased data throughput up to 400 megabits per second. “The Falcon III RF-7800W radio provides commanders and front-line personnel alike with a robust common operational picture based on improved intelligence and communications connectivity,” said Brendan O’Connell, president, international business, Harris RF Communications. “This radio, acting as the IP backbone, expands networking
services on the battlefield that broaden the use of applications such as video and situational awareness through tactical edge devices.” The Harris RF-7800W system has been deployed by more than 20 countries worldwide, including the U.S. Department of Defense. It is in use by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps and has been an integral part of the U.S. Army Network Integration Evaluation exercises. Built on the success of the existing system, the new RF-7800W dramatically extends ranges for wireless IP connectivity and leverages multiple input/multiple output antenna technology to establish and maintain robust data links.
SOTECH 10.7 | 27
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Warfighters Receive the Support They Need to Prevail in Battle Colonel Jeffrey Fultz Commanding Officer Marine Special Operations Support Group Colonel Jeffrey W. Fultz, a native of Flatwoods, Ky., was commissioned in April 1987 after graduating from the University of Kentucky. Upon completion of The Basic School in Quantico, Va., and the Armor Officer Basic Course in Fort Knox, Ky., he reported to Company A, 2d Tank Battalion, where he served as a platoon commander and deployed to Camp Fuji, Japan, as part of the Unit Deployment Program. He then deployed as Company A executive officer with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm aboard the USS Nassau. In May 1991, he reported to Marine Corps Security Force Company, Bermuda, where he served as executive officer, and in October 1991, as commanding officer. He relocated the company to NAS Patuxent River, Md., in the summer of 1992 and remained as the commanding officer until July 1994. He then reported to Fort Knox to attend the Armor Officer Advanced Course, Cavalry Leaders and M1A1 Tank Commanders Course. In March 1995, he transferred to 2d Tank Battalion where he served as the commanding officer of Company A. He briefly assumed command of Headquarters and Service Company in June 1996 before being selected as the aidede-camp, commanding general, 2d Marine Division in July 1996. He transferred to be the inspector-instructor, Company A, 8th Tank Battalion in June 1997. Selected to attend Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., he transferred there in June 2000. Upon graduation from CGSC in June 2001, he reported to Joint Interagency Task Force, West in Alameda, Calif. He served as the ground operations officer and organized, supervised, and executed special operations counter-narcotic training missions in Southeast Asia. During this period he also served as the counter-narcotics representative to USPACOM’s Joint Interagency Coordination Group for Counterterrorism and attended the Joint Forces Staff College. Upon graduation from JFSC and completion of his joint tour, he earned the additional MOS of joint specialty officer. In July 2004, he reported to commanding general, II MEF, where he was assigned to G3 Future Operations. Shortly after his arrival, he was directed to report to the commanding general, I MEF as an individual augment for Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and was subsequently assigned as the AC/S G7 for 1st Marine Division at Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi. Upon returning to II MEF in April 2005, he was assigned as JFCOM exercise planner. In October 2006, he served as deputy, Future Operations. In June 2007, he assumed the duty of Commanding Officer, 2d Tank Battalion, 2d Marine Division. www.SOTECH-kmi.com
In July 2008, Fultz reported to commanding general, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., for duty as the command inspector for the Depot and Eastern Recruiting Region. In March 2010, he assumed duties as the assistant chief of staff, G-3, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Eastern Recruiting Region, Parris Island, S.C. In July 2011, Fultz transferred to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he is currently serving as the commanding officer of Marine Special Operations Support Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Fultz’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with two Gold Stars), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Gold Star), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with Gold Star), and the Combat Action Ribbon. Q: In the year since you took command, what changes have you effected in MSOSG? A: This first year has been challenging as we continue to support combat operations while growing and reorganizing our forces at home. We have finalized our plans to establish or reflag into three cross functional battalion commands which will provide combat SOTECH 10.7 | 29
support [CS] and combat service support [CSS] personnel to our deploying units. Throughout this time, we have emphasized training, education and accountability. We have introduced or refined several courses such as the Multi-Discipline Intelligence Operators Course [MDIOC], which provides training across the various intelligence disciplines [cross-training] as well as advanced training within each Marineâ€™s own MOS. We have also refined the Special Operations Training Course, which provides baseline knowledge and combat skills needed by all CS and CSS Marines. These courses represent several that provide necessary and enhanced skills for our Marines to support deploying Marine special operations forces worldwide. As MARSOC continues its high operational tempo, demand for mission specialized equipment, and increasing equipment pool due to growth, we continue to reinforce ownership, accountability and maintenance of our USMC and SOCOM specific equipment. It A Marine Corps shadow UAV is launched. [Photo courtesy DoD] is through this mindset that we will sustain our readicommunicators has allowed for redundant and reliable data comness through the numerous deployment cycles and unique locations munications down to the team level and greatly increased the level that we deploy forces to. of planning and information sharing between all MSOT, MSOC and SOTF elements down range. Q: What training systems most help you in training Marines? The incorporation of intelligence systems, such as Palantir, to bridge operations and intelligence has provided the vital ability to A: We use the spectrum of USMC and SOCOM provided simulators rapidly ingest, publish and disseminate operational and intelligence and training devices to facilitate the individual currency and profireporting. Marine special operations teams in some of the most ciency of our Marines. These training systems are extremely valuable remote regions are able to share intelligence reporting with Marine in supporting all functional areas, from the multipurpose canine special operations company [intelligence] direct support teams. Over to tactical casualty care to vehicle roll-over to fire support trainthe next few years, I see our systems being used to rapidly identify ing. Examples of our systems include the USMC-provided Deployed not only previous operations by other units but historical context to Virtual Training Environment, which offers a span of training the numerous data points and reports being generated. opportunities from planning to first-person execution. The SOCOMprovided Joint Fires Product Line and the USMC Supporting Arms Q: How do Marine special operators, when they rotate from MARVirtual Trainer provide opportunities to conduct individual fire supSOC back to the larger Marine Corps, use their very specialized port training and rehearsals before ever talking to a live aircraft or training and experience to benefit other Marines? indirect fire assets. This allows us to maximize the limited aircrew availability. A: Our special operations capability specialists [SOCS] serve in MARSOC for up to five years. During this time, we are very fortunate to Q: Which unmanned aerial systems provide the largest volume of be able to train these Marines in SOF specialized and MOS enhancintelligence and most actionable intel? ing skills. Through all of the training and deployments, we build and foster a cross-functional, mission-oriented mindset capable of A: Our units use the spectrum of manned and unmanned airborne handling any challenge while in an austere and ambiguous environISR assets to provide needed information. The theater-provided ment. While the equipment may be different, the mindset and ability MQ-1s and MQ-9s provide incredible capabilities and station time, to problem frame are essential skills that will continue to be of value but we also receive support from ScanEagle unmanned aerial systo MARSOC and the greater Marine Corps. tems detachments. Several examples of the benefit to the Marine Corps include our intelligence and communications Marines. Weâ€™ve had a number Q: What progress have you seen recently in providing information of our intelligence professionals rotate from MARSOC to positions to the tactical edge, and what further progress do you expect to see within the Training and Education Command intelligence training in this area over the next few years? pipelines, both at the entry level as well as advanced level schools. This rotation benefits the Marine Corps, since these highly trained A: One of our strengths is the robust enabler packages that we professionals can share the multidisciplinary mindset. Another provide to deploying MARSOC elements. Our ability to provide comexample is our communications professionals who come from munications to MARSOC elements dispersed throughout the batnumerous Marine Corps communications and maintenance MOSs tlespace has enhanced the overall command and control capability yet cross train in SOF and Marine Corps radio, data and maintenance in the most austere of conditions. The wide variety of SDN [secure training. Once these Marines depart MARSOC and return to the digital network] communications equipment available to MARSOC 30 | SOTECH 10.7
operating forces, they better understand their role in the larger C4 structure and use this to mentor their junior Marines. Q: An initial round of $487 billion of defense cuts are set over the next 10 years. How will these reductions affect MSOSG? A: MSOSG has not received any instructions on any cuts we should expect. Q: What advances in communications capabilities would you like to see for Marine special operators? A: The rapid technological advancements in communications are simply amazing. With our continuing deployments in OEF and multiple engagements worldwide, weâ€™ll continue to need to find methods and technology to decrease our footprint and signature while increasing our high-bandwidth data reception at smaller, more remote sites. Q: Do you have any closing thoughts about MSOSG and the personnel who make it function every day? A: Although we are still building the capabilities of MSOSG, I am truly impressed at our capabilities and the direction we are going. MSOSG has assembled some of the finest, most well trained and highest skilled Marines in their field. By conducting cross train-
ing such as the MDIOC, I have young intel Marines that are skilled beyond the typical gunnery sergeant/master sergeant of the fleet. Through MNOC and ANOC I have communications Marines that are some of the best data and radio network operators in the Marine Corps. In MARSOCâ€™s operational concept for employment of its forces, a tremendous emphasis is placed on the role of intelligence and effective command and control to enable Marine special operations. Additionally, the ability to operate in a distributed environment, from austere and remote locations, independently, requires full-spectrum capabilities within a task-organized unit. This has to include worldclass intelligence collection and fusion, effective C2, and enabling capabilities such as our canine capability and the ability to employ operational fires as well as expeditionary logistics. All servicemembers within MSOSG play a vital role in ensuring the mission is met, from myself to the private first class/lance corporal. Their dedication is demonstrated daily, and they are our most critical asset and our biggest strength toward success. They are required to operate in small groups and oftentimes independently when performing the more technical aspects of enabling support as special operations capability specialists. Their proficiency is seen by all levels during training exercises and when supporting various requests from the other MARSOC commands. The servicemembers know what it means to work together as a team, and they know what is needed when they deploy with special operations battalions, companies, teams, or in individual capacities. O
SOTECHâ€ˆ 10.7 | 31
Technology innovations safely halt approaching threats.
By Marc Selinger, SOTECH Correspondent
more capable radio-frequency weapons; make lasers more effective Non-lethal weapons are credited with saving countless lives in and less apt to cause injury; and improve technologies to stop movwar zones, making them increasingly popular with the U.S. military. ing vehicles and vessels. DoD is also looking for The Department of Defense hopes to build on this success scalable weapons with capabilities that can easily by developing a new, more capable generation of these be expanded or reduced, depending on the nature devices. And industry is gearing up to meet that need with of the threat. a wide variety of products. Much of JNLWD’s attention is on directed The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) energy, which could provide high precision at coordinates non-lethal research across DoD—including standoff ranges. Potential new weapons include the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Special a device that beams high-power radio-frequency Operations Command—and the Coast Guard. In its latest energy to shut down a boat’s engine electronics, effort, the JNLWD tentatively plans to hold a competition and an unmanned aerial vehicle payload that stops and award $100 million worth of contracts in 2013 to spur boats with high-power microwaves. There might the creation of more sophisticated non-lethal systems. Col. Tracy Tafolla even be applications against land-based assets. Funding could support a host of activities ranging from “Future weapons with self-generating electroscientific studies to modeling and simulation to prototype magnetic fires that preserve critical infrastructure could temporarily development and testing. As in the past, the services would be respondeny enemy use of radio stations, water plants or bridging, while sible for buying and sustaining new weapons. allowing for their later use by friendly forces,” said Lieutenant Gen“Some current non-lethal systems have technical and operational eral Richard Tryon, Marine Corps deputy commandant for plans, limitations, including range, mobility and weight considerations that policies and operations. necessitate tradeoffs and impact their usefulness and operational suitMeanwhile, Special Operations Command has asked industry for ability to the warfighter,” said Marine Colonel Tracy Tafolla, JNLWD’s feedback on the feasibility of building the Kibosh 40 mm low-velocity director. “Those limitations, however, can be reduced through tarnon-lethal delivery system to stop vehicles and vessels and clear a geted investments in science and technology.” space. According to a request for information, the system “shall be Those investments could: increase the range and duration of capable of being shot from a 40 mm low velocity grenade launcher human electromuscular incapacitation weapons that temporarily from over a distance of 150 feet and effectively dispensing the condisable people; improve active denial technology that repels people tents of a liquid or gas payload the size, shape and weight of a 12 gram by using millimeter waves to cause an intense heating sensation; Crossman CO2 cartridge into a vehicle, vessel or room without going increase the range of rubber bullets and other blunt impact muniall the way into the space and harming individuals inside.” tions while reducing the risk of injury; devise smaller, lighter and 32 | SOTECH 10.7
SPECIAL SECTION Non-lethal Growth Non-lethal weapons have played a growing role on the battlefield since the JNLWD was formed in 1996. The U.S. military has used such weapons for checkpoint operations, convoys and patrols to minimize civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. “Our armed forces are increasingly likely to operate in urban environments in which the enemy hides among the innocents,” Tryon explained in JNLWD’s 2012 annual report. “Non-lethal capabilities that allow military forces to succeed in such environments without alienating endemic populations will be crucial.” According to JNLWD, non-lethal systems currently in use include dazzling lasers that temporarily overwhelm an adversary’s visual sense by emitting a bright flash and glare effect; acoustic hailing devices that emit warning tones or verbal commands; human electromuscular incapacitation devices, such as Taser electric-shock guns; net-like devices that stop moving vehicles; and grenades that temporarily impair hearing and vision. Non-lethal weapons also have gained a foothold in homeland security. The Coast Guard, for instance, fields shotgun-fired warning rounds to support coastal security, alien interdiction and counterdrug missions. To stop small, propeller-driven boats, the maritime force shoots a propeller entangling system from a compressed air gun. DoD defines non-lethal systems as “weapons that are explicitly designed and primarily employed so as to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property and the environment.” Non-lethal weapons are seen as complementing, not replacing, lethal force. And like lethal weapons, all new non-lethal weapons undergo a thorough legal and treaty compliance review before being fielded, according to JNLWD. “All previously and currently fielded non-lethal weapons have undergone legal reviews to ensure consistency with domestic law, and compliance with obligations assumed by the United States under applicable treaties, customary international law, and the law of armed conflict,” JNLWD said. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Geneva-based organization that provides humanitarian aid to victims of armed conflict, does not have a formal position on non-lethal weapons. But it encourages legal reviews of all weapons—lethal or non-lethal. “Any weapon described as ‘non-lethal’ can kill, just as a weapon described as ‘lethal’ can be used in a non-lethal manner,” ICRC spokesman Philippe Marc Stoll said. “Each weapon must be assessed and reviewed individually. The general principles of international humanitarian law and treaties that prohibit or restrict particular weapons apply to all weapons, regardless of how they are labeled.”
Glare Enforcer [Photo courtesy of B.E. Meyers]
Shockwave concept system [Photo courtesy of Taser International]
Industry Involvement Weapons developers are positioning themselves to compete for future contracts for non-lethal systems, evidenced by the robust attendance at JNLWD’s June 22, 2012, industry day at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The event, which drew more than 100 representatives from companies large and small and from academia, “afforded the government an opportunity to stimulate industry interest and www.SOTECH-kmi.com
The Taser 40 mm launches from a grenade launcher. [Photo courtesy of Taser International]
SOTECH 10.7 | 33
SPECIAL SECTION convey our anticipated research and technology development needs,” Tafolla said. Among the companies represented at the event was B.E. Meyers, whose line of Glare nonlethal green lasers is designed to temporarily disrupt the vision of approaching parties whose intentions are unknown. To meet DoD’s newest requirements, the Redmond, Wash.based company is developing new versions of Glare, including a more compact version of its Glare Enforcer. The Army, Marines and Navy already field 22,000 B.E. Meyers nonlethal lasers at checkpoints, on ships and during convoys and patrols. In November 2011, the company received a one-year Army contract to build another 14,000 of its dazzlers. B.E. Meyers has also sold Glares to several European militaries. After the U.S. military began using B.E. Meyers lasers in Iraq in 2005, checkpoint deaths plunged from one a day on average to one a week, according to the company. Glare has “had a tremendous impact” in both Afghanistan and Iraq, said B.E. Meyers CEO Greg Quarles. “It allows military forces to distinguish between a threat and someone who is just distracted. This laser gets a person’s attention and gives him the opportunity to stand down or face an escalation of force.”
LRAD 500X MP [Photo courtesy of LRAD]
34 | SOTECH 10.7
Taser International is currently providing an initial delivery of 3,500 X-26E Taser electronic control devices to the U.S. Army for use by military police. The Scottsdale, Ariz., company also has several new non-lethal systems that it believes could meet military needs, including a 40 mm prototype round that is fired from a grenade launcher but has the same effect on people as a Taser gun; the Shockwave system, which uses Taser technology to subdue multiple people simultaneously; and Axon Flex, a video camera mounted on eyeglasses, collars or headgear to document military engagements. There is a lot of interest in these capabilities across DoD and the Department of Homeland Security, including Customs and Border Protection, said retired Marine Colonel George Fenton, Taser vice president of federal and military programs and former director of JNLWD. LRAD Corp., of San Diego, now offers an improved version of its long-range acoustic device. The device, which comes in a variety of configurations with ranges up to about 5 miles, broadcasts live or prerecorded voice messages and alarm tones and has been used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to determine the intent of approaching vehicles and to draw enemy fire at night. It can be mounted on ships, vehicles and fixed sites and has been tested on unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground systems. “By using highly intelligible, multi-language warnings and commands, LRAD systems are being deployed to help keep our military personnel safe and prevent innocent civilian casualties,” LRAD spokesman Robert Putnam said. “In theaters of operation, LRAD systems are creating increased standoff zones, unequivocally determining the intent of security threats at safe distances and limiting the escalation of force by resolving uncertain situations peacefully.” Raytheon, which rolled out a much-publicized HMMWV-mounted active denial system demonstrator for the U.S. military in 2003, is marketing smaller versions under the Silent Guardian name. Silent Guardian R250 and Silent Guardian R50 have ranges of 250 meters and 50 meters, respectively. The R250, which can be integrated onto a platform as small as a pickup truck or van, has begun to generate sales overseas. The R50 is compact enough that several could be placed on a ship. In addition, the company’s DD1000 combines active denial technology with an acoustic hailer and laser dazzler to “create a non-lethal layer of protection for facility security or ship security,” said Michael Booen, Raytheon vice president of advanced security and directed energy systems. “There are several foreign countries that have been paying a lot of money to try to solve the anti-piracy problem,” Booen said. “There are www.SOTECH-kmi.com
SPECIAL SECTION lots of facilities that are in urban areas where you really can’t afford to use lethal force, but they still need some sort of standoff protection for border security or facilities perimeter security. These are the folks that are showing the most interest” in Raytheon’s non-lethal systems. Raytheon is under contract with the Army and JNLWD to further miniaturize active denial technology. Replacing Gyrotron vacuum tubes with solid-state chips will result in a “radical downsizing,” Booen predicted. The company is building a prototype and expects to demonstrate it sometime in 2013.
International Interest Interest in non-lethal weapons goes well beyond the United States. In October 2011, NATO sponsored the North American Technology Demonstration (NATD) in Ottawa, Canada, to showcase non-lethal technology. The event was the “largest-ever demonstration of non-lethal weapons in the world,” according to the transatlantic alliance. “A growing number of commanders in the field are requesting smaller-scale weaponry to include non-lethal capabilities,” NATO said. “These weapons are less damaging to infrastructure, buildings, surroundings and, of course, civilians. They are also an indication of goodwill on the part of soldiers as they interact with locals when carrying out operations.”
Non-lethal weapons on display at NATD included vehicle and vessel stopping and arresting systems, directed energy systems, blunt force weapons, multi-sensory grenades, human electromuscular incapacitation devices, acoustic hailers, bright lights, dazzling lasers and personnel restraining systems. One exhibitor demonstrated “a pepper-spray gun whose effects can be quickly reversed by simply applying water,” while another explained “the benefits of an automatic machine gun that can fire 150 rounds of 6 mm plastic pellets per second,” NATO said. The 7th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons will be held in Ettlingen, Germany, in June 2013. According to the event’s website, the symposium will “examine how fielded non-lethal technologies have performed in real operational environments, such as the ongoing civil unrest in the West and military involvement in parts of Africa and Asia. … This will identify where gaps in capability still exist to steer future research. In addition, the symposium will examine how progress in emerging technology areas seeks to fill known capability gaps, such as effects at range.” O
For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Dave Ahearn at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.sotech-kmi.com.
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SOTECH 10.7 | 35
Weapons work without collateral damage, civilian deaths. By Dave Ahearn, SOTECH Editor When a special operator calls in close air, it can be a challenging situation if the enemy that must be taken out is close to civilians, a mosque or other sensitive entity. Fortunately, missiles responding to special operators’ requests are increasingly accurate, able to dispatch the bad guys without harming nearby people or structures.
Lockheed Martin DAGR A case in point is the direct attack guided rocket, or [DAGR], by Lockheed Martin. In creating DAGR, “We have added a digital guidance section to the front of a Hydra rocket,” according to Mike Dowty, tactical missiles business development manager. While other missile systems may be similar, “what makes DAGR different is that it is fully compatible with the Hellfire electronics,” Dowty explained. “And the system by which we communicate to the Hellfire missile, we also use to communicate to the DAGR system.” In combat, “while it’s loaded on the aircraft, the pilot can select certain modes, and insert codes for selecting specific laser [designators] on the battlefield,” Dowty continued. “That communications system allows the pilot or weapons operator in the cockpit to know precisely that that weapon is locked onto the target before he hits the fire button. So we have a lock-on before launch capability, and we also, of course, have a lock-on after launch capability.” To get the job done, DAGR carries an M151 warhead. “Tenpounder is its nickname,” Dowty noted. “It’s pretty much the prevailing 10-pound warhead that’s already on Hydra rockets. We also have options to qualify other warheads that are applicable to more specific missions.” Just how many DAGRs can be carried depends upon the aircraft. “It depends on the platform, and what the platform has already. In the case of the Apache, with the M299 launcher system, that’s the basic Hellfire launcher system; you can slide a Hellfire off of the rail and slide onto that same rail a canister, which holds four DAGRs,” he explained. The interface on the canister is similar to the interface on a Hellfire system, so “anywhere a Hellfire can be
36 | SOTECH 10.7
mounted, you can mount a rail-mounted canister, except where payload restrictions may apply.” The Navy and Marine Corps are using the DAGR, and the Army is evaluating it for a future rocket system. A limited number of DAGRs are being produced for the Army to examine. One strong point is the precision that the DAGR provides to the user. In “our record of test shots—over 30 test shots—we tend to hit within close to a foot, give or take some inches, of the center of the laser spot that’s designating the target,” Dowty reported. The DAGR also provides another strong point: At a time of tight defense finances, it doesn’t cost a fortune. There are $487 billion worth of defense cuts over 10 years being legislated currently, with the possibility of another $500 billion over 10 years that would start next January. DAGR is a fraction of the price of even lower-cost missiles, Dowty emphasized. And since a DAGR round weighs roughly 35 pounds, the system can be mounted on smaller aircraft. For example, “We have been working directly with Boeing on their AH6i Little Bird,” Dowty said. “That’s a Little Bird variant that they’ve come up with specifically for export. And we’ve worked with them on more than one occasion to do test shots. So when I speak about Little Bird, I’m speaking specifically about the Boeing product.”
MBDA Viper Strike The GBU-44/E Viper Strike munition can be launched from “an Air Force special operations AC-130 gunship with Dragon Spear, or a Marine Corps KC-130J,” said Doug Denneny, vice
president-business development, government relations and communications with MBDA Missile Systems. “It is used by multiple special operations platforms,” he noted. The Viper Strike also can be launched from a helo such as a special ops Little Bird, or from a UAV. Once released from the aircraft, the 44-pound Viper Strike missile glides silently—there is no noisy rocket motor to alert the enemy to this incoming weapon—and is directed with accuracy toward the target. Viper Strikes are standoff precision guided munitions, he observed. The weapon comes out of a common launch tube that can be mounted in a variety of air-launched platforms. In the case of the Marine Corps KC-130J, it can be mounted inside the aircraft embedded into something called the Derringer Door, a cargo door. To employ the Viper Strike, it is released from the door and heads toward the target. It can be dropped off the tail ramp, the aft ramp, of a C-130. “What’s nice about the common launch tube is it’s a common interface into the weapons control system, and so it’s designed for ease of interoperability,” he continued. Another strong point is that the Viper Strike provides the enemy no warning. “The Viper Strike is a silent weapon,” Denneny explained. “It does not use a rocket motor. A Griffin [missile] does. So there are some advantages of Viper Strike, particularly for a special operator who would like a covert attack.” The Viper Strike is a straightforward weapon, rather than being highly complex. “When the Viper Strike leaves the aircraft, it has a GPS receiver” that directs the missile to the target, Denneny said. “The wings open up.” Those wings fold out from the body of the missile after launch. “It’s like an X-wing configuration,” Denneny observed. “It can glide to an end game [using a] semi-active laser attack. It’s a NATO standard that we’ve provided from several different sources. [Laser cueing] can be provided by a special operator on the ground. It can also be provided by the launch aircraft, using a laser designator. Or it can be launched by another aircraft that would take control of the weapon in flight, and designate onto a hostile target.” Viper Strike works two ways to contain and avoid collateral damage and civilian deaths: having a small warhead that creates no massive detonation, and having precision guidance. “It has the ability to come down on the target, a top down attack, because it glides,” Denneny stated. “You can envision, when it comes out, a parachute opens up, deploys a link to GPS, the satellite’s acquired, cuts the parachute and off it glides.” By diving down on the target, that provides “a lot of kinematic energy,” he added. “It allows special operators to attack targets in things like urban canyons. If there is a high-speed [enemy] vehicle that is evading, the final attack profile … gives a lot of kinematic [energy] to the weapon.” The weapon, which MBDA bought from developer Northrop Grumman, has been tested on both stationary targets and moving targets, he added. “We’re continuing to test Viper Strike against even higher speed moving targets,” he said. “It’s an ongoing, mature program.” The history of Viper Strike is a case of taking a mature low-tech weapon and providing it with advanced capabilities suited to contemporary conflicts. First there was the “BAT [Brilliant Anti-Tank] submunition that came out of the Army ATACMS [Army Tactical Missile Systems] rocket system,” he recalled. “And what we’re doing in Huntsville, Ala., at the Redstone Arsenal, is we’re taking these BAT submunitions and we’re www.SOTECH-kmi.com
putting the semi-active laser seeker in them. We’re recycling something. So we’re taking Cold War technology and we’re converting it into something that can be used in today’s modern war for special ops.” The Viper Strike now can be deployed off airplanes, UAVs and helicopters, to take out lightly armored ground vehicles and enemy combatants, or any fixed and stationary targets. The weapon isn’t designed to be used against heavily armored targets. Another strong point for Viper Strike is that it can dive to attack targets directly under the launch aircraft, unlike some rocket propelled missiles that shoot away from the launch platform. Using those missiles may mean the launch aircraft must reposition itself before the launch, giving the enemy time to attempt escape and evasion maneuvers. “The Viper Strike is a true 360 degree attack-capable weapon,” Denneny observed. “There is no donut hole.”
Raytheon Javelin Calling in close air can take time before the aircraft can reach the scene to put steel on the target. But with the Javelin man portable missile produced by a joint venture of Raytheon (60 percent) and Lockheed Martin (40 percent), a combatant can take out the enemy without waiting for aerial assistance. Roy Adams, business development manager for the Javelin, explained how the system works, in a package that now weighs 49.5 pounds including the 35-pound all up round containing the missile, SAVE 20% OFF
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SOTECH 10.7 | 37
and the 14.5 pound command launch unit (CLU). Even better, the joint venture has plans to cut the weight even further, to a total of 35 pounds, Adams said. “We’ve already got a prototype lightweight CLU that reduces the size of the CLU by 70 percent, and reduces the weight by 40 percent,” Adams disclosed. That responds to interviews with enlisted soldiers, NCOs, lieutenants and captains returning from tours in theater, who requested reductions in size and weight of the Javelin system, which is used by two Marine units and six army divisions. Those interviews on 13 hours of videotape showed that the warfighters strongly like the Javelin, reporting that the weapon surprised them because it typically can be used with precision, without causing collateral damage or civilian casualties. Before using the Javelin for the first time, the combatants thought “that the missile—because it is a missile system—would not really support some of the ROE [rules of engagement] criteria that was out there,” Adams said. “However, once they started using it, as the soldiers said, they found out that the Javelin was probably one of the most effective weapons to be used under the ROE.” The Javelin allowed the combatants to avoid having to make tough choices in time-critical situations, he continued. “It was so pinpoint that they were able to use it in places where [otherwise] they either had to not engage the target or accept the fact that there was going to be collateral damage.” The Javelin avoids causing collateral damage or civilian deaths in multiple ways, by the missile being a guided weapon, by the fact
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that it has a small warhead, and because the detonation of the Javelin warhead goes down or forward, rather than outward. The net result is that “it hits the target that it’s locked onto and … it doesn’t cause damage collaterally beyond the target that was engaged,” Adams noted. Even before the weight reduction moves, the current Javelin is easily handled by a combatant. “When you mate the round to the CLU, and the soldier shoulders the weapon, the center of gravity is really balanced right on his shoulder,” Adams explained. “So while 49.5 pounds sounds like a lot, it’s really not a problem, because of the center of balance, the way it’s designed.” In practice, aiming and firing the Javelin is easy, according to Adams. “The command launch unit has an infrared device that identifies the target, [including] a day sight and two infrared sights that are either narrow field or wide field. The wide field is 4x; that’s used to scan with. Once they find the target, they go to the narrow field, which takes it down to 12x. And they can then identify the target.” The seeker on the missile has to be cooled before firing, which is accomplished by the combatant squeezing the trigger on the system. “Once the missile seeker is cooled down, the image from the missile is then transferred to the image that the gunner is seeing, so his infrared image now is looking from the seeker in the missile,” Adams observed. “He then sees that is his target, and he is able to put track gates—position them around that. Once he gets a good lock and he launches, the missile then tracks to the target that he’s locked onto.” Aside from its precision, the Javelin also offers another advantage to combatants: It makes the enemy back off so far that they have difficulty in posing any threat to the U.S. forces. If even one Javelin is fired, enemy forces typically flee, Adams said, jumping behind a boulder, tree or building. And if the enemy is aware before attacking that the American forces have Javelins, then the enemy may remain at a stand-off distance of 1,200 meters where it is difficult to hit U.S. forces, instead of attacking from just 300 meters distant. “Once they found out that the missiles were there, they pretty much said, ‘We don’t want to hang around,’” Adams related. “That’s why they stayed [away from U.S. forces], to give them the ability to have a little bit of time to react before the [Javelin] missile gets there.” Another benefit of the Javelin is in its low cost, Adams continued. Rather than requiring an expensive aircraft to deliver it, “the delivery mechanism is the soldier. He’s there. You don’t have to bring the missile in on some other type of platform.” And the Javelin is an immediate threat to the enemy, able to make the enemy break off an engagement. Considering that it costs $100,000 just to train and equip one soldier and move the warrior to theater, if the enemy is prevented from harming or killing that combatant, there is a significant savings in a weapon that prevents U.S. casualties, he noted. The Javelin is a mature weapon, first fielded in 1996, he said. “We just celebrated the production delivery of our 10,000th command launch unit, and 35,000 Javelin missiles” produced for U.S. and international customers. O
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SOTECH 10.7 | 39
Special Operations Technology
Bob Jacobson President L-3 Communications GCS Robert P. Jacobson is president and vice president of sales & marketing of L-3 Global Communications Solutions (GCS), a leading supplier of satellite communications equipment and airtime. Jacobson has been with GCS since its days as a small business and has been instrumental in its growth. Jacobson was VP of sales and programs when he started at GCS in 2005. In 2008 he was promoted to the position of executive vice president and general manager prior to his current role. He is a graduate of Clarkson University (1982) with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical and industrial engineering, and attended the University of Florida’s Graduate Business Program in 1984. Jacobson worked at Harris Corp./RF Communications Division for 16 years, first as a mechanical engineer and eventually transitioning to sales where he became director of U.S. Sales and Washington Operations for the Rochester-based division. He later served as vice president of sales at both Sierra Nevada Corp. and Relm Wireless before joining GCS in 2005. Q: L-3 GCS has been serving the SOF community for many years. Can you describe the suite of products you make available to our warfighters? A: L-3 GCS offers the most ruggedized, high-performance, fly-away VSAT terminals on the market. They are auto-acquire 1.2M through 2.4M terminals and are available in C, X, Ku and Ka bands. These terminals have been tested and passed MIL-STD810G environmental requirements. This is a major discriminator in the market. Most firms only ‘design to meet’ customer needs, but we actually test, pass and provide copies of the test reports to our customers. Our product offerings also include the Panther manpack VSAT terminal. This unique terminal is available in X, Ku and Ka bands. It too has passed the rigorous environmental testing of MIL-810G. One of the greatest values to our customers is the fact that you can buy a singleband terminal and then order additional ‘band kits.’ You do not need to replace the 40 | SOTECH 10.7
are extremely easy to use and are the most reliable units available today. We already have over 1,000 terminals in the SOF community from SDN Medium, and SDN FOT will build on that excellent baseline. Q: The SATCOM field is pretty crowded. How is L-3 GCS differentiating itself from other players in this space?
expensive positioned, modem, etc. You simply buy a kit that has the new RF amp and feed. This is true on all terminals from the manpack through the 2.4M. Q: Please tell us about the recent acquisition of 3Di. What does that add to your service package and how does it benefit SOF? A: L-3’s acquisition of 3Di in September 2010 allowed us to offer complete end-toend total solutions. We have the best hardware, which is now coupled with the best networks and world-class FSRs to deliver the most reliable communications in the industry. 3Di has the rapid ability to stand up networks and provide tech support anywhere in the world. Their customer retention is second to none, and this is a direct result of their relentless customer focus and commitment, plus the quality of their service. Today, 3Di is an integral part of our operation, which is why we’re now doing business as L-3 GCS-3Di. Q: L-3 GCS was recently awarded the contract for the Special Operations Forces Deployable Node-Family of Terminals program. Can you describe the system you’ll be developing and how it will benefit SOF? A: We are delivering 1.2M tri-band and 2.0M quad-band terminals to SOCOM that are ARSTRAT-certified and have passed all of the harsh environmental tests dictated by SOCOM. The packages are the smallest and lightest weight available on the market. They have very short setup times,
A: We are leading through innovation. From our initial outdoor unit concept, where we packaged commercial modems and switches in a rugged MIL case, to our RF Feed Boom assembly, we keep moving the state of the art. Our competition is typically just catching up to us as we introduce the next advancement. We are very fortunate to have loyal customers, and they share lots of ideas with us. Our engineers quickly put those ideas into our products, and that has proved to be a winning combination. Q: Where do you see SATCOM technology evolving over the next five and 10 years? A: I believe modem technology will continue to advance and software-definable modems are going to become the norm. I also believe RF technology will continue to achieve lower SWaP [size, weight and power], thereby further reducing the physical size of our products. Our warfighters are constantly needing to increase their mobility. If we can continue to decrease the SWaP of our overall system, it will certainly help our troops. Q: Is there anything else you would like to add? A: We have been very fortunate to have experienced so much success in this highly competitive market. We are thrilled to be able to provide a critical capability to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. We are dedicated to helping our troops around the world and we do that by providing the best products at a competitive price. It is an honor to be able to support such great men and women. O www.SOTECH-kmi.com
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