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World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine

Next Generation Imagery Special Section

Guiding Go-Getter James F. “Hondo” Geurts Acquisition Executive SOCOM

February 2014 Volume 12, Issue 1

Organization Profile: U.S. Special Operations Command

SOF Sustainment O Modular Handgun Systems New Energy Sources O One Hundred Victories

Special Operations Technology Features

February 2014 Volume 12, Issue 1

Cover / Q&A



The Whole Picture

When seconds count, those on the ground need actionable intelligence now. Analysts are able to get those products to troops who need them faster than ever through the next generation of motion imagery processing, exploitation and dissemination suites. By Jeff Campbell

Command Profile: u.s. Special Operations Command

In this exclusive pictorial spread featuring SOCOM’s command structure, SOTECH helps you navigate the program executive offices and directorates.

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Sustaining through constraints

The longer SOF teams operate outside traditional supply lines, the more critical the need to find innovative ways to get them what they need to accomplish long-term missions. By Jeff Campbell



Our handy operators can replace the internal spring or trigger from a handgun many times over its life cycle, but the M9’s steel frame is at the end of its days. We look at the status of the modular handgun system competition. By Marc Selinger

While gearing up for another trip to Afghanistan, Linda Robinson, author of One Hundred Victories: Special Ops and the Future of American Warfare, sat with SOTECH and discussed what she believes is the most important aspect of what SOF teams accomplished over the last 10-12 years of OEF. By Jeff Campbell

Gunning for a new System


The Acme of Skill


Growth Spurt

Some energy sources won’t be around forever. Oceanic, solar and wind are a few of the renewable energy options that have the potential to sustain American forces far into the future. By William Murray

Industry Interview

2 Editor’s Perspective 4 Whispers/People 14 BLack WAtch 27 Resource Center

Vic Hyder Chief Operating Officer Silent Circle


James F. “Hondo” Geurts Acquisition Executive SOCOM

“SOF acquirers approach the many challenges of acquisition in the same manner that the SOF operators we serve approach their operational missions: through competence, creativity, courage, and integrity and an unwavering operational focus.” —James F. “Hondo” Geurts


Special Operations Technology Volume 12, Issue 1 • February 2014

World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine Editorial Editor Jeff Campbell Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly Online Editorial Manager Laura McNulty Copy Editor Sean Carmichael Correspondents Peter Buxbaum • Henry Canaday • John Doyle Jeff Goldman • Hank Hogan • William Murray Scott Nance • Marc Selinger • Leslie Shaver

Art & Design Art Director Jennifer Owers Ad and Materials Manager Jittima Saiwongnuan Senior Graphic Designer Scott Morris Graphic Designer Amanda Paquette

Advertising Account Executive Philippe Maman

KMI Media Group Publisher and Chief Financial Officer Constance Kerrigan Chief Executive Officer Jack Kerrigan Editor-In-Chief Jeff McKaughan Controller Gigi Castro Trade Show Coordinator Holly Foster

How much contracting is too much? That’s one of the questions the Army’s assistant deputy chief of staff, G-4, tackled on a DoD energy panel at a recent AUSA conference. Lieutenant General Raymond V. Mason contends that partnerships can, do and will exist within a battlezone. “We used contractors on the battlefield over the past 10 to 12 years not because we had to but because we could—the capability existed,” he said. “There were incredible partnerships, from the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program to contingency contracting.” General Mason acknowledged the ongoing debate over whether DoD has put too many contractors on the battle- Jeff Campbell Editor field, especially a highly lethal one that potentially has chemical weapons. This leads to the question of the role of battlefield contracting in the future war zone, one that will have fewer boots on the ground, operating in unconventional ways. “We think in the battlefields of the future, you might have a tank on tank battle going on [in] one place, you might have a training and assist operation in another place, and you might have a humanitarian recovery mission happening in another,” he said. “With that kind of a construct, we know that there is still a place for contractors on the battlefield.” That place exists in many places where SOF teams operate, because their systems are highly technical, requiring maintenance from field service reps, both those that come from the defense industry as well as those who are organic to the government. To best use this blend, DoD leaders are working to find the right balance, which adjusts with both changes to locale and mission set. “We’re working our way through to make sure that we keep a reasonable amount of organic capability (logistics, maintenance and supply assets), but we leverage the best of the industrial capability and its ability to push far forward into the edge of the battlespace,” Mason said. SOTECH is starting 2014 with an issue looking at the value of government and industry partnerships from beginning to end; from procurement (exclusive Q&A with SOCOM’s acquisition executive) to execution (features on handgun and energy systems in use now or on the way) and sustainment. Thaw off and enjoy!

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WHISPERS Newest Member of Energy Security Council Security services provider to both the federal government and corporate clients, Academi has joined the Energy Security Council (ESC) to enhance the safety, security and business operations of companies worldwide. John Chamberlain, executive director of the energy security networking organization, said the ESC is pleased to welcome its newest member. “Academi’s assessment, training and protective security services will fit in well with the diverse membership of ESC’s select member companies that focus on enhancing safety, security and business operations of its member companies and corporations.” ESC, a non-profit professional organization with headquarters in Houston, Texas, creates and enhances networking capabilities on all security issues within the energy sector and with its key law enforcement partners. Academi is a niche security services company created in 1997 to provide training and protective services in high-threat environments. “Academi looks forward to contributing to and drawing upon the extensive resources that ESC provides its members,” said Academi CEO Craig Nixon. “Security is so crucial to this industry, and Academi offers its exceptional operational record to the membership in support of a more stable global environment.”

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

PEO Soldier’s Integrated Head Protection Program Contract Awarded Protective soldier solution provider Revision Military has won a contract for PEO Soldier’s integrated head protection system (IHPS) soldier protective system (SPS). The twoyear development-to-acquisition program is to refine the U.S. Army’s next-generation helmet system, a contract worth an initial $783,000 with additional options valued at $15 million. Revision’s IHPS small arms helmet serves as the foundation for the company’s proposed head protection system. The helmet’s optimized shell design contours to the shape of the wearer’s head, increasing their area of coverage and protection while reducing system weight and unneeded space. The system weighs less than existing combat helmets and includes upgradeable mandible and visor protection. It also features an innovative retention and netted suspension system with dial-in comfort settings and high-impact ballistic padding. The suite includes modular ballistic armor plates that can be applied to the helmet’s exterior for an increased level of protection. “Revision is proud to have been selected as a development partner for the U.S. Army’s next-generation head protection system,” explained Jonathan Blanshay, chief executive officer of Revision. “With lineage emerging from the Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center’s Helmet and Electronics and Display SystemUpgradeable Protection program and our history in protecting the soldier, the IHPS is a tailorable protection suite that will increase survivability through capability and technology. The use of next generation ballistic materials and progressive manufacturing techniques has allowed for increased protection at a lighter weight. We’re proud to provide a solution that ensures soldiers’ mobility on the battlefield while allowing them to tailor the system to their mission.” PEO Soldier’s intent for this program is to conduct iterative human factors testing leading to ballistic and non-ballistic testing and the eventual fielding of an initial quantity of 7,000 systems to a U.S. Army Brigade, prior to moving into full rate production. The Army intends the IHPS SPS system to be their next widely fielded head protection system.


Maj. Gen. Christopher K. Haas

The deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., Major General Christopher K. Haas, is moving to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., as director, force management and development at SOCOM.

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Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Staying at Fort Bragg, Colonel Kurt L. Sonntag, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, current commander of U.S. Army Special Operation Command (USASOC)’s Inter-Agency Military Advisory Detachment, will become deputy commanding general of USASOC. Air Force Colonel Kirk W. Smith has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Smith currently serves as special assistant

to the SOCOM commander, MacDill Air Force Base.

Col. Robert G. Armfield

The president has nominated Air Force Special Operations Command 24th Special Operations Wing Commander Air Force Colonel Robert G.

Armfield to the rank of brigadier general. On the first of January, Jerry DeMuro began tenure at BAE Systems’ president and chief executive officer. DeMuro joined BAE with more than 36 years’ defense industry experience, serving most recently as executive vice president and corporate vice president of the information systems and technology group at General Dynamics. Harris Corporation has named Tracey Haslam

president of its Harris CapRock Communications business. The business will now be headquartered in Houton, where Haslam will lead CapRock. Petzl America has appointed Oliver McLeod to the new Petzl Technical Institute (PTI) manager position. In this role, McLeod will oversee operations at PTI, including the development, delivery and management of technical training programs for partner training organizations.

Next Generation Imagery Special Section

By Jeff Campbell, SOTECH Editor When “incoming” is exclaimed, that’s usually not a sign of good things to come. When it’s said authoritatively, as in “incoming video feed,” the wheels are in motion for analysts to sort through various assets with a processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) suite en route to delivering actionable intelligence to team leaders on the ground. Oftentimes, it all starts with that video feed, and cameras that are rugged, mountable and wearable are getting the operator’s viewpoint even closer to the action. Point-ofview technology developer V.I.O. closed out 2013 by introducing Stream, an HD camera that is WiFi enabled, has IP67 waterproof, dustproof and shockproof durability, and provides real-time streaming protocol. The camera is named for its ability to stream video in any environment, and its developers say it excels in extreme ones. “V.I.O. pioneered the point-of-view category more than a decade ago,” said Craig Mattson, chief technology officer. “Video quality, durability and innovation are hallmarks of our brand. Stream allows integrators and developers to craft unique user experiences, and the open API brings limitless possibilities to what it can do.” 6 | SOTECH 12.1

One of the major focus areas for the V.I.O. technical products division was designing a camera that would work with a number of existing platforms. Team member Ryan Anthony noted that V.I.O. steered in that direction based on suggestions from private security companies and government organizations they’ve worked with over the last decade. “A lot of the feedback that we’ve received from our customers is they wanted a really small, compact, lightweight, high-definition video camera that could transmit video,” Anthony said. “That is what we developed in the Stream.” Stream’s versatility goes on; one of its key features is the camera’s ability to stream video from the camera and record locally at the same time. “Our previous models were mainly used for incident capture and after-action reporting,” Anthony said. “We have that functionality with this camera as well through the local record on to the SD card.” A built-in WiFi chip enables the camera’s ability to stream video to an external system, like a PED system. “In order to get the stream from the camera to a remote location or up to a server, it needs a device like a cellphone, a tablet or a soldier radio system.”

With its rugged qualities, Stream can be mounted many places, from a weapon to an operator’s shoulder. “This camera is a great wearable solution, but it’s also a product that can be integrated into armored vehicles, into drones and a variety of other pieces of equipment,” Anthony said. “It’s kind of a marriage between a wearable and integratable camera.” Motion stabilization has come a long way in the last few years, in an effort to confront “jelly vision,” which creates a kind of wobbly effect that makes the viewer a bit nauseated if watching for an extended period of time. Image stabilization software could be connected if used on a UAV or mounted on a vehicle, but when it’s body-worn, battery life is a concern. The stabilization software uses a great deal of processing power that will quickly drain battery life. The Stream requires an external power source, and V.I.O. designed the current version to be USB-only. “Just think of a soldier in the field—he’s got a soldier radio, he’s probably got a battery pack on him somewhere, so he’s probably not going to be carrying around another battery specifically for this camera,” Anthony said.

Next Generation Imagery Special Section

The V.I.O. Stream is a real-time streaming protocol enabled device capable of streaming full HD 1080p video wirelessly or via IP over USB. [Photo courtesy of V.I.O.]

“We wanted to provide a camera with some sort of interface that would be standard enough that they could plug it in to their existing gear.” When the camera streams up to a server, security is critical, so V.I.O. embedded WiFi encryption modes. “One of the things we’ve found is that typically operators tend to stream one pipe from their radio,” Anthony said. “So if that includes audio and video, they have their own methods of encryption.” SOF team members are put into potentially hazardous situations on a daily basis. Once they’ve achieved positive identification of a target, they have to make judgment calls on how they’re going to proceed, or not proceed, when they’re trying to complete an objective. “If you provide that stream back to a remote location, and you add another two or three sets of eyes on that particular incident, you have exponentially more decision-making power and you can collaborate and probably get better outcomes than just relying on one guy and his discretion in the field,” Anthony said. “We look at this technology as an aid and a complement to the training and all of the skills that these guys have.

That’s one of the most exciting things that we see with this product—being able to help these guys get better information and potentially save some lives.” The stream from the camera to a local device is real time, and V.I.O.’s got the latency down to a fraction of a second. “From the device that’s transmitting up through the network, really the consistency and the speed of the stream is dependent on your connectivity,” Anthony said. “The network will dictate that performance.”

Using PED to Achieve PID Network speed isn’t just about sensors and nodes. Like the SOF truth, “Humans are more important than hardware,” sometimes non-profits with common defense interests can help advance technology problems. One such group, the PlugFest Consortium (PFC), believes that industry, government and academia working on the same problem at the same time can do some things faster, better and cheaper. “Where we throw that energy at is operationally measured metrics,” Esri Defense Business Development Manager Eric Westreich told SOTECH at the annual Surface

Navy Association symposium. “It’s a success if you can make and execute decisions. It’s not enough just to be able to say I have standards and processes and I put it in an operational environment.” Real progress comes once a team leader or mission commander can measure success by making and executing decisions. To accomplish that, they need the required standards, processes and technology. Later this year at AFCEA West, the PFC will look at doing just that with a real acquisition program that deals with PED suites and ISR capabilities. “Product line architectures allow you to say ‘I’d like to be able to select this database, there’s a comms suite, there’s these analytics and oh, I’d like to put it in a plane; no, I’d like to put it in a command center,’” Westreich hypothesized. “In other words, it’s a common set of tools that live off some common capabilities.” Operators need that critical intel now, but just how do they make that “positive identification (PID)”? It can vary greatly, depending on who it’s for and the mission’s desired outcome. PID for one group is simply pointing out where a target is. For another, they may need the location down SOTECH  12.1 | 7

Next Generation Imagery Special Section that holistic picture of the battlespace,” he said. “What’s important is, once integrated, you can map contextual information onto that.” For example, an operator could take mission plans or intelligence summaries and map them onto the live-streaming data; then when the operator clicks on something on a map, associated information is shown, erasing the need to cross-reference multiple documents. “That’s a key capability that this provides over other systems,” said Harvey Davis, Overwatch’s iCommand program director. “The bottom line is we’re trying to make it so that you don’t have to look at all these different things—PowerPoints, maps, videos—iCommand brings it all together into one geospatial context.” End users who tried out the suite last Integration Glue year at SOFIC will want to visit the Textron Systems booth again this year to see the Overwatch Intelligence Solutions, an latest release, which includes a more sophisoperating unit of Textron Systems, has a ticated Web-based management system that forward-looking system that the SOF comallows for data feeds to be integrated more munity has been using for about a year. easily. “So let’s say a new platform goes up; It’s a three-component suite called iComyou can very quickly go into a website, fill mand, which offers an interface that brings out a form and have that integrated into the together space, aerial and terrestrial assets system on the fly,” Ellsworth said. all on one screen. ICommand mobile runs This latest edition also allows the operaon the Android OS and can be used by tactitor to view and manage all of the entities cal edge operators who access data from that are being displayed to end users. One iCommand cloud services, and by mission scenario here would be if an asset moved to commanders to see the full battlespace picanother unit; its call sign, mission and icon ture on iCommand Table. would need to change. With iCommand, The typical operations center is full of it can all be done through the cloud—a different displays, multiple maps, Powercentralized Web application—and all of the Point presentations and video on several clients on the network will see the changes screens. Before this suite was introduced, immediately. “So they no lonan operator would come ger have to look at an ISR in, see all that information sync matrix or other informaspread around the room, and tion to know what’s the call try to build context in their sign for this asset; this time, head. “What we’re doing with it immediately shows that to iCommand is to add context, them,” Ellsworth said. to bring all of those different This all adds up to things together so that you reduced decision cycle time, don’t have to put the puzzle enabling mission commandtogether in your head—you ers and tactical operators to can look at one screen and Chris Ellsworth more quickly make decisions have a complete understandand have an even clearer picture of what’s ing of the situation,” said Chris Ellsworth, happening on the battlefield. “We think the Overwatch technical project manager. web-based management system is going to Ellsworth calls the suite “integration have a big impact on our customers because glue” because it incorporates all of those difthey can very quickly manage all of the ferent live data feeds, tactical messages and different aspects of their real-time feeds; if videos into one cloud-based architecture. they add a PowerPoint into a tactical asset, “Clients come on, and they’re able to view to a specific measured space, along with other indicators, before they can proceed. “The key is, what measures do you need to do to obtain positive ID?” Westreich asked. “Is it visual, do I actually have to have them laser targeted, do I have to be bouncing a laser off of them, or do I have to just have a visual sighting; is it okay if I get signals intelligence?” Typically, it’s kind of a scalable thing. An operator determines that a target is in the area, then learns what their intentions are, what they’re currently doing and what they’re about to do. “It’s like Lego building blocks,” Westreich observed. “What will the systems of the future look like?”

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they can watch the video from the asset, see where it is on the map and what its mission plan is all in one place,” Ellsworth said. Ellsworth stressed that what makes iCommand stand out is that everyone sees the same thing at the same time, and it’s all managed. “For instance, with a lot of systems, if you’ve got an asset out there with a GPS on it, you might only have a generic icon on it and a generic name for that; it’s not very descriptive,” he said. “With iCommand, we add context to that. We give it a certain icon, we give it a name; we add all the attribution that makes that thing special, so you can glance at it and know what it is. And everyone sees it at the same time, whether they’re a mobile user or a user inside an ops center; that’s all managed in real time.” Another benefit realized is the ops/intel convergence that the SOF community has been talking about for years. It’s enabled through iCommand’s direct platform management and exploitation capabilities. An operation center user could task a platform to orient their sensor on a certain objective, or fly to a certain location, or send a text message into a cockpit of an aircraft. “We’re really trying to close the loop on decision cycle time while enabling authorized users to reach out and directly manage their platforms once decisions are made,” Ellsworth said. “You don’t want to have to switch your views into different applications to do things. You want to be able to do something with the same natural user experience consistently across all of your different functions.” System integration will also help government acquirers save money over the long run in these tight fiscal times. “Our customers have invested a lot of money into all of these different software tools, data links, tactical message sets and platforms, and they’re all disparate systems right now,” Ellsworth said. “What iCommand allows you to do is to bring those all together into one information environment, without having to replace those capabilities. They can do more with what they already have.” O

For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

Veterans of both the defense industry and SOF community keep active operators supplied. By Jeff Campbell, SOTECH Editor

When a commercial sustainer is tasked with ensuring that SOF teams operating beyond traditional supply lines have a steady flow of what’s needed for mission success, it’s helpful that they’ve already been in similar situations and locations. Leidos Business Development Manager Mark Fagin told SOTECH that both in its former brand as SAIC and at present there are teammates who came from the SOF community. That first-hand experience gives them a decisive edge in delivering intelligence, communications and logistics support. “We understand the challenges of the special ops community in providing multifunctional logistics support, and believe that our outstanding track record speaks for itself,” he said. While having been there makes it easier, it’s certainly no cakewalk. In 2014, transporters will face a myriad of challenges. “The bottom line is we understand that our SOF customers prepare for the unexpected and our job is to support their efforts,” Fagin emphasized. “This drives a need for deep understanding of transportation alternatives, and also a need for creativity and, sometimes, risk acceptance.” At a very basic level, everyone takes a risk daily just by walking out the door. SOF team members, operating well beyond a FOB, accept risk many times over. Whether downrange or back home working to sustain troops, the advantage that should never leave an operator’s toolkit is advance planning. To plan for any type of contingency, one must assemble the right mix of commodities with perfect timing to meet requirements, such as the ability to quickly repair critical equipment. “Non-standard equipment that DoD does not have in its inventory can complicate this challenge,” Fagin said. “Because repairs to equipment are often needed for SOF units deployed in regions not serviced by commercial transportation, we have to plan to quickly open, merge and integrate commercial and DoD transportation routes. When we support

SOF, we understand that to do it right we need to prepare for the unknowns, have multiple contingency plans, and have different modes of transportation options planned and ready.” Many of those plans for multiple routes are coming together now, or being revislike SOCOM respond accordingly. “As part ited, because the president’s directive for of preparing to bid a contract, we plan for a turn to the Pacific is more than a pivot; people, processes and tools to be in place and it’s a re-balance, as we’ve been there before. ready to transport the resulting shipments,” This familiarity gives industry partners like Fagin said. That detailed planning enables Leidos added confidence in supporting any them to execute in less time and with more customer, anywhere in the world. “Over time, certainty. As conditions within DoD change, the logistics capabilities and infrastructure in Leidos refines their approach to the contracts the region will need to expand in response to for continuous improved service. “If shipthis focus,” Fagin said. “We are working now ments are put on hold due to budget issues, to try to foresee these changes, and are ready we adjust our schedules to ship when the to deploy for our customers in the Pacific to customer approves,” Fagin said. “But this support them.” sort of change in shipments is, as you would Sustaining troops in different locales than imagine, not optimal, and often inefficient.” the norm we’ve known for a dozen years To achieve the greatest takes some adjustment, and possible efficiencies, sustainincreases risk. Risk analyers must invest in the tools sis, including a risk review and processes that allow them board, is something Leidos be both agile and responsive. always includes in their proDuring a sustainment panel at posal process when putting last month’s AUSA Army Aviatogether a solution. “As you tion Symposium, Peri Widwould expect, cost matters, ener, Boeing vice president for and so it is imperative that rotorcraft support programs, we optimize our solutions for posed to the audience of increased readiness,” Fagin Mark Fagin partners and stakeholders a said. “We tailor sustainment couple questions that help her processes and technologies do just that. “Do you know how to bring the for the customer and ensure it is within databases together that show you your usage Leidos’ core capability areas—this focuses with the value rates and help you predict and our efforts where expertise has been develmodel what you need in terms of inventory oped over many years of experience, and and supply?” she asked. “Do you have busienables us to accept an appropriate amount ness processes in place and teams in place of risk to help our customers optimize their that are organized to be responsive?” contracting dollars.” The reason sustainers must make so Compounding the risk involved in the many options available well in advance, Widchanging defense strategy, the budget—or ener has learned over the last decade, is that lack thereof until recently—has made planno matter how well you’ve planned, somening even more challenging. An approved thing absolutely unpredictable will always defense budget helps Leidos better make happen. “The strength of being able to be cost-effective plans that will help customers SOTECH  12.1 | 9

responsive and affordable is having the right organizational construct and systems and approaches in place,” she said.

Collaborative Supply Chains Rise One investment worth considering when weighing different approaches for both efficiency and security is when supply chain communications should be on or totally off the grid, or in this case, cloud. Mountain View, Calif.-based Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, recently studied how information and communication technologies (ICT) are contributing to a more transparent bi-directional communication channel among supply chain stakeholders. “Various technologies like radio-frequency identification, big data, the Internet of Things, and in-memory technology play a vital role in creating the collaboration platform,” said Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Senior Research Analyst Swapnadeep Nayak in the analysis “ICT Innovations Enabling Collaborative Supply Chains.” “The need to share information over a single platform at low costs especially accelerated the implementation of cloud computing in the collaborative supply chain process.” DoD and industry partners are constantly searching for cost-saving measures these days, and while methods like the collaborative supply chain offer more transparency and communication, vulnerability increases as well. “Organizations find it extremely uncomfortable to share confidential information over a cloud controlled by third-party solution providers,” Nayak told SOTECH. “Cloud infrastructure, one of the prime targets for hackers to gain access to sensitive data, could be avoided by deployment of on-premise solutions by SOF teams to secure confidential government information.” Is the collaborative supply chain approach worth the risk to SOF? In some cases, yes. The conventional route begins with a raw material supplier transferring goods or services to a manufacturer in exchange for an order. “Similarly, following several steps, the product or service finally reaches the customer,” Nayak said. “However, this step model is not transparent to all stakeholders, which creates a gap between demand and supply in the process.” The collaborative supply chain addresses that issue with a focus on transparency with all the stakeholders. “It adopts a centralized approach where every entity could seamlessly communicate with each other and everybody 10 | SOTECH 12.1

is aware of the demand and supply status of the whole value chain,” Nayak said. “Leveraging the centralized approach maintains a perfect balance between the demands from the end user to the raw material supplier, thereby reducing the communication gap in the process.” This method could get a SOF team desperately-needed supplies quicker, but runs the risk of exposing what they need and where it’s being requested from. Additionally, data transfer speed can be a factor. For critical and sensitive deliveries, the native applications approach may be best. “Stakeholders who cannot tolerate the downtime of the network or slower data transfer speeds during mission critical application processing would benefit from on-premise native applications,” Nayak said. Whether you’re pricing a car, a house, or a supply chain solution, it’s vital to shop around. “In spite of the security issues for cloud-based collaborative supply chain solutions, benefits from cost saving in standard deployment, along with flexibility to scale data and easy access to centralized data from a wide range of devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, could outweigh the drawbacks for the SOF community,” Nayak offered. “Recent developments over the past few years in advanced security protocols for cloud data could help the aerospace and defense market leverage the benefits of cloudbased collaborative supply chain solutions for effective, secure information sharing.”

Witness to Changing Processes There are many ways to look at a problem: reading studies, hearing about difficulties from witnesses, but actually seeing devastation first-hand can put the fire in one’s belly to find a solution. John McMillan, vice president of business development with the Lockheed Martin-Kaman K-Max venture, shared an example he learned of from a Marine Corps mission commander. Overhead in Afghanistan, the pilot had a bird’s eye view of all the devastation due to IEDs while he flew over particular areas that were very constrained, where logistics support absolutely had to go through. “You see all the scorch marks from all the IEDs that go off and think that there’s got to be something better that can do this,” he sad. Stories like this gave the folks at Lockheed and Kaman the drive to get the K-Max program off the ground. “They really put a lot into it to make sure that it was successful,

just to address those sorts of needs,” McMillan said. “As they started developing this, they began to see the real potential we had to get some of those convoys off the road to eliminate some of those choke points where they always had to drive because of the topology.” That perseverance led to K-Max becoming the first unmanned helicopter to deliver cargo in theater. “They were quite excited when we finally got to that first mission and we had everything deployed and were able to see something that all of our engineers put a lot of hard time and labor in to,” McMillan said. “It had really become a reality, something that we followed since the Marine Corps first started saying they had the need to find a way to get convoys off the road.” It all came together in a relatively short period of time, and the impact K-Max had for troop sustainment and protecting lives was realized shortly after. “We moved over 3.7 million pounds,” McMillan pointed out. “If you were to take a look at that, what that 3.7 million pounds would mean if you were just to do some ‘back of the envelope’ type of calculations on what that would entail from a convoy perspective, that’s over 750 vehicles that are off the road. It’s almost 40,000 hours in personnel exposure.” Those are just some of the numbers that have added up to a successful mission that continues two years later. The bird has a few unique factors that have helped it achieve these high marks, such as the intermeshing rotors on top. That actually eliminates the need for a tail rotor. “That’s where a lot of acoustics from the platform come from, so the loud sound you hear from the helicopter really comes from that tail rotor,” McMillan said, noting that the quieter approach makes it an ideal platform to sustain SOF teams. “We’ve had people who have been in Afghanistan who have seen this; what they’ll tell you is you don’t see it coming until it’s right on top of you,” McMillan said. “They’re flying these things at night, so you really don’t even know it’s there until it’s right on top of you and delivering the load, because they are so quiet.” The original design of the K-1200 was designed specifically for the logging and construction industry. That mission set involves a lot of heavy lift—moving logs—in some very austere locations. “They would send out a pilot and a single mechanic into an unimproved area, somewhere in the woods, and they would operate for weeks at a time, with just those two people doing this eight hours

even everything that we do from our munia day,” McMillan said. Thus, it wasn’t too diftions, and then you take it one step further ficult to see how this platform, designed to and you say unmanned aerial systems, you say operate in similar environments, could transthis is a first for UAS,” McMillan pointed out. late over to the SOF mission. “It really doesn’t “This is a full-size helicopter, a manned-rated require a large footprint, from a care and helicopter, and it’s flying unmanned. And feeding perspective, that’s needed to do some it’s not only flying unmanned, it’s optionally expeditionary type mission,” McMillan said. piloted.” K-Max is a 6,000-pound aircraft, but it has McMillan said when he takes a step back the capability to lift 6,000 pounds as well— and look at this technology, keeping in mind that one-to-one lift ratio isn’t seen on many how rapidly technology increases over time, platforms. “There’s also the ability to trade he thinks this is the next frontier for robotoff—part of that payload could be fuel if need ics and autonomy. “This is one technology be, to extend range, if you’re looking to supthat allows us to really show the benefit that port smaller squads that would need smaller you can get from an unmanned system well deliveries, but at a longer range,” McMillan beyond just what many people are familiar said. “There’s a tradeoff there that could give with,” McMillan said. “They’re familiar with you a fairly strong capability that gets you a an ISR bird that flies around and just monilot of payload when needed, or longer range— tors situations or for strike, but this is actually longer legs—with lighter payload.” doing logistics.” The K-Max program first started as a Logisticians, like the SOF teams they six-month military utility assessment to see sustain, are often the first in, last out, and will if cargo UAS is something that’s feasible for likely be in Afghanistan longer than anyone the future. It’s since been extended multiple else. “So if they’re going to be there longer times, with a recent extension through the than anyone else, there’s still going to be the end of fiscal year 2014. “The Marines have need to find very austere locations and be able stated that we’ll be there and be one of the to get supplies to those areas,” McMillan said. last assets to come out,” McMillan said. “We “This is one capability that can plan to be there as long as this help them out.” asset’s needed and for wherever this asset’s needed to go in the future.” Forward Thinking Many VTOL UASs have been looked at in the past, but As commander of U.S. the niche for this cargo bird is Special Operations Support that it’s been able to complete Command during 9/11, Major those dull, dirty and dangerGeneral Kevin Leonard, U.S. ous missions, just ferrying Army (Ret.), led his team in supplies back and forth. “We’ve developing and deploying the Kevin Leonard moved everything from pallets first logistics unit dedicated to of water and MREs to bullets,” U.S. Army Special Forces, and McMillan said. “Because we’ve he still today has his fingers on been there so long, we’re now integrated with the pulse on what it takes to provide distribuair tasking orders.” tion for special operations transporters and At times, K-Max has been chosen over special operations sustainers into areas that manned assets because of the risk that a pardon’t have a tremendous amount of infraticular mission would put to the crew. This structure. “When you’re going into the Cenkeeps the safety of our Marines and airmen tral African Republic or Niger, places that are and the SOF teams they support at mind, and off the littorals, and you’re going deeper—100 McMillan said K-Max does it very reliably. “We miles or greater—inside a country or counare at less than 1.5 maintenance man hours tries, there are tremendous challenges with no per flight hour, and compared to other assets road networks, no rail networks and limited that can lift this type of weight, that’s an order airfields,” said Leonard, now vice president of of magnitude less.” operations Fluor Government Group. “Special Having just celebrated 100 years supportoperations transporters and sustainers are ing the defense department, K-Max is one in a going to have to think about innovative and long line of many platforms that Lockheed is creative ways to deliver people, products and proud of. “You start looking at all the ‘firsts’ sustainment supplies to austere locations.” that had to happen across that [century], Bare-basing any place comes with a tail. everything from aviation through stealth, The sustainer has to figure out, in very precise

detail, what that tail consists of—food, water, sanitation, tentage—all of the things that go into operating in austere environments. “When I think about both Africa and South America in particular, and then certainly parts of the Pacific, you have these long lines of communication that are required in order to sustain your force,” Leonard said. “Even though it may be a small force, there is still a requirement to sustain.” Larger companies like Fluor have operated in those austere environments, and over time they’ve conquered much of the supply chain management challenge. “In Africa for example, we just opened a new Mozambique office, focused on some of our construction projects and the materials that we’ll need to operate in that environment,” Leonard said. One example of looking at different ways to supply and sustain forces is soft drinks: While stationed in Iraq, it would amaze Leonard to see a local kid with a Coke in some of the farthest, hardest-to-reach regions of the country. How does a product like that get all the way to the end of the supply chain and beyond? “Commercial industry has spent a lot of time thinking about and conquering the challenges of austere locations,” Leonard said. “I think SOF sustainers will have to do the same and will have to think outside the box, and I really think partnering with industry offers them the best, most economical way to do that.” In 2014, one of the main conditions Leonard said SOF will face is the fifth SOF truth, “Most special operations require non-SOF assistance.” “In 2014, when we’ve come out of Iraq, we’ll be downsizing in Afghanistan, and we’re reshaping our posture as the Department of Defense, but SOF will still be in the lead,” Leonard said. “The point of the spear remains special operating forces and so they will find themselves in places where there isn’t a large DoD presence to back them up.” But SOF remains, and so will be a part of every combatant commander’s theater engagement plan, being called on to facilitate exercises and foreign internal development, among other activities. O

For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

SOTECH  12.1 | 11

The U.S. Army plans to buy hundreds of thousands of new pistols that are more precise, reliable and versatile than its existing sidearms. By Marc Selinger, SOTECH Correspondent As the U.S. Army shrinks due to budget constraints, service officials hope to compensate for the loss of soldiers by giving those who stay in uniform greater firepower. As part of that strategy, the Army is gearing up to replace hundreds of thousands of aging M9 and M11 pistols with a new, more potent weapon called the modular handgun system (MHS). At press time, the Army planned to issue a draft request for proposals in May 2014 and a final RFP in August 2014, said Daryl Easlick, a Fort Benning, Ga.-based small-arms expert for the Army’s Capability Development Integration Directorate who is helping to launch the program. Achieving the “first unit equipped” is scheduled for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016. To prepare for the competition, the Army issued a request for information in January 2013 to assess “handgun technologies as well as production capacity of the U.S. small arms industrial base.” The RFI was followed by an industry day in December 2013 at the Army’s Homeland Defense Technology Center in Rockaway, N.J. Two more industry days are in the works. The Army began fielding the M9 in 1985 and the M11 in 1992. It currently has about 239,000 M9s and almost 8,000 M11s that it wants to replace with the MHS. The Beretta M9 is a full-size service pistol equipped with a 5-inch barrel and carried by a wide range of troops, from battalion commanders to medics. The Sig Sauer M11 has a 4-inch barrel and a smaller grip and is used by Army Special Operations Command and other forces that need concealable weapons. Other U.S. military services are expected to buy MHS as well, boosting the Defense Department’s total purchase to 438,000 pistols. “The Army is the lead proponent” for MHS, Easlick said. “Some services are more eager to be involved than others as far as placing resources towards it. Some are looking further into the future when they have better resources that they can leverage.” With MHS, the Army seeks several improvements over its existing arsenal, including greater accuracy. With the M9, there is a “lack of desired target effect,” Easlick told Special Operations Technology. In the RFI, the Army requested information on a handgun and ammunition combination that “should, at a range of 50 meters, have a 90 percent or better probability of hit on a 4-inch circle when fired from a test fixture. It must maintain this throughout the life of the system.” Increased durability is also desired. The M9, which has been fielded for almost 30 years, including in continuous combat overseas for the past dozen years, has been breaking with increasing frequency, driving up maintenance costs. “It’s served its purpose as a service pistol,” Easlick said. “Some of the issues we see with it are very op tempo-dependent. The faster the firing schedule, the faster they fail maintenance-wise.” The modularity would come in the form of enhanced ergonomics, such as hand grips that could be adjusted for hand size, and 12 | SOTECH 12.1

The M9 commercial equivalent is the Beretta 92FS, which Beretta has unofficially dubbed “the ultimate pistol” in part because each one must pass more than 3,000 quality control checks before leaving the factory. [Photo courtesy of Beretta]

compatibility with accessories, such as tactical lights, lasers and sound suppressors, the Army said. “There is specific interest in designs that would be adaptable and/or adjustable to provide enhanced ergonomics that ensure fifthpercentile female through 95th-percentile male military personnel access to controls, such as the safety, magazine release, slide release and all other applicable controls,” the RFI said. “There is also interest in designs that offer these enhanced ergonomics while providing full ambidextrous controls.”The Army would like to replace both the M9 and M11 with a single gun to simplify logistics. But it has not ruled out buying two MHS variants with significant parts commonality if it finds that no one pistol can meet all of its needs. Whether two variants would be purchased from one company or two remains to be determined.

Industry Interested Gun makers are closely monitoring the MHS program, a once-ina-generation opportunity that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. “I would say there are going to be plenty of interested vendors,” said Easlick, who estimated the number of “relevant companies” at “somewhere between 20 and 30.” Companies that have publicly confirmed their interest in the program include Beretta USA, Colt, FNH USA, Glock, Remington, Sig Sauer and Smith & Wesson. But with the Army still refining its requirements, potential competitors said they have not finalized the specifics of their proposals. Beretta plans to offer something new and “significantly different” than the M9, said Gabriele de Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales at Beretta USA. For instance, the new gun would have a glass fiber-reinforced polymer frame to make it lighter, more corrosion-resistant and durable, and easier to maintain than the M9’s aluminum frame. Whether it would be a variant of an existing Beretta product or something completely new remains to be determined. “We’re working on all options at this point,” de Plano told Special Operations Technology. Colt spokesman Jeffrey Radziwon said his firm “will compete in the new MHS competition, but since we have still not seen a released document by the government, at this time we’re not releasing any information about any Gabriele de Plano current Colt products that would be submitted.”

FNH said it is “looking forward to submitting a proposal once the solicitation identifying the requirements is released.” Glock indicated it “cannot make a final decision on what we will submit” until it sees the Army’s specifications. Sig Sauer said it is “actively seeking to determine the best way to meet the needs of the program.”

Upgrade? Beretta has floated a proposal to upgrade the M9 as a less expensive alternative to MHS. The idea received support from the House Armed Services Committee, which wrote in its fiscal 2014 defense authorization report that “the Marine Corps has upgraded the M9 pistol with a series of product improvements that has extended the life cycle of the program and improved the weapon’s capabilities.” But Easlick insisted that the Army needs a new gun. “Looking at what the upgrade availability is … and some of the cost and maintenance issues we’ve seen with the M9, we don’t feel like that’s a suitable path to follow; plus, that doesn’t get anything in the replacement realm of the M11 and reducing that logistical tail,” Easlick said. “We’re looking at going to a totally different gun.” Or, as Lieutenant Colonel Tobin Moore, the Lethality Branch chief in the Soldier Division of the Army’s Capability Development Integration Directorate put it, “As the M9 continues to age, it has become evident that it is costing the Army more than it would to go after a new handgun. Getting a new system provides the soldier with

a better gun and saves the Army, and ultimately the taxpayer, money over the life of the system.” De Plano said Beretta will continue to discuss an upgraded M9 with the Army in case MHS funding does not materialize. Since the 1980s, Beretta has delivered 600,000 M9s to U.S. and foreign military customers, and is under contract to build up to 100,000 more over the next few years. “We will continue to suggest an alternate solution, possibly outside of the MHS program channels, that could be pursued in parallel—a dual-path strategy—or in series should the MHS program run into budgeting issues,” de Plano said. “We believe that the M9 product improvement program can address many of the identified capability gaps without the cost burden of a completely new weapon system.” An improved M9 could have a number of new features, including a sound suppressor, an accessory rail, a removable front sight, earthtone color, a more durable locking block and a more sand-resistant magazine. An upgraded M9 would not only cost less to produce than a new gun but would also require fewer changes to logistics and training, according to de Plano. “We believe that it can be enhanced and improved to meet many of the requirements … for a lot less money than to design, develop and field a brand-new pistol system,” he said. O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

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SOTECH  12.1 | 13

BLACK WATCH Modular Tactical Holster Chosen ATK The U.S. Army has selected ATK’s Blackhawk! Serpa tactical holster for its improved modular tactical holster program. The five-year, $24 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, multiple source contract was awarded to Blackhawk! distributor ADS Inc. The Serpa holster is now the current platform for the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, Army military police, the German Army and other law enforcement and military agencies both domestic and international. “ATK is honored that the U.S. Army has chosen the Serpa for their improved modular tactical holster program,” said ATK Sporting Group President Jay Tibbets. “ATK is focused on delivering affordable and innovative products that meet the needs of our customers. Our high-quality Blackhawk! Serpa holster system has, once again, been selected by a U.S. military organization as an integral part of a soldier’s standard issue equipment.” The Serpa has been proven in military conflicts and law enforcement engagements worldwide. The latest award was in response to a soldier clothing and individual equipment requirement for

improvements to be made to the current Army tactical drop-leg configuration holster system. The improvements provided by the Serpa holster are the increased modularity, including a drop-leg configuration that can be quickly transferred to a hip configuration. The Serpa also has the capability to be worn or attached to current modular lightweight load-carrying equipment, load carriage equipment such as rucksacks and the tactical assault panel or on individual body armor such as the improved outer tactical vest or the soldier plate carrier system. The Blackhawk! Serpa tactical holster complies with the Berry Amendment and has also been assigned a national stock number and is available to any unit in the U.S. military, including the National Guard. The 8,400 units already delivered on this contract will add to the 6 million Serpa holsters in service worldwide.

Multispectral Camouflage Systems Fibrotex Technologies Fibrotex Technologies, a designer, developer and manufacturer of advanced static and mobile camouflage and deception systems for armies and security forces worldwide, was awarded a long-term contract to manufacture and supply thousands of advanced multispectral camouflage systems to the Finnish Defense Forces. Fibrotex successfully competed with other global suppliers to win the tenders for all four types of camouflage systems. Fibrotex’ multispectral camouflage systems protect against various sensors in a variety of ranges, including UV, visual, nearinfrared, thermal and radar. The systems that will be supplied to the Finnish Ministry of Defence are reversible (double-sided), with each side providing different camouflage coverage, such as snow, woodland or urban. The systems were developed to meet the camouflage properties and extreme environmental conditions of the Scandinavian area.

14 | SOTECH 12.1

Adi Blum, owner and chief executtive officer of Fibrotex, said, “We feel great pride to have been awarded this strategic project, with its leading-edge technical requirements. The Finnish Army Material Command has been a valued customer of ours since 2006, and we are delighted

with this award and committed to ensuring that this partnership will continue for years to come.” The company has been developing and manufacturing signature management systems for armies and special forces around the globe for more than 40 years.

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Small Form Factor Enterprise Grade Routers

New Smartphone to put Privacy and Control First

Information Assurance Specialists Inc. The Cisco ESR 5921 software router has joined Information Assurance Specialists’ family of IAS routers. For the first time, users can leverage Cisco propriety protocols on non-Cisco hardware. Many Cisco protocols and capabilities can now be leveraged in applications where off-the-shelf Cisco hardware does not satisfy the size, weight and power requirements of the application. The integration of Cisco ESR5921 into the IAS router product family further expands the capability of the IAS router family by adding Cisco propriety routing protocols and capabilities into the already robust IAS router. By coupling the IAS router capabilities with Cisco’s ESR 5921, the family of IAS routers is unlike any other IP networking based routers in the market today. IAS routers are

small form factor enterprise grade routers that implement National Security Agency (NSA) Suite B cryptography, are compliant to the NSA’s high assurance Internet protocol encryptions IPSEC specification, and are interoperable with most commercial IPSEC and SSL VPN technologies. IAS routers support multiples of each WAN technology simultaneously, and can also support multiple different WAN technologies simultaneously. The IAS routers offer a Web-based graphical user interface making configuration and use of the IAS router easier then any other enterprise grade router. Additionally, IAS router is also available for license as a virtual machine and as stand-alone firmware/ software for use on x86, MIPS, ARM and other general purpose processors.

Silent Circle Silent Circle has announced a new Switzerland-based joint venture and its inaugural product, Blackphone, the world’s first smartphone placing privacy and control directly in the hands of its users. Blackphone, powered by a security-oriented Android build named PrivatOS, is a carrierand vendor-independent smartphone giving individuals and organizations the ability to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, transfer and store files, and video chat without compromising user privacy on the device. It is the culmination of several careers’ worth of effort from leading figures in the industry, including Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP; Javier Aguera, co-founder of Geeksphone; Jon Callas, co-founder of PGP Inc. and chief technical officer of Silent Circle; Rodrigo Silva-Ramos, co-founder of Geeksphone; and Mike Janke, chief executive officer of Silent Circle and former U.S. Navy SEAL. “I have spent my whole career working towards the launch of secure telephony products,” Zimmermann said. “Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect.” Blackphone will be available for pre-order beginning February 24, 2014, at Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain.

Special Ops Watch Wins Industry Approval Garmin Ltd. Garmin Tactix is the best all-in-one GPS watch solution ever made for special ops, Navy SEALs and undercover espionage work, according to the Heart Rate Watch Company. “We have multiple special ops guys doing skydiving recertification down in the Arizona desert and they are loving it,” said Rusty Squire, president of the Heart Rate Watch Company. “Now they can have jumpmaster, GPS trackback navigation, barometric altimeter, 3-D compass, fitness features, non-reflect glass and

a no-flareout backlight all in one place.” Using all of those features used to require several devices. The new Tactix military watch is built on the Garmin fenix platform and with roughly 95 percent of the fenix features in addition to the other upgrades. The Tactix is waterproof to 50 meters, has a matte black non-reflective finish, uses a curved non-reflective crystal and a green LED backlight that won’t flare out with night vision goggles. “About the only critique I’ve heard is that some guys would like

all the dive watch specific features added, but that was about the only comment from the troops I’ve talked to,” Squire said. The Heart Rate Watch Company provides all active and retired military personnel with a 10 percent discount and orders of the watch come with complimentary eBook copies of “How to Successfully use a Heart Rate Monitor” and “How to Elevate Fitness with Strength and Interval Training.” Accessories offer users even more data. “You need to purchase a separate heart rate strap to get

heart rate data as well as a Tempe sensor if you want accurate realtime temperature data,” Squire said. “The Tactix can also remote control the Garmin VIRB Elite camera thanks to Bluetooth Smart.”

SOTECH  12.1 | 15


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Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)

Ms. Betty J. Sapp Director, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)

LTG Joseph Votel, U.S. Army

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Guiding Go-Getter

Q& A

SORDAC’s Lead Loggie and Acquirer Pilots SOF Support

James F. “Hondo” Geurts Acquisition Executive U.S. Special Operations Command James F. Geurts, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the deputy for acquisition, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. He is responsible for all special operations forces research, development, acquisition, procurement and logistics (SORDAC). Geurts, a native of Charleston, S.C., entered the Air Force in 1987 as a distinguished graduate from the Lehigh University ROTC program, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. During his 21-year Air Force career, he served as an acquisition program manager with engineering and program management leadership positions in numerous weapon systems including intercontinental ballistic missiles, surveillance platforms, tactical fighter aircraft, advanced avionics systems, stealth cruise missiles, training systems, and manned and unmanned special operations aircraft. He commanded an Acquisition Group, served as the program executive officer for Fixed Wing Programs at SOCOM, and was commander, Joint Acquisition Task Force Dragon, an elite team of SOCOM and service acquisition personnel responsible for executing SOCOM’s most urgent acquisitions in response to wartime critical mission needs statements. He retired from the Air Force in the rank of colonel in July 2009 after more than 21 years of active duty. Prior to his current assignment, he was the deputy director, Special Operations Research, Development, and Acquisition Center, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla. His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster. Q: Congratulations on being selected as SOCOM’s Acquisition Executive, an office you know well having last served as the SORDAC Deputy for Acquisition, and en route to a decade of continuous service with SOCOM. Are your priorities for SORDAC shifting much in 2014? A: Thank you—I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the SOF community as the Acquisition Executive and tremendous privilege to lead the team of SOF acquirers and logisticians equipping and supporting the SOF warfighter. My vision for the SORDAC team is that we are the recognized experts and trusted providers of SOF-unique acquisition, technology and logistics. We made great progress towards that vision in 2013 and, in doing so, delivered an unprecedented amount of equipment and services to our SOF operators. Recognizing that people are our most valuable asset, we continued our deliberate efforts to recruit,

train and retain a remarkable team of SOF acquirers and logisticians. We were recognized by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics this year as having DoD’s top acquisition workforce development program, the third year in a row our acquisition workforce development team has been recognized as a top acquisition workforce development program in DoD. Of all DoD’s acquisition awards, this one means the most to me because I believe in the SOF truth that people are more important than hardware. This award recognizes that we’re focused on our people. For 2014, we will remain similarly focused on the operator, while we simultaneously execute strategies to enhance our support to the commander’s lines of operation and grow the capabilities of our SOF acquirer team. One area we will be focusing on in 2014 in particular will be maturing our global logistics support strategies to ensure we can effectively and efficiently deliver and support needed SOF capabilities in support of the commander’s global SOF campaign plan. We are also continuing to grow our capabilities to provide effective acquisition of services through our new Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Services. Finally, we will continue to develop, implement and refine innovative acquisition approaches to enable us to deliver acquisition and sustainment solutions at the speed of SOF. Q: As deputy director, one of your top priorities was to “set unreasonable expectations” for SOF acquisition. Similar to how SOTECH  12.1 | 17

SOF operators are the elite of their field, do SOF acquirers excel in the environment at SORDAC? A: Absolutely. SOF acquirers approach the many challenges of acquisition in the same manner that the SOF operators we serve approach their operational missions: through competence, creativity, courage, and integrity and an unwavering operational focus. The complex and heavily legislated government procurement system can be quite a demanding environment, and our goal is to grow SOF acquirers who can effectively navigate through that system to provide rapid and focused acquisition, technology and logistics to the field. We continue to lead the [Defense] Department in developing new ways to develop, procure and sustain capabilities for our users, while also focusing on developing our most precious asset, our SOF acquirers. The SOF acquisition team continues to be recognized at the service and DoD level for their accomplishments, and being recognized as having the top acquisition Army special forces members begin infiltrating a simulated village during a training exercise on Eglin Range, Fla. The members recently visited Hurlburt Field for two weeks of training on various weapons, vehicles and simulated combat scenarios. workforce development team in the entire [Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force/by Senior Airman Christopher Callaway] Department of Defense was quite an honor investment funding overall, however, continues to lag in terms of for such a small acquisition unit. We also have a number of internal overall percentage of the total SOCOM budget, compared to historical programs to help us continue to drive innovation and change in the levels over the last decade. This will remain a strategic focus for the way we do things—these include a self-declared war on bureaucracy, command in our next budget cycle. where we recognize “bureaucracy busters,” who find effective means to SORDAC’s director of S&T, as SOCOM’s S&T council chair, has utiinnovate how we accomplish our mission and reduce the transactional lized the S&T Council to manage these precious resources by focusing cost of SOF Acquisition. on priorities based on available resources. The S&T Council, consisting of SOCOM component and theater special operations command Q: How have furloughs and the government shutdown affected S&T representatives, provides strategic S&T direction and guidance, SOCOM PEOs? synchronizes planning efforts and actions across SOCOM’s S&T enterprise, and facilitates technical development of capabilities for SOF. No A: Furloughs and the associated shutdown were problematic, in that matter the constraints, we continue to focus on maximizing the delivthey impacted a large portion of our team and caused disruption in ery of new or improved capabilities into the hands of SOF operators. our ability to deliver on all our commitments to the field. With such a small team who punches well above its weight, losing the civilian Q: In this very early stage of TALOS development, have there been workforce and some of our contracted teammates for several man-days any ideas submitted that already excite you? was problematic. In addition, it placed hardship on a civilian team who has been so dedicated to the SOF mission for so long. But, as with any A: I am very excited about the TALOS program and the ideas we are high performing team, we stayed mission focused and the rest of the seeing from industry, government and academia. Taking advantage of team rallied to ensure we had no critical impact to our ability to supthe latest technology and innovation to enhance the survivability and port SOF operations downrange. capability of the SOF operator is critically important. We are using the TALOS effort to develop and test new ways of acquiring cutting-edge Q: Is the Directorate of Science & Technology able to maintain R&D technology from both traditional and nontraditional sources through levels during budget belt-tightening times like these? innovative business models. Through TALOS, we can hone these innovative acquisition approaches for other tough SOF problems. A: Maintaining balance between O&M and investment/modernizaThe commander has presented us with a very relevant tactical tion funding is always challenging, and it is particularly problematic problem—dramatically improving the survivability of the operator at when we are facing reduced budgets while simultaneously supporting the extreme tip of the spear who will most certainly encounter direct combat and SOF operations around the world. We have been able contact with an armed enemy. Despite the technical and programto maintain our S&T funding overall, to include a new initiative to matic hurdles, this relevancy drives us, our DoD partners and our develop enhanced capabilities for our ground forces under the tactical industry partners to push the envelope on closing this gap with revoassault light operator suit (TALOS) program. In addition, we continue lutionary technology advances in power generation and management, to refine our partnerships with other S&T activities in the department mobility and agility, survivability, offensive systems, human factors to ensure we can leverage their investments wherever possible. Our 18 | SOTECH 12.1

and physiology, C3I, processing and control, operator interface, and signature management … at a speed and urgency commensurate with the fact that SOF operators are in these tactical environments today and will be tomorrow. Our challenge on the TALOS program is to develop an innovative technical and programmatic framework that will enable us to take advantage of new ideas and technology breakthroughs, no matter whether they come from academia, industry or other government sources. To that end we are spending as much time focusing on the way we are acquiring TALOS as what technologies we are acquiring. We hosted industry demonstration days in July 2013 and November 2013 to address the initial capability as well as the final suit configuration. In July, 46 companies, demonstrating 63 independent products to identify technologies capable of forming an initial capability, focused on enhanced ballistic protection within a 12-month period. In November, 45 companies attended the TALOS event and provided insights into potential material solutions for the final suit.










Selected by AdmirAl WilliAm mcrAven for the US SpeciAl operAtionS commAnd commAnder’S reAding liSt for 2014

Q: In 2012, SOCOM awarded more contracts under SORDAC authority than in any year past. Might growth for SOF acquirers continue in 2014 as the SOF global network expands? A: The SORDAC team [which includes the SOCOM J4] is aggressively working to support the SOCOM commander’s vision and the Global Campaign Plan-SOF. Developing the SOF sustainment strategy to enable support of the Global Campaign Plan will be a major focus for the SOF logisticians and program managers in 2014. Simultaneously, we are supporting the commander’s primary operation of winning the current fight and ensuring our combat forces remain properly sustained, through a mix of uniform and contracted support personnel. Finally, we must sustain our retrograde effort in Afghanistan. J4 partnered with USCENTCOM and the SOJTF-A logistics leaders to develop a robust contractor-supported effort to identify, prepare and turn in SOF equipment for redistribution or reset. This effort included logistics management specialists contracted through the Special Operations Forces Support Activity (SOFSA) in Lexington, Ky. To help project support requirements in the future, J4 is hosting a rehearsal of concept drill in February 2014 to clarify concepts of support to SOF with the geographic combatant commands and services so they better understand the support that SOF requires of them in the future. This will help in our planning process to clarify how much support is expected of the services versus how much is required from SOCOM. Q: How did fiscal year 2013 compare with FY12, in which the SORDAC Contracting Office executed more than 15,260 contract actions, obligating $3.427 billion? Do you see any trends that may continue into FY14? A: The SORDAC Contracting Office executed 13,716 contract actions, obligating $3.148 billion in FY13, which was a slight decrease since FY12 due mostly in the reduced budget under sequestration in FY13. I expect activities to remain fairly constant in FY14 relative to FY13. Also, importantly, SOCOM exceeded its aggressive competition and small business goals in FY13, ensuring that we continue to achieve best value for the government. We achieved over a 75 percent competition rate in FY13, exceeding our FY12 rate and exceeding our goal by over 5 percent. In addition, we achieved a small business rate of over 25 percent, exceeding our goals by over 2 percent.

“Highly readable and paints a compelling picture....[Robinson] is quite literally an expert without peer with it comes to the issues of SOF policy and SOF force application . . . The result is a series of ground-truth, factual vignettes that provide a glimpse into the personal as well as the policy.” ––US nAvA l inStitUte Proceedings “A ground-level snapshot of American counterinsurgency in Afghanistan . . . Her treatment is rich and detailed . . . A worthy addition to the literature on the war.” ––new York Times Book review “ The book is a compelling group portrait of America’s most dedicated warriors, and it will appeal to both serious and not-so-serious historians alike, as well as the casual observer looking for a good read.” ––ArmY


now available in hardcover and ebook



PubAff_SOTECH_12.1issue.indd 1







SOTECH  12.1 | 193:58 PM 1/27/14

U.s. Special operations command

Command Adm. Bill McRaven Commander SOCOM

Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, Jr. Deputy Commander SOCOM

PEO PEO Maritime Program Executive Officer

PEO Rotary Wing Program Executive Officer

PEO Fixed Wing Program Executive Officer

PEO Special Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Exploitation Program Executive Officer

PEO Services Program Executive Officer

PEO Special Operations Forces Support Activity Program Executive Officer

PEO Special Operations Forces Warrior Program Executive Officer

PEO Command, Control, Communications and Computers Program Executive Officer

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Enterprise Networks Division Transport Systems Division

Special Operations Research, Development, and Acquisition Center Lt. Gen. (S) Bradley A. Heithold Vice Commander SOCOM

CSM Chris Faris Command Sergeant Major SOCOM

James F. “Hondo” Geurts Acquisition Executive SORDAC

Col. James H. Smith Deputy Director for Acquisition SORDAC

Directorate Directorate of Science and Technology Director SORDAC

Directorate of Procurement Director (SORDAC-K)

Directorate of Resources and Anaylysis SORDAC-RA

Directorate of Science and Technology Director SORDAC-S&T

Directorate of Acquisition Comptroller Director SORDAC-AC

Directorate of Logistics Director-S4

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Sustainment Division Materiel Management Headquarters Support Acquisition / Sustainment Branch Operations, Plans Strategy and Equipment Readiness Division

Technology & Industry Liaison Officer Director

Joint Acquisition Task ForceAgile Dagger Director

Q: Can you provide a brief status update major FY14 acquisitions, including the special operations craft-riverine (SOC-R) re-compete, SOF information technology contract (SITEC) II, mid-endurance unmanned aircraft system (MEUAS) II, and global battlestaff and program support (GBPS) next generation? A: The special operations craft-riverine provides short range insertion/extraction of SOF and waterborne special reconnaissance in a riverine and/or littoral environment. The Program Executive Office for Maritime, in coordination with Naval Special Warfare Command, is planning a service life extension and modernization of the current SOC-R inventory. We intend to re-compete the SOC-R sustainment effort, anticipating release of a formal request for proposal in the summer of 2014 and contract award in December 2014. The SOF information technology contract II acquisition strategy is under development by the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications and Computers. While still predecisional, the emphasis is on a more customer-focused contract model that provides reliable core services worldwide with the flexibility to support local requirements and rapidly deliver next generation technologies. The SITEC II schedule includes a minimum of two industry days (virtual/live) and two draft requests for proposal, with a planned award date no later than April 2016. In 2013, SOCOM awarded a contract that will provide MEUAS intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance service in theater to support operations through 2015, depending on availability of funds. We are currently determining our acquisition strategy for potential follow-on activities. The next-generation global battlestaff and program support contract is called the SOCOM wide mission support (SWMS) contract. The acquisition strategy, in final stages of development by the Program Executive Office for Services, emphasizes four objectives for acquiring knowledge based services: retain and build in the acquisition efficiencies, speed, and flexibility gained in the GBPS acquisition; create and maintain competition throughout the contract period of performance; strengthen and maintain partnerships with industry; and measure and incentivize superior contractor performance. The SWMS schedule includes two industry days (including the special operations forces industry conference in May) with a planned award date no later than April 2015. Q: Does SORDAC communicate with similar service component offices—Army Rapid Equipping Force, for example—to share success stories like SOCOM J4’s achievement and other best practices? A: Certainly. SORDAC maintains habitual relationships with acquisition and sustainment organizations in all the services. For instance, our Program Executive Officer for SOF Warrior maintains close relationships with the Army’s PEO Soldier, the Army Rapid Equipping Force, Army research labs, etc., as well as with similar organizations in the Air Force, Navy and Marines. We have specific processes in place to make available SOCOM equipment for service use, thereby making the equipment service common. This enables acceleration of service acquisition programs and benefit for the department through larger buying quantities and common logistics support. Handheld small unmanned aerial systems, body armor and weapons/weapon accessories are examples of SOF equipment that was developed by SOCOM and then transitioned to the services. 22 | SOTECH 12.1

Q: What are the toughest challenges you expect to face this year as SORDAC works to ensure SOF are outfitted with the finest kit, technology and equipment available? A: We will have several challenges facing the SORDAC team this year, but none of them are insurmountable. Our largest challenge will be adapting our current SOF acquisition enterprise to provide our rapid and focused acquisition, technology and logistics to the new global SOF campaign plan—being able to provide rapid and focused equipment and support worldwide simultaneously will be demanding. We have a best-in-world team of SOF acquirers (to include logisticians) and we have put in place a structured approach to develop, test and implement this new support strategy. Accomplishing this in a budget constrained fiscal climate will demand innovation and creativity, but those are both key traits of SOF acquirers. Additionally, we will need to continue to invent new acquisition strategies which recognize and take advantage of the accelerating pace of technology change. Again, our operationally oriented acquisition mindset and tolerance for trying new things will serve us well, and TALOS provides a demanding first-use case for those new strategies. Finally, and most importantly, we will need to ensure we continue our DoD-leading acquisition workforce development program to ensure we can recruit, train, and retain the SOF acquisition talent needed to support our SOF operators. Q: The Bipartisan Budget Act and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) were passed just in the nick of time. Does the defense budget now provide more predictability for your office? Did anything in the FY14 NDAA stand out to you, or are items like sections 1086 and 1244—which call for a review and assessment of SOF and SOCOM, and a limitation on the establishment of regional special operations forces coordination centers— predictable and understandable requests from Congress? A: We are very hopeful that the signed Bipartisan Budget Act and NDAA will provide additional stability to the SOF acquisition team and thereby allow more predictable and cost effective acquisition solutions. SOCOM has always enjoyed a tremendous relationship with Congress and I am confident that will continue in the future and that these requests for information and reviews are part of the normal legislative process. Q: What closing thoughts can you share with the SORDAC team and your industry, academia and government partners? A: It is a privilege to equip and support the SOF operator, and so we must always remain focused on supporting them. We will continue demand the best from the entire SOF acquisition enterprise, whether that is the SORDAC team or our partners in industry, academia or government, because our SOF operators deserve the absolute best from us. We will do so using the same key traits we expect from our operational forces: creativity, courage, competence and integrity. I look forward to continuing to demand excellence in all as we play a key role in enabling SOCOM’s global campaign plan at the speed of SOF, and in so doing, continue to lead the department [in] rapid and focused acquisition and sustainment. O

The Acme of Skill

More than 100 victories in, the SOF advisory mission continues in Afghanistan. By Jeff Campbell, SOTECH Editor

Since the October release of her latest book, One Hundred Victories: Special Ops and the Future of American Warfare, Linda Robinson has kept a keen eye on the SOF mission in Afghanistan. The RAND senior international policy analyst has had update briefs from SOCOM and kept in touch with the operators she’s forged strong bonds with, but before her first visit back to Afghanistan since she completed the book, Robinson spoke with SOTECH about the importance of maintaining ties with newly formed Afghan SOF elements. The bottom line was to train Afghans (locals) to defend themselves against insurgencies. “It is critical that the U.S. not behave unilaterally in Afghanistan for political reasons, but it’s also the right reason so that they eventually can achieve the skill level to handle every mission that’s required there,” Robinson said. The book’s title comes from a Sun Tzu truism in The Art of War: “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” Her basic theme is that the tactical skills to win battles are important, but the highest art is working through the other partner so they can do that. When Major General Scott Miller prepared to take command of the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) in 2009, he consulted his network of operators and expert analysts to mold a plan that would ensure continuity as units and commanders would come and go through the area of responsibility. “It was vital to stop the churn and ad hockery that had characterized special operations and prevented them from achieving lasting impact,” Robinson said in Victories. Miller came up with a four-step process for the teams working largely in eastern and southern Afghan provinces: shape, build, hold, transition. Most combat operations would occur during the shaping phase, to

Next, a new SOF command in Afghaniweaken the insurgency, then—if invited— stan made progress toward SOF unity of the teams would build the Afghan local command among the different SOF stovepolice (ALP) with support of village elders pipes. “That is critical if you want to achieve who would take ownership of the program synergy among all the SOF capabilities,” and hold their own security. Once the ALP Robinson said. transitioned completely to Afghan control, Another point Robinson set out to drive SOF teams would still visit regularly for home is the unprecedented degree to which fallback support. coalition and allied partners contributed their Depending on village size or insurgency special operations forces to this combined strength, implementing the ALP could take unified effort. “In total, there were 24 counmonths or years, so Robinson believes the tries out there with SOF forces, and that’s most important aspect of what the teams huge,” she said. “There was a division of labor, operating in rural Afghanistan did is mainand they primarily focused on raising the taining that continuity through multiple provincial response companies, the high end rotations, to include those of the general SWAT-style police for 17 provinces, as well as officers. “One Hundred Victories tracks a more elite set of units under the ministry the development of the ALP, which was led of interior.” by SOF general officers intimately familFinally, at the same time they were buildiar with country, Afghan personalities and ing local defenders, teams the mission set,” she told were also developing local and SOTECH. “They’ve managed SOF Afghan special operato go back and basically follow tions forces, indigenous spethe same game plan but adapt cial operations capabilities. to evolving conditions.” “So rather than just going Miller’s predecessor at in and doing their thing and CFSOCC-A, Major General applying their skillset, they’re Edward Reeder, discovered bringing up the Afghan speone effective way to adapt cial operations capability,” she early on, by cross-loading said. “They’re not just helping Afghan and U.S. SOF personLinda Robinson them with selection and trainnel in each other’s vehicles, ing on their bases, but going which brought ambushes to out and operating with them and doing the a halt. “The locals did not want to kill a local in-the-field mentoring that is critical to really guy,” Reeder noted in Victories. Reeder will producing an effective force.” be replacing Miller in command in Kabul Robinson believes it’s vital for people to this summer, as an example of this ongoing understand the force-multiplying power of a continuity. civil defense effort. In this case, 62 SOF teams In addition to achieving continuity of were supported by 54 conventional infantry effort, there are four other important points squads, but with local support, it became a Robinson feels readers should take away force approaching 30,000 defenders. “It’s diffrom Victories, the first being the effort speficult to do highly distributed operations in a cial operators made to resurrect their skills hostile or denied environment, but if you can regarding civilian local defense. “That’s of pull that off, you can potentially cover a huge course something they did in Vietnam, and swath of territory and human population and have done to a smaller degree elsewhere, create local muscle that can do the job.” O but the magnitude and effectiveness of this effort made it a very effective tool,” she told SOTECH. “Everybody (Army SOF, Navy SEALs, Air Force commandos and Marine For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at SOF) did civilian local defense, and this was a or search our online archives for related stories critical thing for them, to be able to recover at that lost skillset.” SOTECH  12.1 | 23

Alternative energy hits adolescence using hybrid approach. By William Murray, SOTECH Correspondent While others may try to pitch a sexier approach, The last 18 months have seen significant innovaone New Jersey vendor advocates the tried and true tion, advances in ease of use and price reductions in form of electrical power. The advantage of rechargethe ability of vendors to provide alternative energy able batteries is that users can get as many as 500 to special operations forces downrange. One key charging cycles of use from them, according to advance that assists mission flexibility, for example, Howard Schrier, vice president of marketing with is the use of non-solar alternative energies, such as Nova Electric, a supplier of high-reliability AC power hydrogen fuel cells, since operators can only harvest systems that is a division of Technology Dynamsolar power during the daytime and in good weather. ics Inc. of Bergenfield, N.J. His company designs, Vendors report relatively small orders from the Army, develops and integrates batteries and has been in Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command, business since 1966 and worked with DoD since the as the military tests and probes how well the equipMike Barthlow late 1970s. ment works in training and operations. To Schrier, the question at hand is, “Chargeable Michael Barthlow, executive vice president and or rechargeable batteries?” The advantage of nonchief strategy officer with Iris Technology Corp. of chargeable batteries is that users can get as much as Irvine, Calif., which supplies alternative energy to the 24 hours of moderate use from them, or eight to nine military, noted that alternative energy products in hours of radio use, with three to four hours of ordDoD need to be “plug and play,” easy to use and lightnance use, according to Schrier. He noted that larger weight for vendors to succeed with 17- and 18-yearbatteries have more power storage space. old enlistees, who are the primary users. “There’s Portable fuel cells hold some promise, according not even an on/off switch on the smaller products” to Schrier. Their limitation is that they can only work sold by Iris Technology, he said. In its software produring daylight hours and in sunny environments. gramming, it seeks to make the most efficient use of Military personnel also need energy sources for bad energy with LED lights. weather and nighttime operations. Operators are “They want a lot in small packages, both in comCarl Kirkconnell used to operating with flexibility, sometimes using munications and electronics,” said Carl Kirkconnell, cigarette lighters in cars, for example, to access the Ph.D., chief technology officer with Iris Technolelectricity in car batteries during operations. ogy, which provides tactical power products to the With the move to smaller, rapidly deployable Marine Corps and SOCOM, with substantial use in special operations forces favored over larger, conthe Helmut Province of Afghanistan. “Nothing is ever ventional military forces, renewable energy could light enough or small enough,” he said. The $3,000 become more important. “I don’t think the theater is Merlin radio power adapter by Iris Technology, for the issue,” Iris Technology’s Barthlow said. He noted example, weighs 1.8 pounds and is 3 by 7 inches. that in Northern Europe, U.S. special operators have As Iris Technology has debuted lighter weight reported that limited daylight hours make solar panproducts with greater capabilities, its military cusels not a good option. “Whether you’re operating in tomers generally push the company to continue to Northern Europe or the jungles of Panama, it doesn’t innovate—lighter yet ruggedized, more capabilities Howard Schrier matter,” he said of the need for reliable energy to produce greater wattage and at the same or lower sources, which means a hybrid approach, forsaking an exclusive price. A former Raytheon and Hughes Space official, Kirkconnell reliance on solar energy. assumed his Iris Technology position in 2009. 24 | SOTECH 12.1

The use of hybrid alternative energy solutions can help reduce the amount of gas used to run a generator by as much as 80 percent, according to Kirkconnell, whose company is a small business contractor. “Nowadays, you just can’t escape batteries,” Schrier said, reflecting on the proliferation of electronic devices in the military, including some that are wearable and portable. Noting that some soldiers use iPhones with battle management applications in field operations, Schrier said that demand for batteries in the military is increasing, and lithium ion batteries have a track record for reliable performance. “[Soldiers] need a reliable source of energy,” said Anwar Master, general manager of Nova Battery Systems, a division of Technology Dynamics Inc. “They need to be able to recharge and go.” Another vendor pointed out that rechargeable batteries can help military personnel operate more efficiently. “Rechargeable batteries are key. Using them can reduce the number of batteries that personnel have to take on an operation,” Barthlow said. “The control of electrons between the power source and its destination is key,” Barthlow said. He noted that Iris Technology appears to perform very well in its work for DoD in working on tight deadlines for unique requirements, as opposed to plain vanilla needs, such as DC to DC power supply. Iris Technology’s Merlin-3, an alternate power source for the AN/ PRC-177G radio system, fitting between the radio and the existing battery, can receive input from AC and DC power sources. A secondary benefit of the Merlin-3 is that it can export power to run laptops, auxiliary speakers and other accessories, and integrates with BX-XX90 batteries contained within the OEM battery box. When a battery is available, the Merlin-3 serves as an uninterruptable power supply for the radio. In 2011, Iris Technology won a five-year, $13.5 million contract to supply the Merlin-3 to the Marine Corps. Schrier noted an increased interest in DoD in power conversion programs for radio and shipboard systems. There are even submarine operators using solar power. Back in the research and development arm of the military, far away from the sometimes dangerous world of the operator and the pointy edge of the sword, more work continues to be done with hydrogen fuel cell testing. In December, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) at the Army Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich., initiated the start of hydrogen fuel cell testing with General Motors Corp. at the Army’s new Ground System Power and Energy Laboratory (GSPEL). GSPEL officials, for example, are testing hydrogen fuel cells on small robots. Part of the Army Materiel Command’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, TARDEC has a number of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with industry partners to explore alternative energies. In January 2009, the Secretary of the Army issued the Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy, which called on the service to reduce energy consumption, increase energy efficiency across platforms and vehicles, and increase use of alternative and renewable energy, work to assure access to sufficient energy supplies and reduce the adverse impacts on the environment. To succeed, the Army needs to first scope out the work requirements in energy-saving performance contracts, according to Katherine Hammock, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. “When we look at limited resources within the Army, we have had a reduction in the budget line item

for the up-front costs for energy savings performance contracts,” she said, speaking at the 2013 AUSA conference in Washington. “Although we have the best track record in fiscal year [2013], just about 50 percent of the energy savings performance contracts executed by the federal government were executed by the Army,” she said. “The Army has more experience in this area than any of the other services or parts of the federal government, and this is through great partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers,” Hammock said, speaking during a panel discussion. “There is a challenge in ensuring that we have the up-front costs and do the due diligence to ensure that the energy savings are there, that it’s delivering value to the installation, and value to the mission.” A number of demonstration and validation tests related to hydrogen fuel cells have taken place in the last two years in DoD, according to Steve Symanski, director of government business development for Proton OnSite, an onsite gas generation company based in Wallingford, Conn. Founded in 1996, Proton OnSite handles oxygen production for life support for all Virginia-class nuclear powered submarines in the U.S. Navy, in addition to the company’s work with the French and U.K. navies and the National Weather Service. Energy Technologies Inc., a rugged power provider based in Mansfield, Ohio, sells a hybrid forward operating base plant that can operate without infrastructure support, according to Tim Lowe, Ph.D., company vice president. He noted that the Army and Marines have tested such units for desert operations in Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., Afghanistan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. After initial operational challenges, he noted that deployments of the hybrid FOB plants during the last 18 months have gone well, both in their operations and survivability in the desert. A key to successful deployments, he noted, is successful planning, with an eye toward how much energy a unit will consume during daytime and nighttime operations and how much energy they are likely to generate during daytime and nighttime hours using the hybrid alternative energy approach. A small business contractor, Energy Technologies Inc. has been in business for 15 years. A hybrid FOB plant system by Energy Technologies that can provide energy to a 10-by-10-foot tent can cost $30,000 or less, with setup taking a half hour or less. The most expensive parts of the systems are lithium ion phosphate and the solar panels, according to Lowe, but as vendors continue to innovate and reach economies of scale, pricing has begun to go down. The weight on the hybrid FOB plant system has been reduced as its components’ weight is reduced, and the fact that it doesn’t use precious materials has also helped reduced pricing. Lowe has worked for Energy Technologies for 12 years and formerly served in the Army. LED lighting systems, which consume less energy, have emerged as a key innovation that can benefit the deployed Marine and soldier in his attempts to use less energy. Available as a turnkey solution in a tactical case, Energy Technologies’ hybrid FOB plant uses solar energy as a primary source for ongoing daytime energy needs. Through JB8 manufacture, the hybrid FOB plant generates hydrogen for storage in a fuel cell, which is stored for later use, such as during nighttime operations and peak use. The hybrid FOB plant can also charge and recharge lithium ion batteries and can use wind generation. The drawback to using wind generators, according to Lowe, is that the wind blades on a 100-pound generator are not sufficient SOTECH  12.1 | 25

to withstand high winds of 100 mph or greater, something of an irony, since high winds could likely generate a lot of energy. Larger generators used in military depots, such as General Electric units with 200- to 300-foot tower poles and heavier blades, generally have the ability to withstand higher winds. Another drawback is that the tower pole for a hybrid FOB plant has to rise 30 to 40 feet above the FOB tent, which makes it more difficult for Marines and soldiers to keep a low profile. Proton OnSite focuses on using polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis to produce hydrogen, which is a zero carbon fuel that one can make from electricity and water. Such hydrogen can be stored in a fuel cell, where it charges a battery, which then discharges when the hydrogen is used. PEM electrolysis, seen as having significant commercial potential, has a rich history dating back to the 1950s with General Electrics Research. In December 2012, the Army tested Proton OnSite to make hydrogen on a remote airstrip at Fort Benning, Ga., as a part of a rapid equipping force, according to Symanski. He noted that hydrogen fuel cells have applications for unmanned aerial, ground and underwater vehicles, and that the Navy is testing fuel cells and compressed hydrogen. Aerostats, which are small, tethered blimps used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications, are a good candidate for fuel cell hydrogen, according to Symanski. Proton OnSite also completed a demonstration project with the Defense Logistics Agency for 20 forklifts in California two years ago,

in addition to a demonstration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. “The key difficulty is getting pressurized helium on site,” Symanski said, describing a common problem. For remote operating bases, it can be a particular advantage if a unit does not need to truck in or fly in helium but rather can collect it on site in small pressurized gas containers. “Helium is a non-renewable source, mined from the ground,” he said. Energy Technologies’ Lowe noted increased interest in bioreformation and the use of non-hydrogen fuel cells, such as those that can generate hydrogen from waste gases, including decomposing materials. Oshkosh Defense’s ProPulse vehicle technology has shown significant cost savings in heavy duty vehicle applications, according to Beatrice Zvosec, a company spokesperson. The ProPulse hybrid diesel-electric system improves fuel economy up to 20 percent by improving the transmission of power to the wheels with a modular series hybrid arrangement and serves as an on-board generator with enough output to power an entire airfield or hospital.  “It has been proven on Oshkosh’s HEMTT A4 and MTVR vehicles,” Zvosec added. O

For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

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Public Affairs Books. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 SOFEX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Special Operations West Summit. . . . . . . . . . 26

Trijicon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 USGIF. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

February 19-21, 2014 AUSA ILW Winter Symposium Huntsville, Ala.

March 10-12, 2014

Calendar February 10-12, 2014 25th Annual SO/LIC Symposium Washington, D.C.

AFCEA Homeland Security Conference

Washington, D.C.

World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine April 2014 Volume 12, Issue 3

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

Vice Admiral Sean A. Pybus Commander NSHQ

Special Section: KASOTC Anniversary Supplement A one-of-a kind special operations facility in Amman, Jordan is celebrating its fifth year of delivering cutting-edge training. Join us for an inside look at the accomplishments of the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center.

Tactical Vehicle Review We showcase a compendium of wheeled vehicles available for use by special operators, featuring the latest in mobility technology from industry leaders.

Features Expanded Language Proficiencies To aid a local population in its defense against insurgencies, it helps to speak the language. To provide the best assistance possible operators need to be more than proficient.

Deployable Infrastructures There’s no place like home, but when the mission takes you beyond the FOB, your home-away-fromhome, shelter options exist that provide a both a sturdy workspace and protection from the elements.

Long Range Dry Submersibles The re-balance to the Pacific has brought SEALs and other operators back into the littorals. Several new and enhanced systems are now available to get them from ship to shore even more swiftly.

SOFIC Preview Military, government, and academia stakeholders will converge in Tampa in May for the annual special operations forces industry conference. In addition to updates from SOCOM leadership, defense partners will have new and updated systems on display for end users’ examination.

Insertion Order Deadline: March 18, 2014 • Ad Materials Deadline: March 25, 2014


Washington, D.C. AUSA Braxton Bragg

Fort Bragg, N.C.

Middle East Special Operations Commanders Conference Amman, Jordan SOFEX Amman, Jordan

To Advertise, Contact Philippe Maman:

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Special Operations Technology

Vic Hyder Chief Operating Officer Silent Circle Vic Hyder is a combat-decorated career Navy SEAL commander and past founder/ CEO of a maritime security firm. As a recipient of the Silver Star with a master’s degree in strategic thinking and campaign planning, he has led and coordinated highly classified missions worldwide. Q: Please tell us how Silent Circle formed and your top goals for 2014. A: In 2011, Mike Janke, a former teammate of mine, approached cryptography legend Phil Zimmermann (Internet hall of fame, creator of Pretty Good Privacy) and Jon Callas, creator of Apple’s Whole Disk Encryption, about a potential partnership: working together to create the world’s first private encrypted communications network. The idea was to invent a system with simple tools to allow people to communicate without fear of interception, and help protect our right to privacy and free speech in the Internet age. Silent Circle is about curated cryptography, serving lawabiding, privacy-minded customers in the face of ever-more-sophisticated threats and seemingly innocuous infringements to civil liberties. We now have subscribers in more than 130 countries and verticals that include manufacturing, transportation, entertainment celebrities, professional athletes, government, energy—you name it. From individuals to large-scale organizations, all around the world, the need for private communications is prevalent. Besides our joint venture with our friends at Geeksphone to produce Blackphone, we have a few other products in the works that are expected soon including a revolutionary solution for encrypted email, a secure video teleconferencing app, and Silent Text 2.0.

A: Blackphone is the world’s first smartphone prioritizing the user’s privacy and control. It comes preinstalled with all the tools you need to move throughout the world, conduct business, and stay in touch while shielding you from prying eyes. It’s a precaution any connected worker should take, whether they’re talking to their family or exchanging notes on the company’s latest acquisition. Blackphone is unlocked and works with any Global System for Mobile Communications carrier. Performance benchmarks put it among the top performers from any manufacturer. It has all the features necessary to do the things you need, as well as the things you want, while maintaining your privacy and security. You can send and receive secure phone calls; exchange secure texts; exchange and store secure files; have secure video chat; browse privately; and anonymize your activity through a VPN. Along with these tools allowing you access to increasingly hard-to-find privacy, will be all the functionality of a high-end smartphone. Silent Circle has combined efforts with Geeksphone to make Blackphone a sleek and sexy solution while keeping it both simple and secure.

Q: Blackphone is set to launch at the end of the month. What sets it apart from other smartphones?

Q: What traits did you learn as a SEAL that have helped you excel in business and grow the Silent Circle brand?

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A: Adaptability and innovation; the drive to achieve mission success; the understanding that success has various definitions; and respect for teammates. Those traits are inherent in nearly all members of the special operations community worldwide. Our company has many similarities to a SOF command built for a specific mission, outfitted to meet the need, and unaccepting of failure. Besides Janke and me as former U.S. Navy SEALs, Silent Circle also employs a former Canadian special forces soldier and two U.K. Special Air Service veterans. Add to that our long list of techcentric operators who span the globe from Oregon, Silicon Valley and New England to Latvia, Germany and Greece. Our systems administrators, network engineers, Web developers and cryptologists are the true door kickers as I’ve now turned in my rifle and body armor to fulfill a supporting role. Q: What else would you like the SOF community to know? A: Silent Circle provides a top quality service that alleviates an ever-increasing need. You may have nothing to hide; I’m practically an open book myself, but I do enjoy the ability to walk out into the woods, find a nice flat rock, and have some peace and quiet. In today’s world where we are so connected at all times to so many people and networks, whether wittingly or unwittingly, it’s great to know you can still send a message that doesn’t have to be available via search engine 20 years from now. Whether you’re collaborating with your team on a multi-million dollar contract or checking in at home while forward deployed, Silent Circle gives you the privacy you deserve while minimizing the risk you’ve had to accept until now. O

Next Issue

March 2014 Volume 12, Issue 2

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III Commander SOCPAC Special Section TALOS Development U.S. Special Operations Command is sifting through proposals and white papers on tactical light operator suit (TALOS) development. The Iron Man-type suit was announced as a broad agency announcement in the fall, and traditional military industry partners along with academia, entrepreneurs and laboratories are working to make it a reality.

Features ISR in the Pacific The re-balance to the Pacific has brought the U.S. back to familiar territory, but armed with some fancy new tools. We look at how technology that matured in the desert will continue to be effective in the littorals.

UGVs From identifying IEDs to drawing fire from the enemy, unmanned ground vehicles, big and small, are aiding operators in achieving mission success and reducing casualties.

Diver Gear Sometimes operating at the tip of the spear means getting wet. No matter how rough the waters or how deep a SEAL needs to operate within them, 2014 has fins, boots, masks and more to come.

Tactical Headsets In certain situations, an operator will hear an approaching target before it’s seen. To relay that information to a teammate in water, the air or a vehicle, SOF teams need the latest in combat communications.

Insertion Order Deadline: February 18, 2014 • Ad Materials Deadline: February 25, 2014

Next-generation, Multi-INT Capability… Seamless space, air, and ground layers Scale from tactical edge to global enterprise and cloud Ops/Intel convergence (C2 and PED) Universal access to real-time, actionable intelligence Cross-agency/cross-domain security

Cross-platform Interoperability... Browser-based/thin client DoD/NATO standards compliant Plug-and-play interoperability with common platforms and systems Deploy in any computing environment from tablets to ops center Open architecture/web services

Acquisition and Operating Cost Compatibility… Deploy at a fraction of the cost of alternative or existing solutions Zero-cost technology transition assessment Quick to integrate, train, and deploy Remote operations and maintenance Ongoing dedication to increase automation and reduce manpower

Ageon ISR

Whether you’re planning a new program or challenged to maintain an existing one, Ageon ISR stands ready to support your mission. Next-generation capability, painless transition and increased mission flexibility all within today’s budget? Ageon ISR makes it possible.

Call or email today to discuss how Ageon ISR can support your mission. Stephen St. Mary I 617-517-3210 I

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