TAMPA, Florida – Special operations experts are looking for ways to untie much of their equipment, from going beyond radio frequencies to visiting institutions like NASA for logistics lessons in tight locations.

These were some of the priorities set by program managers for different portfolios of US Special Operations Command this week at the Special Operations Forces Industrial Conference, organized by the National Defense Industrial Association in Florida.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, David Breed, program executive officer for the command’s special intelligence office, said SOCOM wanted to break away from radio frequencies. This move will allow the systems to operate independently in contested communication environments.

“From GPS satellites to command and control, how do I work completely in an unrelated way?” Said Breed.

Over the last two decades, radio frequencies have been open, and it has been unusual for those that have been deployed to experience extensive jamming or interception. This is not the case when confronting more advanced adversaries such as Russia or China, as opposed to terrorist organizations.

Media reports and official statements in recent years have noted widespread silence in Syria near Russian forces.

“It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s not something we can do right now,” Breed said of the unrelated concept.

The special intelligence group is also focusing on adding autonomy to its systems, especially drones. These systems are small to avoid detection. Breed and his team are striving for “portable autonomy” to give operators software and control algorithms for different devices; thus, even if they are jammed through traditional radio frequency channels, they can still function.

But there are trade-offs with small drones.

“It gets harder and harder when you do the really small things,” Breed said. If designers add more features to what’s already on the platform, he added, then something else usually has to go.

“Whether it’s the time at the station, whether it’s speed or other payload on board,” he explained.

And this is a major initiative of the head of SOCOM, General Richard Clark, who said in a separate event on Tuesday that the command will get rid of disposable drones.

The forces have needed drones for reconnaissance, reconnaissance and reconnaissance missions for the past two decades. But the next generation of drones needs to do more, he said.

Getting artificial intelligence on platforms will help, said Breed, which is in line with Clark’s other main goal: the SOCOM data strategy.

“That absolutely goes back to the data,” Clark said. “Something number one. [Artificial intelligence] is great, but if we don’t get the data and extract it [are] I can look for it, it’s not worth it. “

This greatly helps battlefield commanders to see, feel and shoot with the right information, he added.

Of course, detection and shooting are key, but what about ground operators?

Army Colonel Joseph Blanton, executive director of the Command Support Service program, reiterated the topic of Breed’s non-alignment as he spoke to a reporter, saying his team was looking at casual logistics.

And they don’t rediscover the wheel. Although Blanton did not specify specific communications, he said that the provision of key equipment, equipment, materials and supplies in strict places has been done before.

“So historically you think you have a backpack, a few days of supplies on your back; and on some days, when that disappears, you have to replenish yourself, ”Blanton said.

And this replenishment must come from somewhere. “How do you extend this initial period of time so that operators stay ahead, unconnected from a larger supply network?” Blanton said.

The colonel said that exploring outer space and operations carried out by other agencies could teach lessons.

“We are trying to understand this space, unbound logistics, limited supply class at the tactical end,” Blanton said.

Todd South has written about crime, the courts, the government and the military in numerous publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Finalist for a joint witness intimidation project. Todd is a veteran of the Marines in the Iraq war.


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