GORE

Archive for the ‘Disruptive Tech’ Category

SOFWERX Seeks SR SMEs

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Do you have experience working with autonomous mobile robots, various drone swarm control methodologies or UXS swarms? Apply by 07 June to be a Subject Matter Expert for the SOF Special Reconnaissance Rapid Prototyping Event on 08-12 July! 10 experts will be selected to attend and receive a stipend. Visit www.sofwerx.org/specialrecon for more information. ?
?

Top 10 Takeaways from US Army’s Mad Scientist Initiative Meeting

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Over the weekend we mentioned the US Army’s meeting of futurists. Here are the top 10 takeaway from that meeting.

“Top Ten” Takeaways from the Disruption and the Operational Environment Conference

1) The Army is having an “Own the Night” moment. It has the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over adversaries who have spent large amounts of capital and effort on gaining overmatch in niche areas like Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) and anti-tank capabilities. The Army can “Own Unmanned and Autonomous Warfare.” There is a sweet spot in man-machine teaming that can limit vulnerabilities and strengthen cognition, awareness, and proficiency in dense urban environments.

2) Setting norms in AI/autonomy may accelerate development as researchers and programmers have defined left and right boundaries. Currently, uncertainty and lack of clarity are causing delays and trepidation in their development. If the DoD establishes the absolute boundaries of its AI and autonomy policies, it can streamline R&D, S&T, and acquisition / modernization. However, setting firm left and right boundaries does present some risk — with reduced development and asymmetry in adversarial AI development and implementation.

3) Artificial Intelligence and Trust. Successfully incorporating AI into Army formations to gain and maintain competitive advantage over adversaries in an increasingly contested OE will require bridging the gap between AI and humans by establishing trust. A true man-machine relationship plays a critical component in this process. Professional Military Education should improve tech literacy in the areas of AI, robotics, and autonomy, and introduce critical thinking earlier, producing an officer corps that can interact with AI decision-making tools and understand its limitations and vulnerabilities.

4) The Increased Crowding of Space will Create Operational Challenges for the US Army: A maneuver Brigade Combat Team has over 2,500 pieces of equipment dependent on space-based assets for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) and Low Earth Space is cluttered with satellites, debris, and thousands of pieces of refuse. This is worsened by a growing space community with over 90 spacefaring countries and companies such as Amazon, Google, and Alibaba racing to capitalize on a potential space boom in the 2020s. The U.S. military will need to determine how to operate in space amongst increasing traffic and potentially non-attributable nefarious space tampering and attack where total space visibility and situational awareness is not possible.

5) Technology forecasting helps us understand what is probable, but with proper planning based on this insight, we can begin to determine what is necessary and influence development and investment. This must be partnered with an agile procurement process that can rapidly adjust to changing technological circumstances, rather than continue to spend money on near-obsolete multi-year exquisite platforms.

6) Scaling up technology in the military may necessitate a change to the ways in which they are developed. The rapidity of technological advancement may force development of whole systems – counter to current acquisition processes – rather than individual technology segments.

7) Disposable versus Exquisite: Current thinking espouses technologically advanced and expensive weapons platforms over disposable ones, which brings with it an aversion to employ these exquisite platforms in contested domains and an inability to rapidly reconstitute them. In large-scale ground combat operations with a peer competitor, the ability to reconstitute will be imperative. The Army (and larger DoD) may need to shift away from large and expensive systems to cheap, scalable, and potentially even disposable unmanned systems.

8) Leveraging Allies in Fielding Future Technology:  International Joint projects with our allies have benefits in cost-sharing, interoperability, and fostering cultural diversity in the development of crucial, complex technologies. Just as NASA collaborated with a variety of international partners for its Europa Clipper mission, so to could the U.S. Army when it comes to AI and autonomous warfare, as well as quantum information sciences, hypersonics, and directed energy weapons.

9) The Army should expand its learning beyond past combat actions and open
the aperture to lessons learned from organizations outside DoD.
The current Army Learning Enterprise captures important information from exercises and combat operations, but doesn’t include research from civilian organizations. NASA’s experience with degraded communications during the Mars Rover mission and robotic disaster relief during the Fukushima cleanup and Hurricane Harvey are incredible resources for Army capability developers, organization designers, and Leaders developing techniques and procedures for technology integration to mine and apply to force modernization efforts. The Army should aggressively pursue and incorporate lessons learned from non-DoD agencies and industry regarding disruptive technologies that have direct military implications.

10) The Changing Nature of Information Warfare: The prevalent and growing presence of fake news, data, and information, coupled with deep fakes, hyperconnectivity, and global economic intertwining changes the nature of conventional information warfare. This new era of information warfare will require increasingly potent algorithms to recognize and defend against false and transfigured information while leveraging the strength of human-tech partnerships in all domains to portray an accurate and trusted common operational picture.

If you would like to learn more about this conference, the agenda and biographies of each of the presenters are here on the Mad Scientist APAN site, while videos of each of the conference presentations can be viewed here on the TRADOC G-2 OE Enterprise YouTube Channel…

Article from Headquarters, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) which co-sponsored the Mad Scientist Disruption and the Operational Environment Conference with the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) on 24-25 April 2019 in Austin, Texas. World-class presenters addressed robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy, the future of space, planetary habitability, and the legal and ethical dilemmas surrounding how these disruptive technologies will impact the future of warfare, specifically in the land and space domains.  The following post captures the Mad Scientist Initiative’s “top ten” takeaways from this conference.

Mad Scientist Initiative Helps Illustrate ‘Realm of the Possible’

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

FORT MEADE, Md. — In the distant future, teams of Soldiers equipped with high-powered exoskeletons disembark a series of autonomous personnel carriers outside the enemy’s position. Overhead, a small fleet of drones scans the engagement area, giving each Soldier a real-time view of the battlefield through their heads-up display.

As each team moves into position, they hear a series of explosions on the other side of the enemy base. From over 2,000 meters away, the Army’s high-energy precision fires systems have just disabled the enemy’s anti-access and area-denial capabilities.

At the same time, teams of Soldiers use their exoskeleton suits to leap over the perimeter wall to engage the enemy and secure the compound.

This is one scenario of a future operating environment. In reality, it is nearly impossible to predict how the Army will operate and fight in a distant future, said Matt Santaspirt, an Army Futures Command intelligence representative.

To guide the Army in the right direction, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Mad Scientist team functions like a scout on the battlefield, always looking ahead and evaluating ideas to help build the force, he said.

Nested within both Army Futures and Training and Doctrine Commands, the MadSci initiative was created to address opportunities and challenges in the Army’s near-, mid-, and far-term future, said Allison Winer, the team’s deputy director of engagement.

The goal is to maximize the Army’s limited resources and help Soldiers fight and win in a futuristic operational environment, she added.

“The Army only knows what it knows; and [the Army] always talks to itself,” Santaspirt said. “We want to break out of that echo chamber.”

“We are harnessing the intellect of the nation to describe the art of the possible,” he added. “We know that you can’t predict the future, but we’re trying to say, ‘Here is a range of possibilities.’ [The goal] is to be less wrong than our adversary.”

To accomplish this goal, the MadSci team compiles information from a wide range of sources, in support of Army senior leaders’ priorities, Santaspirt said.

These sources include traditional mediums: academia, industry, think tanks, labs, reports, and white papers; to the more nontraditional platforms: crowdsourcing, social media, science fiction, and cinema, to name a few.

Beyond the collection of materials, the MadSci team often organizes themed conferences, bringing communities together to address key Army topics. For example, the team recently conducted the Mad Scientist Disruption and the Future Operational Environment Conference in Austin, Texas.

During the conference, presenters addressed robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomy, the future of space, planetary habitability, and the legal and ethical dilemmas surrounding how these disruptive technologies will impact the future of warfare, specifically in the land and space domains, according to MadSci officials.

“We had somebody come in and talk about robotics and how we can use them in an austere environment,” Santaspirt said, adding there were specific examples of robotics used in Fukushima, Japan.

“The approach is to bring together experts … so we can refine those key ideas, and disrupt [the Army’s] assumptions,” he said.

A week after the event, the team posted some key takeaways from the conference on the Mad Scientist Blog. The MadSci blog and other social media platforms are often used as a crowdsourcing tool to help poll an audience or generate conversation about key Army topics, Winer said.

Some of the conference findings included: a need to set left and right boundaries for artificial intelligence and autonomy, increased crowding of assets in space will cause operational challenges, and fake news coupled with hyper-connectivity is changing the nature of information warfare.

Additionally, the MadSci team organizes science fiction writing competitions to help determine possible futures for crucial Army programs, Winer said. For years, science fiction has depicted worlds that are both logically possible, but functionally different than current society.

“Science fiction is used as a kind of forecasting to see what possible futures might look like,” she said. “Aside from being just plain-on cool, it gives the Army a way to use storytelling, historical analysis, and outsourcing to write about the realm of the possible. And it is an effective tool for a lot of businesses and other leaders in industry to try.”

Through their research and continual online engagements, the MadSci team creates a range of possibilities, then later presents their findings to Army senior leaders and key decision makers, Santaspirt said.

“It is a different way of thinking,” Santaspirt said. “If [the Army] can get that out there and start meeting the right people, make certain decisions or investments, or get people thinking in a different way … you might see what we’ve discovered — as it comes to light down the road.”

Mad Scientist Initiative Website

Mad Scientist Initiative videos

By Devon L. Suits, Army News Service

Photos by Peggy Frierson & Mad Science Initiative

SOFIC 19 – 300 PRC Gas Gun Proof Of Concept by CMC Triggers

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

With DoD interest in 300 PRC for use as a Precision fire cartridge, CMC Triggers wondered if it could be used in a gas operated rifle. So far, all of the weapons to fire this cartridge have been bolt guns.

This is a sneak peek of the proof of concept CMC put together. Based on an AR design, they wanted to see if it could be done and how it would impact the accessories they make, like triggers and bolt carrier groups. They have no plans to place this into production.

Nikola Reckless

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

SOFWERX partnered with Nikola, Planck, Profense and AimLock to create the Nikola Reckless. This technology is a weaponized, remotely piloted vehicle for exploration of man-machine teaming.

The Reckless goes from 0-60 MPH in four seconds flat thanks to its four independant electric motors which directly drive each wheel. This also means it will still get you or your payload there, even if one motor is damaged. Additionally, it has a low thermal signature thanks to its refrigerant cooling system.

Special Warfare TISC Opens Doors to Solve Tomorrow’s Problems, Dedicated to ST Founder

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) — The Special Warfare Technical Integration Support Center opened its doors during a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Jan. 11, as the newly named Col. John T. Carney Center of Excellence.

With the name of “Coach,” Carney embodied within the 25,000-square-foot facility, the roots of special tactics aim to inspire employees of the SW-TISC every day.

“Every special tactics leader strives to give their men the best equipment and training to fight our enemies,” said Col. Spencer Cocanour, 24th Special Operations Wing vice wing commander. “Coach Carney pushed the envelope to get the very best for his people. He fought the bureaucracy with the same ferocity he fought the enemy.”

The wearable communication equipment that special tactics operators carry in the field needs to be the best that the Department of Defense can offer to fight tonight and tomorrow’s battles and this starts with the work of the men and women within the SW-TISC.

“This building is unique It will bring together a diverse group of professionals with different backgrounds to collaborate, develop, test, field and operationalize concepts to maintain our competitive edge,” said Brig. Gen. William Holt, the Air Force Special Operations Command special assistant to the commander. “This rapid response integration will create a tangible repeatable innovation rhythm to reduce the timeline from innovative concept to operational implementation.”

With the National Defense Strategy of 2018 outlining the Department of Defense objectives to include delivering performance with affordability and speed, the SW-TISC will aid AFSOC by streamlining development to fielding.

“The TISC will push the envelope on fielding technology,” Cocanour said. “That means placing cutting edge technology into the hands of the most lethal special operators this nation has ever produced.”

By integrating technologies, ensuring interoperability and providing appropriate updates and training on the equipment used in the 24 SOW, special tactics operators are able to answer U.S. Special Operations Command’s call to deliver tactical air-to-ground integration and conduct global access, precision strike, personnel recovery, and battlefield surgery operations.

“There’s a SOF principle of the hyper enabled operator that is a highly trained individual with elite skills, but they also have a network of systems on them that they wear and that they interact with,” said Todd Weiser, the chief technology officer and director of innovations with AFSOC. “The future is that operator is going to have the ability with their kit to inter-operate with an F-35 [Lightning II], with an F-22 [Raptor], with an Army vehicle. That network, the sharing of information and internet of things, micro sensors, micro small unmanned aircraft system; all of that stuff is coming together.”

As a special tactics officer with years of experience in the field and operations, Lt. Col. Eli Mitchell, the branch chief of special tactics requirements with AFSOC, sees tomorrow’s battle requiring a more accurate and efficient way of delivering capabilities.

“(The SW-TISC) is a game changer — really what it does is speeds up bombs on targets and increases situational awareness on the battlefield,” Mitchell said. “You’re talking about reducing the potential for fratricide, increasing target engagement timelines and also increasing your munitions effectiveness by more precisely striking the appropriate target.”

By evolving for tomorrow’s fight, the special tactics enterprise is leading from the front with technology and equipment used on the battlefield on a global scale within the Air Force, SOCOM, and the DOD.

“The world’s more complex than it ever has been and it’s continuously getting more complex and we need to get ahead of it in a timely manner,” Wieser said. “That’s what this facility will help us do, get ahead of it so that we can compete with our near peers as well as other adversaries.”

Holt left the most recent addition to the AFSOC team with some motivations to do exactly what Air Commandos are known for; thinking outside the box.

“You are in the business of making the impossible, possible. Your mission is to get out of the box,” Holt said. “When someone tells you it’s impossible, double down to prove them wrong. Never forget there is always a way.”

By Senior Airman Joseph Pick, 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

goTenna Releases goTenna Pro X, an Open Platform, Interoperable Tactical Mesh Networking Device

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

goTenna Pro X extends situational awareness capabilities for the professional sector

BROOKLYN, NY (March. 28, 2019) — goTenna, the world’s leading mobile mesh networking company, today released goTenna Pro X, a tactical-grade device that enables scalable mobile mesh networking and total situational awareness for professionals in the field. goTenna Pro X is designed to be used with the world’s leading situational awareness applications as well as open platform ecosystems.

goTenna Pro X used with situational awareness applications supports the efforts of military, law enforcement, wildland firefighters, and disaster response teams, when no service is not an option. goTenna Pro X builds on the functionality of Pro and enables seamless integration with other Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux applications. Current applications include ATAK and AGIS LifeRing with several more in development.

Today’s release builds on the success of goTenna Pro, the company’s tactical-grade mesh networking device that launched in June 2018. Developed by the Department of Defense, the ATAK app is used to support complex communication and coordination needs of more than 100,000 customers worldwide, including the military, Air Force, Army, Special Operations, National Guard, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Developed by AGIS Inc., LifeRing allows users to easily and rapidly establish secure ad hoc digital networks that include all within a selected range.

“goTenna Pro X extends the edge of mission-critical connectivity, enabling operators’ phones to create a resilient peer-to-peer mesh mobile network,” said Daniela Perdomo, goTenna’s co-founder and CEO. “Users can more effectively command and control their missions by remaining connected and contextually aware even in comms-denied environments.”

Smartphones with specialized tactical mapping applications are vital equipment for today’s tactical operators to maintain real-time situational awareness. As seen in the recent spike of climate-related natural disasters, however, responders cannot rely on centralized cellular or wifi connectivity to communicate.

“During the 2018 wildfire season, goTenna Pro X units proved invaluable for communications among our crews and the sharing of vital incident information including personnel location, escape routes and temporary refuge areas,” said Ari Delay, La Honda, CA Fire Chief. “goTenna Pro X was easy to integrate with Tablet Command, the application our crews already use, enhancing operational capability, enabling command and control, and improving responder safety.”

From the Camp Fire in California to Hurricane Michael in Florida, vulnerabilities in central communications infrastructure were exposed. In 2018 alone, traditional communications failed tactical teams due to damage cables and fibers and even data throttling by carriers. Critical failures and loss of service for extended periods of time, compounded with the ever-present threat of cyberattacks, make the front lines where first responders operate particularly susceptible to danger.

To combat this vulnerability, experienced tactical teams including the U.S. military, CALFIRE, and the Texas Department of Public Safety have turned to goTenna for its mesh networking devices and software that enable smartphone connectivity independent of traditional communications infrastructure.

Developed for military and public safety applications, goTenna Pro X is packed with a suite of powerful features:
? Mesh Networking: Users can extend signals through other devices to expand network reach
? 5-Watt RF Transmissions: Power to perform in the most extreme environments
? Tunable: Operate on any frequencies in the 142-175 MHz (VHF) & 445-480 MHz (UHF) ranges
? Advanced Encryption: Up to 384 ECC end-to-end Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) encryption
? Extended Battery Life: Lasts up to 30 hours on a single charge
? ATAK Plug-in: compatible with the leading situational awareness mobile app developed by the DoD.
? goTenna Pro Team Awareness App: includes goTenna’s native app for off-grid situational awareness

How goTenna Pro X Works  
goTenna Pro X combines long-range burst data transmitted over VHF/UHF with iOS and Android devices. Even when unpaired to a smartphone, goTenna Pro X can serve as a multi-hop mesh node for all other Pro X devices – eliminating or reducing the need for base stations and repeaters.

The pocket-sized device pairs to a smartphone via Bluetooth or USB, and all data is displayed in the smartphone application.

Pro X is priced at $849, which includes one mesh-networking radio, the user’s choice of UHF or VHF antenna, the goTenna Pro Team Awareness App, ATAK plug-in (if required) and unlimited service user accounts for field administration and configuration of the Pro X

Pro X Deployment Kits are also available priced at $24,999 per kit. Deployment Kits come standard with 20 Pro X devices, and can charge and maintain up to 30 all in one rugged tactical briefcase. At 25 pounds, Deployment Kits can be easily be transported and deployed anywhere in the world.

Professional users interested in learning more about goTenna Pro X can request more information by visiting gotennapro.com.

About goTenna:

goTenna is the world’s leading mobile mesh networking company and provider of off-grid connectivity solutions for smartphones and other devices. goTenna’s innovative mesh networking protocol is embedded into low-cost, low-power devices and paired with easy-to-use mobile apps enabling mobile, long-range connectivity even without cell, wifi or satellite. The goTenna vision to create resilient connectivity was ignited during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when approximately a third of cell towers and power stations were knocked out. Based in Brooklyn, goTenna is backed by notable investors including Union Square Ventures, Walden Venture Capital, MentorTech Ventures, BBG Ventures (a subsidiary of Verizon), and Bloomberg Beta. For more information, visit gotenna.com.

About ATAK:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) deployed the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) to support the complex communication and coordination needs of the multi-jurisdictional responders. ATAK is one of those game-changers that dramatically alters the user’s understanding of the action in any given area of operation (AO). A government-off-the-shelf app for Android smartphone, ATAK is available to all government agencies for free. The app uses GPS and maps to give the user a real-time view of the AO. This new situational awareness capability includes “Blue Force Tracking” to see where team members are (which reduces friendly fire incidents and helps with coordinating movements), “Red Force Tracking” to see where the bad guys are (obvious advantages), as well as terrain, weather, and other topographical elements. ATAK gives operators in the field a dramatically enhanced real-time situational awareness. It provides them with enterprise information sharing capabilities that will further increase safety, collaboration and mission successes. For more information or to request a copy, visit atakmap.com.

About LifeRing

LifeRing software enables Smartphone, Tablet and PC users to easily and rapidly establish secure ad hoc digital networks that include all within a selected range. Once the AGIS LifeRing Smartphone Icon is selected, LifeRing appears on screen as a map based display. This display provides all on the network with “a sense of where you are”, allowing all users to easily see their present location while enabling them to view the location and status of all other users. Once the visual is in place, LifeRing then provides the means to collaborate, and communicate via PTT, Text Messaging and Voice. The exchange of information occurs in real-time between the participants. For more information, visit agisinc.com/lifering.

USSOCOM Awards Contract to Sarcos Robotics for Delivery of Full-Body, Autonomously Powered Robotic Exoskeleton

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY and BELLEVUE, Wash. – March 18, 2019 – Today, Sarcos Robotics, a global leader in robotic systems that augment, rather than replace humans working in the industrial, public safety and military sectors, announced that it has been awarded a contract by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to deliver a pre-production version of its Guardian™ XO® (“XO”) full-body, autonomously powered robotic exoskeleton. The XO is capable of operating for up to eight hours per battery charge, while walking at three miles per hour and carrying up to 200 pounds of payload. With the ability to “hot swap” rechargeable batteries in the field, XO run-time is essentially unlimited.

The USSOCOM XO contract follows Sarcos’ recent announcements regarding collaborations with both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy to develop and evaluate variations of the Guardian™ XO® for use cases specific to these services. With 17 years of development efforts and more than $175 million invested in R&D, Sarcos has been laser-focused on ensuring the Guardian XO Max is safe, intuitive and power efficient. Sarcos recently shared significant power and performance enhancements to the XO, including significant improvements in power consumption, control system functionality and load transfer.