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Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

Thunderstorm Technology Demonstration Program – Support for Small Unit Operations

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The Thunderstorm Technology Demonstration Program is sponsored by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Emerging Capability & Prototyping, Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO).


The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the warfighter by demonstrating and experimenting with the capability in an operationally relevant environment. The results of this effort will be used to inform decision makers of emerging and available technology solutions that enhance or improve existing capabilities with a focus on small unit operations.

They are soliciting technology candidates from private industry, government research and development (R&D) organizations and academia for inclusion in future capability demonstration and experimentation events focused on the support for small unit operations. Technologies must be at a technology readiness level (TRL) of 4 or greater.

Thunderstorm 18-1 will be the first of a series of FY18 planned events in support of small unit operations, with demonstrations and experiments planned for March 2018 at or near Fort Bragg, NC.

The notional scenario is a small team is deployed for an operation in a potentially hostile region. The team is lightly equipped and required to be highly mobile to support the mission requirements. The operational area may have a variety of physical and electromagnetic environmental constraints. The team is required at all times to operate in all types of terrains (desert, forest, mountain, open, urban, etc.), vegetation (desert, grassland, brush, forest, etc.) and in all environmental conditions.

The program is interested in the following capabilities:

• Wireless tactical headsets for improved tactical communications: resistant to jamming, secure, use within vehicle and with dismounted personnel.

• Power for individual and squads – battery longevity: wearable power generation/harvesting technologies, proximity charging, next generation batteries for Soldier and squads (potential combination of battery & body armor); power management tools (analytics/AI to decide when/how each item is powered for max efficiency).

• Goggle or helmet mounted heads-up display – capability to improve Situational Awareness (SA), Augmented Reality (AR), etc.:

o Display of networked information (sensor display(s), mapping, alerts, etc.), networked to command center, identification of persons of interest;

• Sensor technologies providing enhanced SA – next generation night vision, see through walls, see around corners/over roofs, ID/alert potential threats (predictive analysis), 360° awareness/vision, see through smoke & other obscurants, magnification, stand-off biometrics, etc.

• Sniper training platform – augmented reality and/or virtual reality system for maintaining sniper training.

• Robotic technologies & automation – improved operations thru unmanned systems, automated processes, etc.: support/improve decision making, reduce number of personnel required for mission, remove person from dangerous jobs, e.g. possible CBRNE threats.

o Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) – small, light, man-portable, tactical systems operating autonomously/semi-autonomously; modular payloads to support multiple missions, all terrains.

• Small unit Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) – ability to operate in buildings or tight spaces

• Covert UAS – stealth to perform surveillance and reconnaissance missions without attracting unwanted attention due to its visual and/or acoustic properties; small UASs (Group 1 (0-20 lb.) and Group 2 (21-55 lb.)) that can be launched and recovered without the use of a runway.

• Personnel signature management – textiles/material to manage signature of radar, electronic, thermal, infrared, visual, electro-optical, and acoustic detection technologies. Alter or camouflage aspects of the operator or their equipment to make them undetectable and/or unrecognizable.

• Soldier down/medical alert – person in need of medical care, reports medical condition/status, contains pertinent medical records.

o Ability to scan personnel (with associated wearable technology or leads as required).

o Ability to determine Soldier workload, hydration, heartrate, blood pressure, temperature, and other vital health indicators to support Soldier efficiency and “The Golden Hour” from injury to medical support.

• Multispectral beacon – non-signals ability to quickly identify all personnel and their positions in all weather and climate conditions; providing positive identification to overhead close air support.

• Security for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) apps – ability to utilize standard apps with an encryption level to support communications with Partner Nation Force (PNF).

• Cellphones teamed with HF/VHF transceivers – ability to send text and other data (encrypted) from a cellphone over an HF / VHF transceiver.

• Tactical hotspot or denied area internet – providing LTE and Wi-Fi and an information gateway in a denied environment.

• PNF communications and sensor control systems using indigenous commercial systems – exfiltration of secure data (AES encryption) from PNF via commercial system; data pulled, viewed and heard in real-time.

• Suppressed weapon system – accurate fires providing quieter, less flash, reduced recoil, lighter, stronger system.

• Lensless cameras – lightweight systems that do not require mechanical movement to capture images.

• LED LIDAR – lightweight systems that can provide near range measurements.

All capabilities should emphasize individual mobility and automated operations with a goal of limiting/reducing size, weight, power, etc. and reducing or eliminating operator workload requirements.

Although the date on FBO has passed to accept applications, the KO will take additional applications until 1700EST Friday, 5 Jan 18.

For instructions on how to apply, visit

MILDEP Brings SOF Perspective to Acquisition Strategy to Deliver Now

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

By John Higgins, PEO IEW&S Public Affairs, December 29, 2017

On Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., Program Executive Officer Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S) joined by members of other PEO’s: Command Control Communications — Tactical (PEO C3T) and Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA) along with Joint Program Executive Office Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO Chem Bio) hosted Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, the Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, for his Acquisition Streamline & Culture Initiatives brief, Dec. 20, 2107. (Photo Credit: John Higgins)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Program Executive Officer Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S) joined by members of other PEOs: Command Control Communications — Tactical and Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives along with Joint Program Executive Office Chemical and Biological Defense hosted Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, the Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), for his Acquisition Streamline & Culture Initiatives brief.

Ostrowski’s whirlwind tour took him to Huntsville, Ala., for time with PEO Aviation and PEO Missiles & Space, then it was off to Warren, Mich., home of PEO Ground Combat Systems and PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support.

The purpose of the tour was to meet with Army Acquisition professionals and discuss plans for the future.

Ostrowski certainly had a plan. It’s a rare thing when a speaker can be said to be “electrifying” in the field of acquisition.

“We’ve been so brain washed in a way,” Ostrowski said to a well-attended auditorium, “to follow processes and that those processes were more important than product, which has put us in a position where we no longer than keep up with the threat and we no longer can keep up with the advances in technology with the speed at which they are turning.”

In Special Operations fashion, Ostrowski directly offered to “fly high cover,” saying “I’ve got your back. Because it’s on me. Which is exactly where I want to be, because we have got to change this thing.”

The first part of these dramatic plans actually began almost a year ago with the Section 809 Panel, assembled specifically to assess acquisition and identify areas of improvement. They presented their initial findings to the Armed Services committee in May of 2017.

Their fifty page paper ended with this conclusion:
“All these events exact a toll on the morale of the acquisition workforce. At some point people, motivated by their desire to serve the country and the men and women defending it, feel frustrated in their efforts to make a difference and do not feel empowered with respect to work processes. The workforce deserves a better system.”

To find that better system, Ostrowski directed his team to “Go to the Navy: they got this thing called an ACAT [Acquisition Category] IV, I want to know all the things about what an ACAT IV is and whether or not we can use something like that in our Army.”
An Acquisition Category IV was exclusive to the Navy and Marines until very recently. It designates either testing or monitoring of a product. Further, those ACAT IV items will be directly managed at the Colonel (O-6) or Civilian GS-15 level.

“I also said, ‘Look, I want you to go to SOCOM and I want to you pull up a thing called a SAMP, a Simplified Acquisition Management Plan,” Ostrowski continued. “Right now one size shoe fits all, weather you’re at ACAT I or ACAT III, in our Army? The documentation isn’t substantially different.”

A SAMP contains acquisition strategy, logistic support plan and a testing plan in roughly ten pages. The reason for this is the paper work is required by law, the there is no specified length.

Ostrowski pointed out that there are waivers that would allow Acquisition personnel to tailor their paperwork, not just to the military requirement but how an item is created and what its intended purpose will be. The issue, he said, was it was easier to do something the “process” way, then to get permission to do it the “product” way.

“That’s why I had to do a Corrosion Prevention Control Plan for a combat shirt. In case you’re wondering, a combat shirt doesn’t have any metal on it at all. It’s just cloth. But I signed it! Because it was easier to that than to ask for a waiver!”

Ostrowski then launched into a comprehensive plan that would allow for a greater degree of customization across the board in acquisition strategies. Ostrowski also addressed testing, and how to hold industry partners accountable to a greater degree of initial functionality, but also a greater degree of long-term improvement. That also means communicating with industry partners on their level, the lieutenant said. “We have to bring the testing community into acquisition reform,” he said continuing, “Acquisition is a team sport.”

A key element of this, is “fly before you buy,” and “buy down risk.” Ostrowski said. This means that rather than rush a product to Milestone B where there is a greater oversight for development, project managers should utilize a more deliberate process to eliminate as much risk as possible before entering the next Milestone gate. Ostrowski said that while this will cost us time in the short term, it will save us time and money in the long term.

These reforms are even more necessary now, as The Army now owns 835 programs, with Integrated Air Missile Defense, Lower Tier Missile Defense and Future Vertical lift the only three programs still under the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Ostrowski identified an ambitious plan, however, he made it clear that he had put in the work to make it happen and would continue to put in the effort to do so.

“You have equipped the most lethal, the most force protected and the most situational aware Army that has ever walked the face of this earth.” Ostrowski said, reflecting on the accomplishments of the PEO community. “You should be very proud of what it is that you have done.”

USSOCOM Awards Revision Contract To Develop Advanced Technology Demonstration Helmet

Friday, December 29th, 2017

Even as USSOCOM continues to evaluate industry proposals for their next Family of Tactical Headborne Systems, the command’s Science & Technology arm awarded an 18-month, $1,813,065 contract to develop Advanced Technology Demonstration Helmet. The award is based upon USSOCOM-BAAST-2015 Appendix J, Amendment 14 published on April 20, 2017 under the BAA’s area of interest, Topic 4.4 Optical Electronics. In July 2016, Revision was awarded a similar contract for the advancement of headborne systems technologies.


During AUSA, Revision previewed their Sensys technology which serves as a platform to integrate new helmet and body worn technologies such as augmented reality and conformal power sources.

The Yarborough Knife

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

The Yarborough knife, aka The Green Beret Knife.


Soldiers graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course were presented The Yarborough knife along with their Green Beret, beginning in August 2002.

The knives were initially “issued” to graduates and signed for on a “hand receipt”, making them government property. According to myth, legend , and folklore, this made them illegal to re-sell. You rarely see a Yarborough for sale.

Today, graduates must purchase their knife through the SF Museum. You may only purchase one. Each knife is serial numbered and that number kept on record.

Chris Reeve’s Knives manufactures the Yarborough and also makes a civilian version minus the ‘Yarborough’ and serial number engraving on the blade.

The Yarborough knife, a combat field knife specifically designed by renowned knife maker William Harsey – which serves as a link to the brotherhood of unconventional warriors.

Blade Length: 7.0″
Cutting Edge: 6.25″
Handle Length: 5.375″
Overall Length: 12.375″

Info via Special Forces Association Chapter LX

USSOCOM Seeks MultiCaliber, Advanced Sniper Rifle

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has released a pre-solicitation for the Advanced Sniper Rifle, a replacment for their currently issued Precision Sniper Rifle. Additionally, SOCOM’s Directorate of Procurement, on behalf of USSOCOM PEO-SW, will be conducting a one-on-one industry day for the ASR on 5-7 December, at NSWC Crane.

The most significant requirement for this bolt action rifle requirment is that the weapon must be capable of firing 7.62 NATO, 300 Norma Mag (seen below) and 338 NM, with calibers swapped by the user.

The government has a Technical Data Package for the two NM cartridges. However, in order to provide a cost efficient option that is more conducive to industry development, the 338NM cartridge will be available with a surrogate OTM (non-AP) projectile by Black Hills Ammunition. While different than the USG’s selected projectile in construction and geometry, this surrogate configuration has been shown to closely replicate the interior and exterior ballistic performance of the USG AP 338NM configuration with the exception of barrel life. The anti-materiel configuration with the actual AP projectile will also be available to eligible parties albeit at significantly longer lead-times and costs.

Another important aspect is that the solicitation is 100% set aside for small business, as ASR has been determined to be a Commercial Off The Shelf item. Interestingly, the government reserves the right to issue more than ome award.

Interested parties should visit for additional details.

“GSG 9 The special operations unit of the Federal Police: Germany’s spearhead in the fight against terrorism”

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

My friend Dr Jan-Phillipp Weisswange has teamed up with Sören Sünkler to present the new book, “GSG 9. The special operations unit of the Federal Police – Germany’s spearhead in the fight against terrorism”, available from


The photographs are excellent and the book includes English text, so don’t shy away because of language concerns.


He offered me this description of the book:

Producing an illustrated volume aimed at introducing today’s GSG 9 to a wider public is undoubtedly among the highpoints in any specialized journalist’s career. It has been an honour and a pleasure to turn this project into reality. On 16th October 2017, Sören Sünkler (my publisher, producer and co-author) and me have had the great honour to presenting the very first copy of our book “GSG 9. The special operations unit of the Federal Police – Germany’s spearhead in the fight against terrorism” to the unit’s commander, Colonel Jerome Fuchs. Now the book is available on the market finally!

The core task of GSG 9 is the fight against terrorism and other forms of serious and violent crime. In performing this mission, protecting human lives has always been GSG 9’s utmost priority.
Ever since its foundation in 1972, this has been its raison d’être – around the clock and around the world.

Throughout its 45-year history, continuity and change have been GSG 9’s constant companions. Founded on 26 September 1972 as “Grenzschutzgruppe 9”, or Border Guard Group 9, of the former Bundesgrenzschutz (BGS), or Federal Border Guard, it is one of the world’s oldest police special operations units. Following the transformation and renaming of the BGS to the Bundespolizei, or Federal Police, in July 2005, GSG 9 was the only unit to retain its traditional nomenclature. Since then, the special operations unit has been officially known as “GSG 9 der Bundespolizei”.

Evolving “modi operandi” and the emergence of new threats as well as the ever-changing global political situation have confronted the GSG 9 with fresh challenges right from the start – challenges which GSG 9 has invariably met with matchless resolve.

Featuring 208 pages, the lavishly illustrated book offers a unique look at today’s GSG 9, the ultramodern special operations unit of the German Federal Police, and its 45-year history. Short texts in German as well as in English language provide further information about GSG 9’s tasks, organization, selection and training, operational units, special skills, missions, national and multinational cooperation, weapons and equipment as well as history.

I was fortunate to meet with Jan-Phillipp at Milipol where he presented me with a copy.


The first edition of the book is strictly limited to 2.000 copies for the public book trade. When ordering (, a number between 1001 and 3000 can be chosen and will be delivered if still available. I already have number 1776.

Jan-Phillipp Weisswange and Sören Sünkler: GSG 9. The special operations unit of the Federal Police – Germany’s spearhead in the fight against terrorism. Nuremberg/Germany 1/2017: S.Ka-Verlag. ISBN: 978-3-9815795-4-3. 208 pages, Hardcover. Price: 49,00 € plus shipping. Contact:

SOCOMD Australia Recruiting Video

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

It’s not often that we get to share things like this. Australia is one of America’s closest partners and their military is world class, but few hold a candle to the capabilities of SOCOMD Australia.

If this doesn’t get your blood pumping…you’re dead.

USSOCOM Seeks Squad-Variable Powered Scopes

Friday, November 10th, 2017

The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division Purchases weapons and optics for USSOCOM. They released to procure a minimum of 32 Squad-Variable Powered Scopes (S-VPS). Ultimately, the contract could be worth up to $33.25 million.

Specifics of the requirement are limited to Registered and vetted users of fedbizopps.  However, we do know from briefings at this year’s NDIA Amaments conference, a little bit about this program.  This variable power optic is intended for use out to 600m. Additionally, we know from the solicitation that they are considering both first and second focal plane optics.  No word right now on which reticle is preferred.

Offerors will be required to provide 12 samples of either the First Focal Plane Scopes and Second Focal Plane Scopes, or both, at no cost to the government, as well as their proposals which are due Dec 08, 2017 2:00 pm Eastern.

They have an interesting acquisition strategy. The First Focal Plane Scope and other associated items will be 100% set-aside for small business, while the Second Focal Plane Scope and other associated gear will be full and open competition. The Government intends to award to the responsible offeror(s) whose offer constitutes the best value to the Government, considering technical, delivery, past performance, and price related factors.

For more information visit