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Army to Lead New DOD Strategy Against Drone Attacks

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

WASHINGTON — In the future, drones could threaten U.S. defense systems with a swarming capability that uses artificial intelligence while leveraging 5G connectivity, the director of an Army-led joint office said Friday.

To help combat against these increasing dangers presented by adversaries’ small, unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS, the Defense Department unveiled a counter strategy during a media event last Friday. The strategy calls for risk-based assessments and viewing counter-sUAS defense from a joint perspective to rapidly track, defend and defeat drone attacks.

“We have to be able to keep pace with an ever-changing threat,” said Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, director of the Joint C-sUAS Office. “And to do that we have to leverage things like rapid prototyping and middle-tier acquisition to be able to bring these components into our open-architecture system as we’re seeing changes on the battlefield.”

Small UAS capabilities provide U.S. adversaries with maneuverable assets capable of intelligence, reconnaissance and lethal attacks at a low cost for the enemy.

The DOD plans to counter the threat with rapid innovation, synchronization with materiel and non-materiel solutions, and by leveraging relationships with allied nations and partners.

As part of those efforts, the Joint C-sUAS Office, or JCO, with service support, is slated to host a low-collateral damage interceptor demonstration focused on technologies and systems during the first week of April.

Strategic pillars

The Army, which oversees the JCO, aims to use three lines of effort to guide the strategy.

The first, “Ready the Force,” centers on the development of innovative solutions using a risk-based approach in the creation of counter capabilities. The strategy focuses on utilizing systems with a common architecture.

Risk assessments will be performed at each DOD location to evaluate the impact of potential sUAS threats. The assessments will cover a wide range of threats, from violent extremist organizations to near-peer adversaries.

“We can’t put every defensive measure at every DOD location,” said Nicole Thomas, the joint office’s division chief for strategy and policy. “So we have to look at the different locations to see what is the risk, where is the vulnerability and then get the appropriate countermeasures for that particular location.”

In the second focus area, “Defend the Force,” the JCO looks to create mission-ready forces capable of defending against and defeating sUAS threats. The office will achieve this through development of doctrine, operational concepts and the establishment of joint training standards and refinement of existing training. The JCO will then deliver joint capabilities that are synchronized across the force.

Finally, the last pillar, “Build the Team,” the JCO will strengthen itself by stressing partnership in national security innovation with federal and non-federal organizations while prioritizing interoperability. The leveraging of partner relationships will help the joint force maximize its C-sUAS effectiveness domestically and in ally nations, Thomas said.

Gainey said each of the military branches have embarked on individual efforts to defend against the threat since 2016. But the approach may not have been the most efficient, as it led to redundancy in the proposed system. Gainey said the new enterprise, joint approach will help the JCO achieve its goals more efficiently.

“You had different efforts moving out and it wasn’t a synchronized effort,” Gainey said. “So essentially you created this scene where you had the acquisition community just rapidly developing stuff, but with no framework around that.”

Interoperability is key

Gainey added that interoperability will be critical toward carrying out the C-sUAS strategy.

Last year, the Army selected 10 interim systems as C-sUAS solutions to guide the strategy, each with interoperable components, including the Army’s fixed site-low, slow, small UAS integrated defeat system, or FS-LIDS, and the Air Force’s negation of improvised non-state joint aerial system, or NINJA.

“What you want to start with first is to have a common interoperability with the services so we can integrate the command and control system through an open architecture to where we then integrate systems components into that,” Gainey said. “So you have a changing, improving, componentized architecture to keep up with technology.”

FS-LIDS is equipped with air surveillance radar and can detect and defeat low flying, smaller UAS targets, while NINJA can take control or disable a small UAS. The Navy’s CORIAN, or counter-remote control model aircraft integrated air defense network, can be used to disrupt drone signals.

Gainey added that by having the Army lead the effort, the DOD has taken a holistic approach that can identify potential individual service problems and strengthen interoperability across the joint force.

“How do we create something that’s going to meet our future architecture and common operating picture? That’s what we focus on,” Gainey said. “That’s where we all want to go as a department in the future: any sensor, any shooter has that common operating picture to be able to make rapid decisions based off of the growth that we’re seeing.”

By Joseph Lacdan, Army News Service

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Sherpa

Friday, January 15th, 2021

It’s 2021, your resolutions most likely include getting your s*** together. FirstSpear has you covered, at least in getting your gear squared away. Enter the FirstSpear Sherpa.

Designed in conjunction with FS professional users, the Sherpa is a hard use day bag that can be put to work across a wide variety of environments and situations. Whether you are going to the range, relaxing on the boat, or heading to a call out, this bag is the perfect size for those on the move. It comes standard with full 500D construction and premium hardware. Interior organizer panels can be completely removed or re-arranged to fit new equipment.

• Versatile range/ equipment / travel bag
• Two padded pistol pockets
• Large main compartment with removable interior organizer panels
• Loop interior for hook backed Ragnar™ pockets and storing cell tags
• Removable padded shoulder strap with HK hooks
• Discreet appearance
• Made in the USA

Available now in Black, Manatee Grey, Three Color Desert, Manatee Grey/Kryptek. It can also be used in conjunction with the Deluxe Sherpa Divider.

Dimension are 10″ wide by 9″ tall and 16″ long.

For more information, check out www.first-spear.com/sherpa-bundle.

To check out the Deluxe Sherpa Divider, www.first-spear.com/deluxe-sherpa-divider .

US Army Space Company Replaces Communication System with Portable Alternative

Friday, January 15th, 2021

FORT CARSON, Colo. – The 1st Space Battalion’s 4th Space Company is trading in their old ground satellite terminals for a lightweight, portable option – the Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carlos Gil, network management technician, 4th Space Company, said the GATR‘s portable design will provide the company the satellite terminal mobility Soldiers need in theater.

“It’s a lightweight, portable and durable system that will be beneficial in remote areas,” Gil said. “We can pack it in just two cases and we can set up in 30 minutes or less.”

4th Space Company provides support to geographical combatant commanders and U.S. Strategic Command by supplying critical information and timely data on the health and status of various satellites, ensuring reliable communication channels. This means being able to communicate from anywhere, even remote locations difficult to reach in large vehicles.

The GATR is replacing the company’s Secure Internet Router/Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point ground satellite terminals, which weigh 300-400 pounds and are typically transported in the back of high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles or helicopters.

The GATR, consisting of a flexible, inflatable ball and a dish, weighs approximately 25 pounds and can fit into two cases the size of checked airport baggage. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathan Paquette, a 4th Space Company network management technician, said it is small and light enough for Soldiers to carry.

“The antenna is easily deployable and provides the same high-bandwidth satellite communications as the larger, heavier SNAP ground satellite terminals,” Paquette said.

The company recently completed a 10-day training session to become familiar with assembling and operating the new system. All three companies in 1st Space Battalion will receive GATRs for field communications.

1st Space Battalion, which generates and provides space combat power for Army and joint forces to conduct global and continuous multi-domain planning and operations, is assigned to the 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

By SFC Aaron Rognstad (USASMDC)

DOD utilizes 3D-printing to Create N95 Respirators in the Battle Against COVID-19

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity’s Warfighter Expeditionary Medicine and Treatment Project Management Office, as part of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s Additive Manufacturing Working Group, has played an integral role in the ramped-up effort to produce N95 respirators for healthcare and frontline workers across the nation. As stated on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, an N95 respirator is “a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles.” Compared to a surgical mask, which is loose-fitting, the edges of the N95 mask are designed to form a very tight seal around the individual’s nose and mouth, providing the highest levels of protection against infection from COVID-19.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Daniel Williams serves as product manager of the WEMT PMO’s N95 respirator efforts at USAMMDA. These include coordinating programmatic and regulatory support, leveraging existing government resources, and developing synergies within the Department of Defense’s organic industrial base to successfully generate N95 respirator products. He explained that his primary task is to ensure the medical device meets military needs and regulatory requirements, and that development of the product remains on schedule and within budget.

In a recent interview, Williams offered a great deal of insight with regard to USAMMDA’s N95 respirator efforts, and the work to produce and distribute these products as quickly as possible in the battle against the spread of COVID-19 throughout our nation and the world.

JS: As product manager within the WEMT PMO, please describe your responsibilities in regard to the N95 respirator effort.

DW: The N95 effort is a slightly atypical experience, in that we are primarily working with DOD partners who have never manufactured medical devices. However, they have extensive experience in various methods of manufacturing, including additive manufacturing, also known as three-dimensional, or 3D, printing. So, our primary responsibility is assisting these DOD manufacturers in navigating the medical device world, including compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health regulations. Further, we facilitate test and evaluation of their products, by leveraging DOD laboratories and government partners to obtain performance feedback on respirator prototypes.

JS: Please describe the features of the N95 respirator, and why this device is superior to others currently on the market. What is its significance, especially with regard to COVID?

DW: It’s not so much superiority, as it is availability. One of the highest levels of respiratory protection for medical purposes, to include viral infection, is a NIOSH-certified N95 respirator. These come in multiple forms, but all are held to the same standard of filtering at least 95 percent of relevant particles, such as the Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 virus. Most people are familiar with what is called an FFR, or a Filtering Facepiece Respirator. These are the standard disposable, one-time-use products typically worn by our healthcare workers. However, at this time, these types of masks are nearly impossible to 3D-print. Our group has been working on what is called an elastomeric half-mask respirator, which is a reusable frame produced by a 3D printer, with a disposable media or cartridge that filters at the 95-percent level.

When the pandemic hit, the on-hand supply of N95 respirators, specifically FFRs, was quickly exhausted and traditional N95 manufacturers were not prepared to meet this new demand. Therefore, the primary purpose of the N95 working group is to develop N95 respirators to supplement existing supplies of respirators, as well as to develop new manufacturing capabilities within the DOD’s organic industrial base, which consists of military arsenals, maintenance depots and ammunition factories. Ensuring the DOD has the capability to independently manufacture protective respiratory devices will help to protect frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will also help to maintain our military readiness in the face of future pandemics or biothreats.

JS: Please detail the current status of the N95 program, and explain what lies ahead.

DW: Currently, we’ve partnered with multiple organizations across the DOD including the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Defense Logistics Agency to support N95 respirator design, manufacturing and distribution through existing logistics. To date, we’ve facilitated testing of 18 iterations of respirator design, and two have successfully passed preliminary evaluation at the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Chemical Biological Center. Our next steps will be to assist these manufacturers with the NIOSH application and process, to obtain an N95 certification for these respirators. Further, we are continuously seeking new partners within the DOD who have N95-related efforts, so that we may be able to assist.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly illustrated that civilian medical supply chains were unprepared to rapidly scale-up production of critical medical supplies such as medical personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators. Although this crisis will end, the next one could come along at any time. Additionally, the impact of critical medical supply shortages on military readiness could occur again in future battlefields from natural pandemics or biothreat agents. By continuing to focus on producing medical devices within the DOD organic industrial base, we can translate the lessons we’ve learned with medical PPE shortages into better preparedness for the next medical crisis, as well as for future conflicts in a Multi-Domain Operational environment.

JS: Why was the WEMT PMO tasked with the N95 respirator effort?

DW: The WEMT PMO’s everyday mission is to develop and deliver medical devices to our Service partners in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our program office was able to naturally pivot and leverage our staff’s medical product development expertise and apply it to the crisis at hand. This is truly what project managers do – we find creative ways to deliver effective, suitable and timely medical solutions when and where they are needed most.

JS: Please list the other members of the N95 respirator program team, and detail their responsibilities in the overall effort.

DW: The team has been phenomenal and is comprised of many professionals. However, the N95 program is actually a subgroup of the USAMRDC’s Additive Manufacturing Working Group, and nothing could have been accomplished without its assistance and guidance. The AMWG oversees three specific product lines: diagnostic swabs, ventilator parts and accessories, and the N95 respirator. As the lead for the N95 line of effort, I was tasked with outlining FDA and NIOSH requirements, initiating agreements between organizations, and leading an N95 working group to facilitate collaboration amongst all of our partners.

The N95 team specifically, can really be split into three different components, and we’d be nowhere without the ongoing collaborative effort from each component. First are our manufacturing partners, the U.S. Navy Underwater Warfare Center-Keyport, U.S. Forces Korea, Defense Logistics Agency, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. These organizations have the technical and subject matter expertise to not only design an N95 respirator, but actually to produce it through additive manufacturing methods.

Second is our AMWG team members at USAMRDC, comprised of the Office of Regulated Activities, Office of the Principal Assistant for Acquisition, Legal office, and USAMMDA’s Office of Research and Technology Applications and the WEMT PMO. The USAMRDC ensures all regulatory requirements for the respirator have been met, appropriate agreements are in place between organizations, and that any concerns with patents or intellectual property on the respirator designs have been addressed. It also provides clinical expertise on potential products, and facilitates test and evaluation of N95 respirator prototypes.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center. The CCDC CBC has been evaluating all forms of respirators for decades, and has an unparalleled knowledge of respirator design and evaluation. Once our manufacturing partners have produced a prototype, it is sent to CCDC CBC for evaluation, to determine whether it will meet the NIOSH standards for an N95 respirator. The CCDC CBC has been critical in providing performance feedback and offering design suggestions for our manufacturers, allowing iterative prototyping to expedite development of respirators.

JS: Other than for the current pandemic, what are some other (future) uses of the N95 mask?

DW: The N95 was thrust into the spotlight as COVID-19 is an airborne respiratory illness. However, the N95 respirator has long been used as medical PPE to prevent against other airborne illnesses, as well as in industrial settings to protect workers against airborne environmental toxins. Therefore, even when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the N95 respirator will still be a much-needed product in these types of situations.

JS: Is there anything else you would like to say regarding the N95 working group?

DW: Tireless effort is put in on a daily basis, from N95 working group members internal and external to USAMMDA and USAMRDC, USAMMDA’s higher headquarters. It has been such an honor to work with such an amazing group of professionals, spanning the medical and non-medical communities, and a truly unique experience to see so many different specialties come together for a common goal. I am extremely grateful to have been a part of it, and I would like to say a sincere “Thank you” to everyone involved!

USAMMDA is a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, under the Army Futures Command. As the premier developer of world-class military medical capabilities, USAMMDA is responsible for developing and delivering critical products designed to protect and preserve the lives of Warfighters across the globe. These products include drugs, vaccines, biologics, devices and medical support equipment intended to maximize survival of casualties on the battlefield.

Brigantes Presents – Coptrz Webinar Response

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Coptrz are drone specialists who provide end to end solution, including training, hardware, consultancy and on-going support. Born from a commercial background, Brigantes began working with Coptrz, adapting the software and capability in the Parrot Anafi Thermal drone. However, what could be done with this drone in terms of military security was limited.

Step forth, the Parrot Anafi USA. Originally designed for the US Army, and manufactured in Massachusetts, it is considered a big jump up in capability from the Thermal.

But how does this drone relate to today’s military user?

Coptrz produced a drone Webinar for the military and the commercial user. Here Matt Williams, MD at Brigantes, gives feedback on the features of the Anafi USA and how these features can greatly benefit the guys on the ground.

For more information contact: [email protected]

All Byte, No Bark for Air Force Security Forces’ ‘Robotic K-9’

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) —

As a part of its one-year pilot program, the Ghost Robotics Vision 60 visited Scott Air Force Base during an evaluation of the robot’s capabilities.

Heading the test was Air Combat Command’s Agile Battle Lab. The lab identifies, validates and inserts new concepts and technology to enable Agile Combat Employment and its contributions to all-domain warfare.

The Vision 60 autonomous quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicle is an all-terrain, dog-like robot equipped with enhanced sensors.

“By no means is this meant to replace a real K-9,” said Senior Master Sgt. Marcos Garcia, ACC Detachment 3 Agile Battle Lab, AMC liaison. “It is simply a force multiplier and can even maybe save some K-9 lives. The experts in the field envision it supplementing a bomb team or leading a foot patrol.”

This innovative piece of machinery was created to be a low-cost, low-risk force multiplier. Ultimately, this program has the capability of protecting a life.

“The major selling point of this technology is that it’s meant to be expendable, whereas our Airmen are not,” said Master Sgt. Justin Hanlon, 375th Security Forces Squadron operations noncommissioned officer in charge. “We can replace parts on the ghost robot and get it back out to the mission, but the same cannot be said of a human being. The bottom line is this cements our commitment to mitigating risk to our Airmen and protecting them from unnecessary danger.”

Equipped with integrated sensors, the Q-UGV can capture a high-definition video stream and thermal imaging, and boasts an infrared configuration. The Q-UGV also utilizes legs that can attain a current speed of seven feet per second and has been tested to outperform wheels, tracks and drones for certain uses in the field.

“Instead of using a human being as a sentry, imagine a mobile sensor with a high-definition, wide-angle camera and long-range capabilities being controlled by a trained Airman from the safety and security of a Base Defense Operations Center or a Theatre Operations Center in both a garrison or contested environment,” Hanlon said.

During the evaluation at Scott AFB, the ABL sought the insight of force professionals on improvements to the robotic K-9.

“We are a team of motivated innovators and know we have many talented Airmen with great ideas,” Garcia said. “We want to harvest those great ideas and bring them to fruition so we can bring our Air Force into the future.”

While the implementation of this technology is still in its infancy, it has the latent ability to bring the Air Force into a new era of warfighting.

“The ghost robot has potential to aid the enterprise in getting away from the past where we had Airmen walk wingtip to wingtip on flying assets,” Hanlon said. “We can employ our manpower smarter and more efficiently and this may be a small step to that competency.”

As the Air Force looks to close gaps and move towards Agile Combat Employment and Joint All Domain Command and Control, the use of new innovative technology like the Q-UGV may become common across military installations as we seek to enhance mission effectiveness.

By Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead, 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TYR Tactical Tuesday – Operator Expo

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

TYR Tactical Canada™, partnering with Wolverine Supplies™, 911 Supply and Rampart International are proud to announce the launch of Operator Expo. A two-day event focusing on supporting the operational requirements of Military, Law Enforcement, Corrections and EMS end-users in Canada. OPEX is planned to be the premiere showcase for agencies to gain insight, training, and procurement opportunities from the leading manufacturers and suppliers in the industry. We are focused on bringing the resources and information you need all together in one place, so that you can focus on what is important – Your Mission.

When and Where:

Date: June 2nd – 3rd 2021

Location: Infinity Convention Centre, Ottawa, Ontario.

*** We are taking every step to monitor and adapt to any changes that may arise as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. In the event that new regulations prevent the safe hosting of OPEX on June 2nd-3rd, a back-up date for the show is set for Sept. 28th-30th. ***

Stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates. Register with confidence now to secure your place at OPEX!

– Patrick Goodbody, OPEX Registrar

Have a question?

Contact Us:

Tel: 613-591-0007

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.operatorexpo.com

 

This Is My Squad: Forging Leadership Skills Through the Squad Leader Development Course

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

“This Is My Squad,” an initiative of Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston, aims to build more cohesive units across the Army and empower noncommissioned officers with the leadership skills to anticipate issues and address them early on. The Army Resilience Directorate’s contribution to TIMS is the Squad Leader Development Course, which aims to advance this initiative by giving squad leaders the opportunity to critically reflect on their leadership style and learn to employ evidence-based leadership skills. Leaders who understand their leadership philosophy, know their Soldiers, and live the Army Values can forge cohesive Army units that are strong and resilient in the face of any challenge.

SLDC facilitators will guide squad leaders to craft their personal leadership philosophy focusing on the areas of commitment, trust, and developing others. A personal leadership philosophy can increase leader consistency and effectiveness. It provides a plan for value-based action, which can be particularly helpful in challenging moments or at tough decision points. A personal leadership philosophy, particularly when shared with others, can improve relationships. It allows others to understand a leader’s values, priorities, approach to decision-making, and expectations. During this two-day course, squad leaders discuss doctrine from Army Doctrine Publication 6-22 and research from the field of human performance, organizational psychology, and positive psychology to highlight the impact and importance of squad-level leadership behaviors. During the course, Soldiers discuss effective leader behaviors in different components of leadership to include character, motivation, trust, and developing others. The intent of the course is to motivate students to identify, adopt, and internalize leadership behaviors outlined in doctrine and supported by research. R2 Performance Experts delivered SLDC as a pilot from Dec. 1-2 to 24 squad leaders that make up Grinston’s TIMS Leadership Panel. On Dec. 3, the TLP provided feedback to R2’s Curriculum Development Team on the course content and design so organizers can make improvements before making the course available to all squad leaders.

ARD requested that the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research conduct a longitudinal evaluation of SLDC to determine the effectiveness of the training in improving squad leader knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that foster unit trust and exemplify ethical leadership. In partnership with R2 Performance Experts at Fort Riley, Kansas, it is anticipated that SLDC will be delivered to squad leaders with the 1st Infantry Division in March 2021. Half of the participating squad leaders will be randomized to receive SLDC training as part of the evaluation. The other half will be assigned to a wait-list control group to receive training following the completion of the evaluation. Soldiers receiving SLDC will complete surveys before training, following training, and at follow-ups scheduled over two months after the training. Surveys are designed to assess Soldier’s pre-training knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors and offer Soldiers the opportunity to provide feedback regarding the training.

By Piers Kowalski, Laura Kirschner, Ian Gutierrez, and Susannah Knust, Ph.D., Army Resilience Directorate