Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

SECAF Unveils New “eSeries” Classification in Nod to Department’s Digital Future

Sunday, September 20th, 2020


Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett told Air Force Association conference attendees that the future of Air and Space technology will include aircraft, weapons and satellites which will be digitally engineered and virtually tested before ever taking physical form.

A true paradigm shift, systems being considered for acquisition will be designed, developed and manufactured on a digital foundation, just like the Boeing eT-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer. The new process is part of the Department’s digital eSeries approach.

The secretary made her remarks during the keynote speech at this year’s Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference, which is being held virtually due to the global pandemic.

“To inspire companies to embrace the possibilities presented by digital engineering, today the Department of the Air Force is announcing a new weapons system designator—the ‘e’ series,” Barrett said. “Aircraft, satellites, weapon systems and more that are digitally engineered will receive an ‘e’ prefix.”

The first U.S. Air Force aircraft designed using the digital approach, the eT-7A Red Hawk, embraced model-based engineering and 3D design tools which reduced assembly hours by 80% and cut software development time in half. The aircraft moved from computer screen to first flight in just 36 months.

Other Air and Space Force programs have leveraged the power of digital engineering to reduce design and testing time. In the future, more Air and Space Force acquisition programs will be using digital engineering principles to design, code and build systems.

According to Air Force officials, an eSeries digital acquisition program will be a fully-connected, end-to-end virtual environment that will produce an almost perfect replica of what the physical weapon system will be. It will bring unprecedented speed and agility to help compete in the technology battlespace by enabling thousands, even millions, of virtual iterations at machine speeds to design the best possible system — but only build the single, best design.

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

RADM HW Howard III Relieved RADM Collin P Green as Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command During Recent Change of Command Ceremony

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO (NNS) – (Sep. 11, 2020) Rear Adm. H. W. Howard III relieved Rear Adm. Collin P. Green as Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) during a change of command ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Sept. 11, 2020.

U.S. Army General Richard D. Clarke, commander, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) was the presiding officer.

“But on all days, today, September 11th, we all remember an event that changed many things for our country. And for our special operations forces, it changed our course, it changed many of our joint force individuals, and changed many families for years to come. And I would ask everyone to keep that foremost in your mind today, as we recognize the import of today’s event,” said Clarke. “For 19 years, SOF has been the tip of the spear operating around the globe to protect our American people, our interest and our way of life. From the beginning the Navy SEALs and the entire NSW team has been an absolutely essential part of that effort. …The incredible ethos of teamwork and excellence established in the tradition of this command firmly holds true today.”

Green assumed command of NSWC in July 2018 and in his next assignment, he will serve as chief of staff, U.S. Special Operations Command.

Howard arrives as Commander, NSWC from his most recent assignment as Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Central located at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

NSW Command is committed to its Sailors and the deliberate development of their tactical excellence, ethics, and leadership as the nation’s premiere maritime special operations force supporting the National Defense Strategy.

NSW is the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Command, and its mission is to provide maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives.

Courtesy Naval Special Warfare Command

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Wind Cheater Available in 3XL

Friday, September 18th, 2020

This Friday we are getting a look at the popular all season Wind Cheater now available in 3XL! 100% Berry Compliant constructed from 330D ambush the Wind Cheater is a unique garment very light in weight, breathes like a t-shirt yet still sheds wind and light precipitation thanks to a DWR coating.

The Wind Cheater features a long tail great for colder days with just the right height on the front for easy access to belt mounted accessories. Oversized hood works well with hats or helmets with a wide range of bungee adjustment for user defined fit. Two large bicep pockets, pit zips and torso pockets allow for exceptional ventilation when required.

Offered in Multicam, Manatee Grey, Coyote, Black and Ranger Green. 100% American Made.

Revision Presents: Invisible Danger – Laser Devices, Effects and Laser Eye Pro

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Since July, reported incidents of laser attacks on law enforcement have skyrocketed around the nation leading to a variety of eye effects and injuries, including reports of partial blindness. While handheld lasers aren’t new, their widespread use with intent to harm is increasing, just as the demand for laser protective eyewear to prevent effects and injuries. We’ve learned there are a lot of questions from end-users about lasers, and Revision has offered the following article with some education about the laser threat and how to combat it. Revision has been at the forefront of laser and ballistic protective eyewear solutions for the past decade.


One of the latest tools of mayhem employed by street protestors is the handheld laser. Easily concealed, simple to use, and cheap to the point of disposability, they pose a serious threat to tactical law enforcement officers working a crowd control detail.


There are three important laser device specs to note when looking for laser eye protection. The power level of the device (measured in milliwatts), the color of the laser it emits (expressed as its wavelength in nanometers), and beam divergence (measured in minute of angle or milliradians.) We’ll cover power and color in more detail, but beam divergence is a complex sounding term that indicates how tightly focused the laser beam is. Wider beams are less of a threat.


Handheld lasers used in street protests range from mostly harmless low-power keychain laser pointers to high intensity handheld lasers that rival the power of lasers used by the military to mark targets miles away.

How do you know the level of danger you’re facing when the crowd is shining lasers at you? Bottom line, you won’t. Like you, the protesters slinging light beams at you probably don’t even know how powerful their handheld lasers are.

Sure, the U.S. FDA regulates all laser products for safety. But, handheld lasers are considered a novelty, often sold on the gray market, imported by the shipload, and are among millions of products the government is supposed to inspect. It’s not surprising that laser safety regulation is a massive game of whack-a-mole that’s got regulators on their heels.

And because it costs more to make a less powerful laser that complies with safety standards than a more powerful one that doesn’t, it’s common to order a 3 mW laser from the internet and get one that puts out 10 or more times the stated output. So, it’s safe to assume every laser you see on the street is powerful enough to be dangerous, regardless of what the label says.


Laser danger comes in a few forms, the most feared is irreversible injury caused by a highly focused light burning the retina. The more common, but just as serious threat posed by lasers is the loss of situational awareness.

A laser in the eye has the same effect as any bright light source, it’ll first elicit a startle response causing you to blink. If you continue looking into the laser, you’ll be dealing with glare that obscures your vision and if you look into it long enough you’ll get temporary bright spots, called afterimages. While these effects aren’t as severe as permanent blindness, situational awareness is the last thing you want to lose when flying bricks and homemade pyrotechnics are in play.

Above: A Green laser being aimed at Law Enforcement during Portland, Oregon protests.
Photo by Dave Killen,


Good news: you’ve got an involuntary blink response. Bad news: The blink response only occurs if the offending light is in the visible spectrum, and cheap lasers are often contaminated with invisible, IR and near-IR light.

This means a dim, 5mW visible laser could be pumping out hundreds of mW of light in the near-IR spectrum, and you won’t know it until you feel your eyes itching and burning for no apparent reason. By that point, that light is cooking your retina.


At the simplest level, a laser’s color is its Achilles heel. Want to stop a red laser? Put a red-absorbing filter in its path. Generally laser protective lenses will look the opposite of the color they absorb.  Of course there’s more to blocking a laser than that, but a key consideration when looking for laser eye pro is knowing the color of the light you want to block. Eye pro manufacturers list this spec as a specific wavelength or a range of wavelengths in nanometers (nm).


To make a lens that stops a laser means choosing a dye that absorbs light at the same wavelength as the laser and incorporating it into the lens. This can be in the form of a coating applied after a glass or polymer lens is made, or by mixing the dye into the base material of a polymer lens before it’s molded into shape. The later method of construction results in a much more durable form of laser protection, since the dye is impregnated into the lens and can’t be scratched off.

Most laser protective lenses are made for use in a laboratory or on a manufacturing line where getting punched in the face or fragged by a BB-covered M-80 isn’t a concern. Keep that in mind when looking for laser eye pro that’ll be used on the street. There are only a few companies making laser eye pro that also provides mil-spec ballistic protection.

Above: Ballistic laser protective eyewear being tested against a laser hazard in the Revision Military Advanced Laser Research Lab.


It’d be great if there was one lens that could block all laser wavelengths, but there isn’t. Knowing that blocking a laser is accomplished by filtering its particular wavelength of light, the practical cost of protection for a given color of laser is limiting the ability to see that color. So, a lens that would block all laser colors would need to filter out all colors of light, and that lens would essentially be impossible to see through.

Because each lens can only provide laser protection in a certain wavelength, or range of wavelengths, determining what color lasers you’re likely to face on the street is critical in choosing a protective lens.


Carefully consider the time of day you’ll use the laser eye pro. Nighttime is the right time for mayhem, so you’re going to want to get lenses that aren’t so dark that they can’t be used at night. The spec that tells you how much light a lens allows through is called its visible light transmission (VLT.) VLT tells you how much regular light a lens allows to pass though it as a percentage. Higher percentages allow more light to pass.

Another important spec you’ll see is a lens’s optical density (OD). OD tells you how much of a laser’s light is blocked by the lens. It’s given as a number from 0 generally up to around 7, with higher numbers offering the most protection. Each additional OD absorbs ten times as much laser light, so a lens with OD 3 absorbs 10 times as much light as a lens with OD 2.

Practically speaking, the higher the OD, the more laser energy a lens can absorb. The higher the VLT, the more natural light is passing through the lens. 


Before heading out to work a protest with the eye pro that came with your IR aiming lasers, confirm those lenses also provide protection in the visible light spectrum. IR rated lenses are generally only good for stopping lasers in the IR/Near-IR spectrum and won’t necessarily offer protection against visible lasers.


The current limitations of protective laser lens technology means the need for situational awareness and broad spectrum protection are at odds with each other. Want to see everything? You have to give up protection. Want to be protected from the widest range of threats? You’re going to have to decide how much visual awareness to give up. 

The threat of lasers to guys on the ground is still emerging, as is the response from companies making eye protection. Cutting edge research and development in tactical laser eye protection is focused on finding a no-compromise solution that provides full spectrum laser protection, uninhibited vision, and mil-spec ballistic protection using high tech solutions that can survive the rigors of the street and the battlefield.

For more information, visit, write [email protected], or call +1 802.879.7002.

Brigantes Presents – Urban and Maritime Ladder Solutions

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Whether for use directly from the ground or mounted from vehicles and operated from maritime craft, ladders play an important role in tactical intervention and emergency response operations. But with so many options, which one could be the best use of military budgets?

The Atlas Tactical Ladder (ATL)

The ATL system features a sophisticated design optimised for an exceptionally high strength-to-weight ratio. This allows for durability, versatility, and minimum weight (4.5kg) without sacrificing strength or height. The innovative patented locking joint design enables not just the ability to rapidly deploy and stow the ATL, but also the ability to separate the assembly into smaller sections to optimise load carry and length. This means that the ATL systems weight can be distributed among several people and rapidly reassembled on site. It can also be configured for shorter lengths or deployed as several ladders, making it a single solution for many different missions. The ATL can be joined to reach heights of 5-6m.

The Helix HQH LadCarb Maritime

The HQH Ladcarb Maritime ladder is a carbon fibre framed ladder for maritime operations. It is constructed from the most advanced axial fibre laying technology making it extremely light and strong.  The ladder is to be used alongside a dual titanium hook, replaceable stand-off devices, wire ladder connectors and lifting cone to create the ultimate access solution for vessel boarding. 

The ladder features slightly positive buoyancy whilst maintaining very good mechanical properties. All materials have been tested for use in marine environment and mechanical endurance tests show the ladder performing at + 60 degrees Celsius to – 40 degrees Celsius.

Threaded inserts in the ladder stiles allow installation of standard stand-off extenders and titanium anchoring eyes at the bottom end of stiles allow installation of a wire rope extending ladder. The 4.6m ladder consists of four sections which can be quickly and easily dismantled down to single parts for straightforward transportation and storage. 

REBS Carbon Multi Ladder (CML)

The REBS CML is a rigid, modular and multi-functional ladder system with a dual rail design. The system uses modular 90cm sections that can be locked together to create a ladder, stretcher or bridge. The CML can be used in multiple configurations such as being hung from an attachment point via a hook or hooks, leant against a wall, bridging a gap between buildings/containers or as a rigid stretcher with handles and a harness that holds the casualty securely. It is manufactured from carbon fibre for a combination of excellent rigidity and a light weight. The design was derived from the same advanced carbon fibre moulding techniques that are used to manufacture modern bike frames and optimizes carbon fibre properties to create a very strong monocoque frame where each 90cm section is moulded in one piece to minimise joins and weak spots. The ladder rungs are wide enough to easily get two boots onto a rung and all of the surfaces have a tough, high friction coating to make use as secure as possible. 

The REBS Wire Ladder

The new design of the wire ladders has the highest strength to weight ratio of any wire ladder in the world. The wire ladders have been developed with input from professional users and have high-end features for superior performance in tenuous situations. All ladders are delivered ready to use. The rungs are diamond knurled and provide a durable high friction grip surface. Wire ladders are often used in combination with telescopic poles. The ladders are strong and rugged, but also compact in size, exceptionally light weight, and pack compactly and easily. The ladder has a market-leading minimum breaking load (MBL) of 1200 kg. The wire ladder is made with the highest quality components and materials. The Ø3 mm (1/8 in) wire rope and thimble are made from 316 stainless steel and the rungs are black anodized 6082 T6 alluminium.

REBS – Ultralight pole ladder (UPL)

The Ultralight Pole Ladder (UPL) is REBS’s latest single stile ladder which is lighter, easier to stack and carry, and stronger.

Each UPL section is 1.7m and is molded using the latest in carbon fibre technology.  The system can reach up to 11m when the top adapter, five sections of 1.7m, an optional single step and 1.5m Wire Ladder are all connected. The quick connectors and modular design make the system safe, fast and easy to assemble. By attaching the 1.5m Wire Ladder, an extra 1.5m of height can be gained whilst also keeping the lowest step closer to the ground. In marine environments, the Wire Ladder also provides increased operational safety as the boarding craft will not be able to knock the ladder off its hold when riding on the waves. Climbing comfort and efficiency is taken into consideration with rubber tipped standoffs which provide good space for hands and feet.

If you are looking for ladders for use in urban warfare assault or maritime boarding, contact us for more information.

Contact: [email protected]

For UK sales: [email protected]

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US Air Force To Recruit Future Space Force Professionals

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020


Air Force recruiters nationwide will launch future enlisted space professionals to Basic Military Training to fill Fiscal 2021 job opportunities.

The Department of Defense’s newest military branch is relying on Air Force Recruiting Service to find America’s best and brightest to fill more than 300 enlisted positions next fiscal year. Competition for the limited number of opportunities is said to be tough.

During a virtual AFRS training session Sept. 10, 2020, with recruiters nationwide, U.S. Space Force career field managers from Peterson AFB, Colorado, explained the caliber of applicant they are looking for to join them in their fight to assure access to space for America.

“We’ve gotten away from a checklist driven mindset to where we are lean and agile and our young Airman have to think on-the-fly sometimes to outmaneuver some of the adversaries,” said Senior Master Sgt. Randy Magdaleno, U.S. Space Force manager of Special Programs Division. “As an example, we have young Airman sitting in the 2nd Operations Squadron flying the GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites and what a lot of people don’t know is our Air Force and, now our U.S. Space Force, do the satellite command and control and operate our GPS systems out there for the world.”

This is the reason why career field managers say they need top-notch space professionals to stay ahead of adversaries and secure access to and through space for America in a hostile space environment.

Airmen who were selected to transfer to U.S. Space Force have joined the new service. In October, highly-qualified applicants without prior military experience will begin to make their way to BMT after being processed by an Air Force recruiter. That is their first step to service in the space mission.

They will apply at an Air Force office but will specify which branch of service they would like to be considered for. It is possible they can choose both. The same screening for eligibility to serve will apply. Space specialties will continue to require the same Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery scores and security clearances which are higher than most Air Force career fields.

“Most of our jobs focus on orbital warfare, space electronic warfare, or space battle management,” said Senior MSgt. Daniel Hill, U.S. Space Force manager for the 1C6 Space Systems Operators Air Force Specialty Code. “We fly satellites, keeping them in position or repositioning them if a threat is detected. We use radar to detect missile launches and track space debris to protect our assets in space.”

Descriptions for space specialties can be found on by clicking on the Careers tab. Job locations are expected to be where a majority of these space professionals are currently located which include installations in California, Colorado and Florida but they can be found in smaller units worldwide.

In February 2021, the U.S. Space Force expects to fill other career opportunities that are key to the military space mission such as cyber security and intelligence. Airmen currently holding those positions for the Air Force were given the opportunity in May 2020 to volunteer to transfer into the U.S. Space Force.  Those selected to transfer will begin the nearly two-year process in February..

All space systems operator positions are scheduled to align in U.S. Space Force ranks and will no longer be called Airmen, but rather a yet to be determined nomenclature within the next two years.

Due to the unique capabilities space professionals perform for the nation, recruiters were encouraged by AFRS trainers to set up mentorship-like opportunities between applicants and active duty personnel or tour nearby space units where available when social distance and COVID health restrictions allow for such an opportunity.

 “We are excited to partner with the U.S. Space Force as it endeavors to build a diverse and inclusive corps of Space Professionals,” said Lt. Col. Michael Graff who leads U.S. Space Force recruiting efforts from his office at AFRS headquarters in San Antonio. “Air Force recruiters are rapidly stepping up to attract and find the agile, innovative, and bold young women and men who will defend a boundless domain and shape space power for decades to come.”

By Chrissy Cuttita, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs

Becoming More Agile

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Military leaders are asking their components to become more agile.

What does that mean? To be agile means adopting and accepting the agile principles, moving away from a top-down hierarchy filled with bureaucracy and individual silos, Agile promotes a ‘guiding’ leadership model surrounded by teams that are flexible and accountable.

Where did Agile come from? Agile was born out of necessity in software engineering to provide faster updates and build upon user feedback. Prior to the modern agile movement, development teams would identify the problem, create a solution, develop a product, then bring it to market, all without extensively engaging the customer. This is known as the ‘waterfall approach’. This method has proven to be slow, cumbersome, and often times, brings a product to market which does not meet the true need of the customer. In early 2000, software developers met to discuss their challenges, and later in 2001, developed what is known today as the ‘Agile Manifesto’.  The key values of which being: people over process, working product over comprehensive documentation, end user collaboration over contracts, and responding to change over following a plan. Agile is now in use by every Fortune 500 company and is utilized by more than 97% of mid-market commercial companies worldwide. Adopters of Platinum Edge’s suite of services have enjoyed a 30-40% increase in time to market with a cost savings from 30-70%.  Although the original idea was for use in the technology world, the values and principles remain true for any type of program management.

The U.S. military has a long history of being the focal point of excellence when it comes to planning and execution. Utilizing the JOPES and MDMP process is a long-proven method of planning and conducting military operations. As the Military shifts to a more business-like model, there is a need to adopt the proven agile approaches to accomplish our goals.

So, how and where does the Military adopt Agile? Like many businesses and organizations, the Military has to be open to change, both in culture and structure. In military planning, there is a hierarchy and clear chain of command. With Agile however, you must allow for the team to take ownership while leaders should act as a guide. Think in the terms of staff functions from company level, to corps, and above. The staff directorates from your S-1’s, G-2’s, J-3’s, etc., work within the confines of their ‘stove pipes’ and report to a Chief of Staff or Commander on individual efforts. In an organization using Agile, you create cross-functional teams based on products. These teams are developed based on the talent needed to complete the end product, not just with whoever is available, i.e. ‘people over process’. This lightweight team concentrates on a goal while incrementally chopping away at the deliverables. The team holds each other accountable along the way and communicates as much as possible in order to facilitate success. This model allows for self-correction and keeps the ‘customer’ involved along the way.

How does an individual, a team, a unit become more Agile? To become agile is not just a declaration or a command. To be agile means a formal adoption of principles while putting faith in the system and processes. Training is available from the basics of agile, Certified Scrum Masters of multiple levels, as well as coaching, mentoring, objective audits, and more.  Each of the courses are credentialed, and are free to the soldier via IgnitED (the Army’s new Credentialing Assistance platform). Being credentialed in agile frameworks provide opportunities for future employment as well as tools for the current scope of work. Companies like Platinum Edge provide these opportunities both virtually as well as in-person and can scale to meet the need of the individual, the team, or the unit.

SCRUM, it’s not a rugby maneuver… so, what is it? scrum is a transparency framework that helps us identify what is working in reality. It is a self-correcting model in which, even if you are wrong in the beginning, you can be right in the end because scrum gives you multiple opportunities to correct course toward the target. Tactically flexible yet strategically focused, your next move changes but your target is stable. It is also a structured learning cycle that allows you to adapt and change based off of experience. At the core of a scrum is the ‘sprint’. A sprint is the activity that drives the process. The sprint is a time-determined activity in which the major product development tasks are completed. At the end of the sprint, the scrum team conducts a ‘retrospective’ to determine what worked, what didn’t, what can move forward, and what can wait. Every level of a military unit can utilize the scrum framework, whether it’s project management, or conducting operations. It is flexible and adaptable to all situations. Many military leaders are familiar with the F3EAD process, scrum is similar however it does take training to practice scrum correctly. Having a coach or a Certified Scrum Master ensures you are playing correctly.

How does being a ‘Certified Scrum Master’ (CSM) help me?

The Scrum Master is a member of the scrum team, who is charged with making sure everyone on the team is playing scrum correctly. Think of them as a referee in a sport; an objective outside influencer that ensures the game is played correctly. The Scrum Master is a majorly critical piece in the scrum team, and the position is not to be taken lightly nor ignored. If the military is to adopt agile, identification of the right talent and promoting this position is of the utmost importance. By choosing to be a Scrum Master, you are joining a small community of individuals whose expertise can be utilized no matter the type of work. To be an objective outsider means you can walk into any type of business or organization and play scrum, no matter the type of product. As a CSM, you can move easily throughout any organization providing great value, both in the military, and post-career in any one of the 40,000 businesses currently seeking CSMs (most positions offer $100,000/ year).

How can I become a ‘Certified Scrum Master’? Becoming a CSM is easy. Platinum Edge has a 2-day (in-person) or 4-day (virtual) Certified Scrum Master course, during which you will learn the basics of being a CSM. Similar to gaining rank in the military, there are multiple levels of a CSM and you must meet certain training and experience quotas prior to advancing. The more you advance, the better you are, and the more valuable an asset you are to the team. Credentialing Assistance allows for a service member to obtain their CSM credentials as well as follow on courses. Each service member (Enlisted/Warrant) is allowed $4000.00 per year in assistance, which is more than enough to obtain their CSM, as well as propel through the levels during their career. As of August 15th, the Army has transitioned to IgnitED for all credentialing opportunities.

What else should I know? Before you dive in, I encourage you to discover more about Agile and SCRUM. The first recommended read is the Agile Manifesto. This lays out the reasoning and principles of agile and is the basis for all agile techniques. Next, the Scrum Guide, gives you an overview of the terms, definitions, positions, and events of SCRUM. The Agile Method on LinchpinSEO is a great article on traditional vs. Agile approach. You can also get deep into the weeds with the SCRUM for Dummies guide, written by Mark Layton.

Why Platinum Edge? I have mentioned Platinum Edge and Mark Layton throughout this article and for good reason. Mark is the founder of Platinum Edge and is the world’s foremost expert on transforming organizations to the agile methodology. Mark, a veteran of the US Air Force, also holds a secret security clearance and is a published author on the subject of scrum and agile. The 1st Special Warfare Training Group at the US Army Special Warfare Center and School has placed their trust in Platinum Edge to provide CSM training to their instructor corps for individual professional development, as well as to begin their change in culture. If you are an instructor at SWCS or assigned to USASOC at Fort Bragg, reach out to 1st SWTG (Project JANUS) to learn more about your training opportunities. For all others interested in obtaining credentials or information on credentialing assistance, visit your local Education center. As for everyone else, feel free to contact Platinum Edge for more information.

Tom Kerr, a retired Special Forces NCO who attended the Certified Scrum Master Course during his transition from service and now utilizes the agile methodology and practices scrum in his daily program management duties at the Strategic Advisory “Firm”, Armor Corps.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Expands NETT Warrior Support, Improves Soldier Experience

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA —

Tobyhanna Army Depot now fabricates a new type of cable that furthers its support of a critical Soldier communication system.

The depot recently stood up capability for production of flat cables for the Nett Warrior program. Nett Warrior is a smartphone-based system that provides situational awareness to dismounted Soldiers during combat operations. The program arrived at the depot in 2012 and, since then, engineers have designed more than 70 cables to support the system. Because the system is worn by Soldiers in the battlefield, ergonomics is key.

“The flat design of this cable will make the system more comfortable for Soldiers when they use Nett Warrior,” said Stanley Czock, lead engineer for the program. “The new cables also eliminate the likelihood of snagging in the field by holding more tightly to the vest. Both of these improvements directly benefit Soldiers.”

Production of the flat cables is aided by two new machines, a computer numerical control (CNC) sewing machine and a laser cutting machine. The machines allow for tighter stitching and the fabrication of scalloped tabs, which slide into the MOLLE system on the system’s Modular Scalable Vest and allow for a 90 degree bend in the cable without performance problems – another significant improvement for the end user. The equipment also allows for fabrication of conformal battery pouches and antenna mast holders, items used extensively by Soldiers when wearing Nett Warrior.

Acquisition of the new equipment is part of a larger effort to expand capability in the depot’s Systems Integration and Support directorate. The effort stems from Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic initiative, Toby 2028.

“Modernizing the shops with newer technology allows us to explore previously unreachable opportunities for customer and product support with the added benefit of remaining competitive.  Anywhere there is an opportunity to improve our capabilities, we have a Toby 2028 team looking into it and how it will shape our future,” said Michael Vivlemore, Lead for the Toby 2028 line of effort focused on technology impacts.

Depot personnel also worked closely with engineers from the U.S Army Sustainment Command’s Packaging, Storage and Containerization Center to perform extensive testing on the new cable prior to launch. They say this proactive approach is crucial to ensuring project success.

“Upfront testing allows us to ensure our product will meet warfighter requirements. It also allows us to address any potential defects before the product reaches the battlefield,” Czock said. “All in all, we’re thrilled to support a project that helps make life easier for the warfighter.”

Personnel from the Production Management directorate’s Sustainment Planning Division (SPD) say this new capability may also lead to additional workload for the depot.

“The addition of the CNC and laser-cutting machine greatly enhance the depot’s ability to adapt and support evolving Soldier requirements. We have seen interest from customers for new workload as a direct result of this new capability,” said Tracy Kraftchisin, a Logistics Management Specialist (LMS) in SPD. Fellow LMS Michelle Reese agreed.

“Right now, we are working on a Public Private Partnership (P3) with Microsoft in support of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). Under this P3, we have the potential to fabricate different types of cables for IVAS, a workload that falls under the Army Futures Command and represents an exciting opportunity for Team Tobyhanna.”

Depot personnel say the Nett Warrior program is planned through 2025 and will result in more than 200,000 cables for service members.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 4,000 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.

Story by Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

Photos by Thomas Robbins