Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

USSOCOM Selects L3 Communications Integrated Systems AT-802U Sky Warden for Armed Overwatch Aircraft

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

USSOCOM has made a decision for it’s Armed Overwatch program which will add 75 aircraft to provide dedicated Close Air Support, precision strike, and airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) from austere locations in a permissive environment.

It’s the Sky Warden from the L3 / Air Tractor team.

DoD made this announcement on 1 August:

L3 Communications Integrated Systems, Greenville, Texas, was awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (FA8637-22-D-B001) in the amount of $3,000,000,000 (maximum ceiling value) in support of Armed Overwatch. Research, development, test, and evaluation; and procurement funds in the amount of $170,000,000 were obligated at time of the award. Armed Overwatch will provide Special Operations Forces deployable, affordable, and sustainable crewed aircraft systems fulfilling close air support, precision strike, and armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, requirements in austere and permissive environments for use in irregular warfare operations in support of the National Defense Strategy. The contract will be a mixture of firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, time and materials, and cost reimbursement no-fee for the procurement of up to 75 aircraft, training systems, mission planning systems, support equipment, spares, and logistics support, with a period of performance from July 2022 to July 2029, including all options. The majority of the work will be done in Greenville, Texas. This action is a follow-on production contract in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 4022(f) authorized or required by statute. U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity. (Awarded July 31, 2022)

Here is the L3 Harris Press Release:



• Sky Warden™ system to expand SOCOM’s irregular warfare capabilities

• SOCOM weapon system testing begins in 2022

• Six new aircraft will be delivered under the low-rate initial production Lot 1

MELBOURNE, Fla. — U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has selected L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) and Air Tractor, Inc.’s AT-802U Sky Warden™ system for its Armed Overwatch program. Award of the Indefinite Quantity, Indefinite Delivery contract includes a cost ceiling of $3 billion. The program includes delivery of up to 75 manned, fixed wing aircraft, with an initial program contract award of $170 million.

The fleet of modern multi-mission aircraft will address SOCOM’s need for a deployable, sustainable single-engine fixed-wing, crewed and affordable aircraft system. It will provide close air support, precision strike, armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), strike coordination and forward air controller requirements for use in austere and permissive environments. The aircraft will be used in irregular warfare operations.  

“An important part of our Trusted Disruptor strategy is listening closely to combatant commanders’ needs, and responding faster than the evolving threats,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, L3Harris. “We want to deliver game-changing, modular solutions to U.S. special operators for their hardest missions, and Sky Warden does just that.” 

L3Harris expects to rapidly modify last summer’s Armed Overwatch prototype demonstrator into the production configuration and provide for customer weapon system testing in approximately six months. Production of new, fully-modified, Armed Overwatch mission-configured aircraft will begin in 2023 at L3Harris’ Tulsa, Okla. modification center, following initial production at Air Tractor’s Olney, Texas aircraft manufacturing facility. Six new aircraft will be delivered under the low-rate initial production Lot 1.

“Sky Warden will bring powerful and affordable close air support, precision strike, armed ISR, and command and control capabilities directly to special operations forces in the battlefield,” said Sean Stackley, President, Integrated Mission Systems, L3Harris. “We are ready now to begin work on this modern, multi-mission system for the SOCOM Armed Overwatch program.”

The production-ready Sky Warden system is tailorable for a variety of mission requirements to meet U.S. mission needs.

“The Sky Warden design reflects our commitment to America’s national security and the AT-802U will be equipped with everything we’ve learned manufacturing aircraft over the past 46 years,” said Jim Hirsch, President, Air Tractor, Inc. “The L3Harris team is an excellent partner, and our production and engineering staff are ready to immediately deliver this world-class product to our nation’s special forces.”

Learn more about Sky Warden at

USSOCOM Science and Technology Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 22.4

Monday, August 1st, 2022

The USSOCOM Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small
Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs will soon be accepting submissions for the technology areas of interest below.

Special Areas of Interest


SOCOM224-D001: Track Correlation/Data Deduplication for SOF Mission Command
SOCOM224-D002: Natural Language Processing for Special Operations Forces
SOCOM224-D003: Low/No Code Data Manipulation and Discovery for Special Operations Forces
SOCOM224-D004: Human Machine Teaming for Reduction of Operator Cognitive Load

Questions? Visit SOFWERX.

Submit by 23 August 2022.

Building Resiliency with IRON

Monday, August 1st, 2022


Resiliency of our Air Commandos has always been on the forefront for AFSOC. The command is constantly on the lookout for new programs and initiatives to elevate the ways we can build up our Airmen.

In 2020, helping agencies within AFSOC united under one single initiative, the AFSOC Integrated Resilience Optimization Network (IRON), to bring a more functionally aligned and organized focus on resiliency for our Air Commandos and their families.

 “Building the resiliency of our Air Commandos is so important,” said Onnie Retkofsky, AFSOC Iron Division Chief. “Organizing the helping agencies together under one conceptual framework optimized our resiliency programs and resources within AFSOC, ultimately making them more effectively communicated, and providing the most benefit for our Airmen and their families.”

AFSOC IRON forges resilience around 5 domains: physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and spiritual.

As part of the IRON program, each AFSOC wing has its own IRON lead representative for each performance domain. These advocates coordinate with helping agencies and providers assigned to each pillar to ensure Airmen and their families have access to all resources available. They also coordinate events and facilitate working groups between the agencies of the pillar they represent.

The IRON framework hosts regular resiliency events at various installations across the command to discuss and collaborate on resiliency programs. Often these events are focused around a certain pillar, but always incorporating concepts from the other domains to create and teach a holistic view of resilience.

The AFSOC IRON team held an IRON Physical Performance summit here, July 19-21, bringing in IRON representatives and providers from across the AFSOC wings to collaborate and educate on the programs most recent developments and set the vision for the future of IRON: AFSOC’s Airmen performing at their fullest potential.

“We wanted the focus of this first year’s summit to be on the physical pillar, which has the ability to incorporate all Airmen in a neutral and positive setting regardless of their current individual situations. We will increase our summit to integrate the other resiliency pillars as funding allows and COVID restrictions lift, to continue to create and build a holistic approach to refining resilience in our Airmen” said Retkofsky.

Feedback the IRON team has received on the effectiveness of these resiliency summits, and the program as a whole, has been nothing but positive.

“What our helping agencies and IRON members love about these summits, is the fact that we can all meet, learn and advocate for resiliency programs and techniques in-person again, said Retkofsky. “Meeting over Microsoft Teams once a month allows us to stay connected, but nothing beats the collaborative process of being together in-person.”

To learn more about the IRON program and resources you have available, reach out to your wing’s IRON representative.

By Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Combat Artist Illustrated Marine Raiders

Friday, July 29th, 2022


It was a hot day at Camp Lejeune while a Marine Special Operations Company conducted a portion of their pre-deployment readiness exercise. In the distance, Marine Raiders conduct a gear check as they prepare for the next segment of their training. In the foreground sat Capt. Charles J. Bauman and to his left, Capt. Michael Reynolds, as both expertly maneuver their choice of drawing tools across their sketch pads, illustrating the story unfolding right before them.

Capt. Charles Baumann, a designated combat artist and logistics officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, and Capt. Michael Reynolds, ammunition officer with Marine Forces Special Operations Command, document a pre-deployment culminating exercise while attached to a Marine Special Operations Company, June 13-16, 2022.

“The purpose of the [Marine Corps Combat Art Program] is to document Marine Corps operations via illustration for historical documentation,” explained Baumann. “I hope to contribute to the collections of work archived in the [National Museum of the Marine Corps] and provide a slightly different perspective to viewing the recorded history of the Marine Corps. I hope that in 10, 20, 50 years my artwork can be used to help tell the story of the Corps while I was in service.”

“The purpose of the Marine Corps Combat Art Program is to document Marine Corps operations via illustration for historical documentation.”

Capt. Charles Baumann, Designated combat artist and logistics officer

Baumann, initially, was not aware of the Marine Corps Combat Art Program. Once he became aware of the program, he reached out to retired Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael D. Fay who was the last activated reserve combat artist during the early Iraq War years who then introduced him to retired Col. Craig H. Streeter, also a combat artist. Streeter then introduced Baumann to the NMMC’s director, deputy director and art curator, who encouraged him to submit a portfolio of artwork. They deemed Baumann’s artwork skilled enough to bring him into the program and he attained the free military occupational specialty of combat artist.

Combat artist is a free military occupational specialty that can be filled by any Marine regardless of primary MOS in addition to their regular duties. They illustrate military operations on behalf the Marine Corps’ historical collection efforts as their schedule allows and is intended to capture military operations from an organic point of view.

“Once I realized I could combine my passion [and] skill for art and my calling to serve in the USMC, I was immediately inspired to see my military experience as medium to be illustrated,” said Baumann. “My initial body of work that was submitted as a portfolio was praised by people I respected and admired as veteran artists, which had a huge impact on my self-confidence and determination to develop my skill.”

Reynolds is currently applying to join Baumann as a combat artist for the Marine Corps Combat Art Program.

“I can directly attribute my desire to become a combat artist to the influence of Marine Corps Combat Artists like Capt. Baumann and former Staff Sgt. Elize Mcelvey,” said Reynolds. “Just as in marksmanship, if you have the foundational understanding of what is supposed to happen and have the ability to receive and grow from constructive criticism, you can consistently get better with more practical application.”

“Just as in marksmanship, if you have the foundational understanding of what is supposed to happen and have the ability to receive and grow from constructive criticism, you can consistently get better with more practical application.”

Capt. Michael Reynolds, Ammunition officer

Baumann was coached early on by Fay, Streeter and Richard Johnson, a civilian field illustrator, to draw from observation and life-to-life experiences. Once he grasped the concept of illustrating by direct observation, new opportunities came with the confidence to draw what he observed in person. He now keeps a sketch pad and camera on hand for any opportunities that may arise worth illustrating.

“I hope my art is able to connect with the viewer in an emotional and personal way,” expressed Baumann. “I want my civilian audience to gain an appreciation for the details of what it means to serve in the military. I feel like I can provide an insider perspective as both the illustrator and active-duty service member.”

Reynolds shares what he hopes to accomplish with his art.

“When observing artwork by former Marine Corps combat artists like retired Chief Warrant Officer Mike Fay, I’m brought back into the scene I’m looking at,” said Reynolds. “I recall the smell of JP8, the feel of moondust beneath my boots, and the sounds of the rumbling engine of the Humvee in the distance. It’s that level of connection that I am to achieve in hopes that someday, someone can recall and connect with what I’ve illustrated to tell a story using non-verbal communication.”

The NMMC is currently taking applications from artistically talented Marines to serve as combat artists. For more information on the program and how to apply, refer to MARADMIN 267/22.

Sgt Jesula Jeanlouis, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

Low-Cost Tech Shaping Modern Battlefield, SOCOM Commander Says?

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

ASPEN, Colo. — In his 38 years as a soldier, across theaters ranging from the Middle East to Europe, the commander of Special Operations Command says he never had to look up. But those days are ending.

“I never had to look up because the U.S. always maintained air superiority,” Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke said during a discussion Friday at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. “We won’t always have that luxury,” he added.

Low-cost quadcopters and larger unmanned aerial vehicles are disrupting the status quo as militaries and insurgents increasingly rely on them, the general said.

“When Russia is running out of them for Ukraine, and they’re going to Iran to go buy more, [that] should cause us all a bit of concern because you can see how valuable that they can be in the future fight,” he said.

U.S. and partner forces have largely focused on ways to defeat enemy drones after takeoff, but Clarke said there is also a need for interagency discussions on ways to disrupt supply chains to prevent them from taking off.

But first, there must be a discussion on norms and authorities for their use, he said. With a “very low” cost of entry for some of the small unmanned systems, the general said some countries may want to use drones to move patients or supplies. Medical transport vehicles are protected under the Geneva Conventions.

Chemical, Biological Weapons

Clarke said the Defense Department has charged Socom with looking at another threat that is inexpensive to produce and use — chemical and biological weapons.

ISIS used chlorine and mustard gases in Iraq and Syria, he said. Russia has used chemical weapons against its political allies — on its own soil and elsewhere, Clarke added.

“The fact that someone in the basement in Mosul [Iraq] with a few lab sets can do this,” proved that it’s a simple process to create these weapons, the general said. Chemical and biological weapons are a terrorist weapon system, he said, and ISIS and al-Qaida will continue to use them because they instill fear.

“As we go into the future, we have to be prepared for that eventuality … and look for methods to continue to combat it,” Clarke said.

Cyber Threats

Though U.S. officials have said government and other critical systems are receiving daily cyberattacks, the general said he’s equally concerned with the way adversaries are using cyber to exploit the information space.

Malign actors are spreading misinformation and disinformation online, and these have had an impact on elections, he said.

Misinformation is false or misleading information — a mistaken breaking news announcement, for example. Disinformation is meant to intentionally deceive the recipient.

Clarke said cyber gives adversaries a quick route to spread false information that can damage the U.S. cause.

“The message, if you look at the internet and what is happening from the African countries, its U.S. sanctions against Russia are causing food shortages in Africa,” the general said. “So we’re being blamed for people in Africa not getting to eat. … We have to look at what is on the internet and get the truth out about what is happening. And I think we have to be able to do that as a government a little bit faster than what we’re doing today.”

By Claudette Roulo, DOD News

SOFWERX Small Business Boot Camp

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

SOFWERX, in coordination with the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), will provide a forum for Small Businesses with technologies that support National Security Interests and/or the USSOCOM technology interest areas to learn more about doing business with USSOCOM.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will provide an overview of USSOCOM, as well as information on the basic components and requirements of working with the Department of Defense, and how to engage with USSOCOM. Additionally, there will be briefings from external support organizations that can help you shape and scale your business.

 The event will be held 24-25 August 2022.

Of you want to participate, RSVP NLT 17 August 2022 11:59 PM ET.

SOFWERX USSOCOM Innovation Foundry Event

Monday, July 25th, 2022

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T), will host the eleventh Innovation Foundry (IF11) Event, Operation FULL EXPOSURE, 27-29 September, 2022. The theme of IF11 will be “SOF Operations in a World of Omnipresent Sensor Networks.”

S&T Futures seeks to bring together U.S. and International Special Operations Forces (SOF), Industry, Academia, Government, and futurists in an exploration, design thinking, facilitated event to assist USSOCOM in decomposing future scenarios and missions.

The goal of the event is to develop concepts and approaches for the framework, technologies, infrastructure, and capabilities required to effectively conduct SOF operations in a world where omnipresent sensors track people, organizations, vehicles, and systems throughout their lives, at home and around the world in both the physical and virtual realms. In this effort, S&T Futures will be working with international S&T liaisons, USSOCOM staff, the USSOCOM Next-Generation Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Tactically Relevant Situational Awareness (NGISR/SA) Capability Focus Area (CFA), and Joint Staff Intelligence (J2).

Participants will use a fictional mission scenario that reflects the future operating environment with omnipresent sensor networks that are part of the civilian infrastructure. This scenario will also consider the potential for additional sensor networks emplaced by military and intelligence organizations who may be friendly, neutral, or adversaries. Participants will emphasize the opportunities and challenges related to these sensor networks and their resultant information products, reflecting the complex interplays of social, technological, political, and cultural factors as they might play out in the 2035 timeframe.

Interested parties must submit NLT 12 August 11:59 PM ET.

To learn more, visit SOFWERX.

US, Moroccan Special Forces Team Up For Inaugural Cyber Training

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

TIFNIT, Morocco – U.S. Army Soldiers with 3rd Special Forces Group (SFG) Tactical Information Support Center, Expeditionary Cyber Team 2, and Royal Moroccan Special Operations Forces (SOF) teamed up to conduct prototype cyber effects training during African Lion 22, June 26, 2022.

African Lion 22, U.S. Africa Command’s largest, premier, joint, annual exercise hosted by Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia, June 6 – 30, is a critical opportunity for members of the joint team to build and test their strategic readiness to deploy, fight and win in a complex, multi-domain environment. The cyber training collaboration was the first of its kind and sought to discover how low equity cyber solutions can expand options for key decision makers at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

The cyber effects training included hands-on cyber lab demonstrations using commercial tools and comparing them to less accessible high-tech devices. The lead 3rd SFG trainer described the hands-on training as an ‘opportunity to take cyber security to the field and into the mind of each Service Member in a combat situation.’

3rd SFG endeavors to learn, iterate, and eventually offer flexible cyber options at scale while maximizing the indigenous approach through partner forces.

“By actually shifting the focus of training to the modern combat environment, which is now becoming rapidly digital, you create a more potent, lethal force, moving into the future,” stated a member of 3rd SFG.

Building an understanding of multi-domain digital activities would allow U.S. and partner forces to work with more sustainable equipment and better understand digital threats to their missions.

U.S. Africa Command is ready to provide the necessary resources to advance mutual interests and respond to crisis in Africa because of successfully forged and maintained partnerships and demonstrated operational success.

African Lion 22 is a joint all-domain, multi-component, and multinational exercise, employing a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among participants and set the theater for strategic access. More than 7,500 participants from 28 nations and NATO train together with a focus on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces.

Story by Charli Turner, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

Photo by SFC Katie Theusch, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa