Tag Archives: SOF

SOF Acquisition: Streamlining Processes to Maximize Readiness

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An interview with the Special Forces’ acquisition executive James Geurts.

A&M: How well does the acquisition structure you have in place work in terms of ensuring U.S. Special Forces get the equipment they need, when they need it, no matter where they are? 

Geurts: The structure works exceedingly well. The direct line of communications between the SOCOM Commander and me, as the Acquisition Executive, leading the Special Operations Research, Development, and Acquisition Center (SORDAC) team, streamlines the process for systems acquisition and ensures a thorough and complete understanding of the Commander’s guidance and intent. This directly translates into the accelerated fielding of the Special Operations Forces (SOF)-unique systems and equipment which provide our operators with the capabilities required to accomplish their assigned missions. It also allows me to continually shape SORDAC so that it is synchronized and responsive to dynamic SOF operational needs.

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Reducing Threats Through Vigilance

Portrait of COM NSHQ, NSHQ SEA  (NATO photo/Sgt. Emily Langer, DEU Army)

A&M Editor Kevin Hunter was privileged to speak with Vice Admiral Sean Pybus, NATO SOF Commander, regarding his perspective on today’s changing role for Special Forces in the face of growing European insecurity, particularly in Ukraine.

A&M: Please speak to some general challenges NATO SOF faces in securing the alliance’s perimeter.

VADM Pybus: Today’s security environment is a dynamic and dangerous one, no doubt. Threats run the gamut from high-end industrial warfare to insidious insurgencies, and now include the cyber domain across the spectrum. With regard to Europe and the larger neighbourhood, the Mediterranean Rim is on fire on the eastern and southern edges. Conflict and instability in these areas enable violent extremists, criminals, and migrants to act in ways that challenge or threaten European nations. In Ukraine, an aggressive Russia has NATO on edge and reminds us of Article Five of the Washington Treaty, which obligates the Alliance to defend any attack on one of our NATO members.

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An Evolutionary Vision

Army Special Ops Looks to the Future Armed with Lessons Learned from the Past

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By USASOC Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) is the Army component of the Joint Special Operations Command. Among the most diverse organizations in the U.S. military, USASOC brings a broad range of competencies and disciplines to support geographic combatant commanders and ambassadors worldwide. Established in 1989 to enhance the readiness of Army special operations forces, USASOC’s mission is twofold: organize, train, and equip Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) units and soldiers and deploy them worldwide to meet the requirements of war plans, geographic combatant commanders, and ambassadors.

Over the past 12 years, the lessons USASOC learned from Iraq and Afghanistan led to the creation of a strategic framework for change called ARSOF 2022. This blueprint focuses on specific areas that needed improvement to better enable theater special operations commands and joint force commanders to conduct SOF campaigns worldwide.

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SOCOM’s TALOS: Build It Fast, Build It Right

A prototype for DARPA’s Warrior Web program, which aims to develop a soft, lightweight undersuit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve soldiers’ ability to efficiently perform their missions. Similar to SOCOM’s TALOS program, DARPA wants to create a working prototype that significantly boosts endurance, carrying capacity, and overall effectiveness—all while using no more than 100 watts of power. (DARPA)

SOCOM innovates acquisition to make TALOS a concrete concept and eventual reality.

By George Jagels

The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) has generated much attention over the past year, even though it does not yet exist. Dubbed the “Iron Man Suit” in reference to the comic book hero, TALOS is a U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) project to build a full-body system that improves survivability, physical performance, and situational awareness. It received $4 million in funding for FY 14.

ADM William McRaven, SOCOM Commander, conceived of the idea and has pushed it strongly. In May 2013, he asked industry to work with SOCOM to develop a “revolutionary capability” to include ballistic protection, sensors, computers, antennae, and an exoskeleton to help shoulder the load without inhibiting the operator. The command is also working with federal and academic research institutions on the project.

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Today’s Links

  • Time’s Battleland has an excellent obit for the USS Enterprise. After fifty years of service, the aircraft carrier is being retired. A sad day for some, but also comforting to know she worked hard and well for five decades.
  • The robotic mule is coming soon to a USMC squad near you! DARPA’s $54 million Legged Squad Support System (LS3), which mimics a mule, just completed a couple weeks of field testing and is no worse for the wear. Among many other great features, the LS3 can recharge batteries and follow basic commands (“sit!”).
  • In allies news, Japan will up its defense budget a bit, though it is still a very low share of GDP. Canada’s love-hate relationship with the F-35 continues to twist and turn: Ottawa claims it will have to use private companies and allies for mid-air refueling because it will not modify tankers for the job.
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