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SOF Week: USSOCOM seeks commercial solutions for contested environments

8th May 2023 - 17:01 GMT | by Flavia Camargos Pereira in Tampa


New solutions are expected to be used from the tactical unit up to senior leadership levels. (Photo: USSCOM).

The priority is accessing systems and technologies that can improve the communication and decision-making process and enable operations in contested scenarios.

To enable SOF teams to overcome current and future threats and perform their tasks better, the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is seeking commercial solutions to be deployed from the tactical unit to senior leadership levels.

The goal is to access systems and technologies that can improve the communication and decision-making process and enable operations in contested scenarios.

Speaking to Shephard at the SOF Week exhibition in Tampa (Florida), Lisa Sanders, USSOCOM S&T director, explained that several tools in the commercial world could provide operational advantages to special operators and help them to solve military problems.

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In her opinion, there is not a single technology or equipment that can match all the current SOF teams’ needs. In this sense, the most disruptive solutions are expected to be multifunction and provide intersections between diverse systems and technologies.

It is about ‘how can I use the kind of processing chips that were developed for cell phones, in combination with the shared information and shared sensing, that’s everywhere, putting some analytics on top of that, in order to help me understand what is not normal in an environment’, Sanders noted.

USSOCOM is also interested in solutions featuring an open systems architecture as it can provide several acquisition and maintenance benefits in terms of costs in addition to facilitating future upgrades and improvements.

Another relevant area for SOF teams is related to human performance assessment and comprises the need to identify technologies that enable operators to perform their mission more effectively while maintaining their physical and mental health, endurance and resiliency.

In order to achieve all those goals, the USSOCOM has been closely working with the industry and plans to strengthen even more this partnership by reducing regulatory obstacles and facilitating joint efforts.

‘I need to understand where we are causing a burden on those industry partners that have the disruptive ideas, that have different ways of thinking, that realize that there are opportunities for dual-use technology but struggle with the bureaucracy of working with the government. Please, come and let us know where those barriers are’, Sanders claims.

USSOCOM also conducts Technical Experimentation (TE) with government, academia, and private industry representation in order to provide opportunities for technology developers to interact with the SOF community.

The next TE events are scheduled for June ​5-9 in ​Red Springs (North Carolina), with a focus on information advantage/dominance, and December ​24-1, in Little Creek (Virginia), concentrated on systems/combat diving.

Flavia Camargos Pereira


Flavia Camargos Pereira

Flavia Camargos Pereira is a North America editor at Shephard Media. She joined the company …

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