LandWarNet 2011: USSOCOM boss issues C4ISR wish-list
The commander of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Adm William McRaven has revealed his wish-list for the future of special operations communications.
Addressing delegates at the LandWarNet conference in Tampa on 24 August, the former commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) described communications as one of the tactical problems encountered in the joint operations environment and issued a six-strong hit list of requirements.
First, he called for a 'Universal Domain' which would allow him to pick up an 'iPhone or my Android and communicate with all those folks we talk about and not worry about security protocol'.
McRaven suggested a colour-coded solution which would see computers automatically scanning messages and disseminating to the relevant security-cleared personnel.
'How do you use artificial intelligence to tell me if that information is classified? That to me is a universal domain and [without it], slows up the way we communicate,' he said.
Following on, McRaven challenged industry to help him receive and understand the information in a more efficient manner. Certain software, he said, had helped his ability to receive information but this was still 'not good enough'.
Describing how USSOCOM conducted some 210 video teleconferences a day, McRaven stated how important they were to his job, saying: 'Teleconferences are critical to how I get my job done but I was only ingesting 50 per cent of the information. We can't afford to have that.'
He also called for an 'Enterprise Cloud'- a platform independent system allowing operators to 'reach out and get the information I need from anywhere around the globe. It's important that all users can access the cloud,' he urged.
Finally, McRaven requested a full-spectrum search engine to include top-secret down to unclassified information in order to 'get me the information I need'. In addition, he called for such a database to include 'ironclad protection' over and above existing protect cards and biometrics identification.
Regarding sending and receiving of intelligence, McRaven said USSOCOM required 'more clarity' and said full motion video and still pictures needed to be 'crystal-clear'.
This, he continued, also applied to identification of enemy fighters: 'Is that a Taliban fighter with an RPG or an old man with a wood cutter? The last thing you want to do in counter-insurgency is to kill a civilian. Target flows are absolutely critical,' he observed.
'The global nature of special operations forces makes us a little bit unique. But our 24/7 cycle from C2 to operations is not a linear process for us. This is happening every single day around the globe at all levels,' he reiterated.
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