Armor & Mobility

MAY 2016

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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tacticaldefensemedia.com 16 | May 2016 | Armor & Mobility | Unmanned Tech Solutions SOF Leadership Roundtable Q&A restructure created small highly trained units of action capable of developing unique options for decision makers and joint force commanders in contested environments. The restructure also created planning detachments capable of augmenting Theater Special Operations Command campaign planning efforts, with emphasis on special warfare. We have also established 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) as an Army Division-like headquarters tasked with operational missions and force provider responsibilities. The restructure also established an organic Military Intelligence Battalion and two new staff directorates, Inf luence and the Office of Special Warfare, within 1st SFC (A). These changes allow 1st SFC (A) to field a deployable and scalable headquarters to synchronize SOF effects for joint force commanders. In fact, that headquarters is currently deployed and serves as the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. Additionally, each of the five Active Duty Special Forces groups restructured their existing 4th Battalions, creating units of action designed to assist in understanding, defining, and preparing the operating environment. Ultimately, these capabilities add options to the USASOC portfolio of forces designed to address trans-regional threats. In addition, we continue to empower decentralized mission command, including developing common operating picture and situational awareness via handheld data, blue force tracking systems, and secure communications. We are increasing ARSOF clandestine and low visibility technology such as mobility platforms, weapons systems, and communications technology. It is also important that we better integrate IT networks across organizational and institutional boundaries and streamline resourcing and capability development processes to be more agile and adaptive in these complex, hybrid threat situations. We have done a lot of hard work to that end. Additionally, cyber-based technology has become more important in conf lict and in activities to inf luence vulnerable populations and governments. Cyber security is becoming more and more difficult to guarantee. This is true not only within and among state actors, but among non-state and trans-regional actors, as well. Realizing this, USASOC is working to better counter threat communications, inf luence, and operational planning and execution in the cyber realm. We also are developing capabilities and partnerships to better protect friendly networks from advanced cyber threats. And, in our role as the Nation's premier unconventional warfare force, we are evolving our ability to integrate cyber capabilities into inf luence operations, digital deception, and communication disruption. We are taking steps to ensure that our forces are properly equipped to perform their missions and meet the challenges of the future operating environment. That includes procuring mobility systems that are agile enough to quickly deploy, resilient enough to operate in austere environments, and require minimal maintenance and logistics. We are also developing and procuring C2 and intelligence technologies that improve the speed and ease with which we process and synthesize information at the tactical and operational levels. We are working to advance our communications and intelligence systems to facilitate rapid collective understanding of the environment, adversarial actions, and emerging threats. And we are cultivating systems and processes that enable operator and leader level decision making in the field and at home station. In terms of education and training, we took a hard look at our existing foundational documents and have better codified ARSOF doctrine and education for Foreign Internal Defense, Counter- Insurgency, Counter-Terrorism and support to resistance movements. We continue to improve and adapt our basic and advanced training courses and unit pre-mission training. We also understand that education gives our operators the intellectual tools they need to provide an accurate appreciation of the environment. We are investing in education initiatives that prepare operators to establish strong relationships with host nation partners using advanced language, regional expertise, and cultural capabilities. Our education programs train operators to rapidly integrate into, understand, and excel within ambiguous environments, whether those programs are part of our training pipeline, part of professional military education, or a joint initiative with civilian institutions. AFSOC Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold Commanding General U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) A&M: What are your principal strategic objectives and how will you achieve them? Lt. Gen. Heithold: Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) is already set on the path to continue to provide the geographic combatant commanders with the highly skilled Airmen and aircraft capable of conducting sustained combat and crisis operations worldwide. In addition to transforming training, we are also placing great emphasis on putting the best equipment available in the hands of our warfighters. As the global security situation continues to evolve the demand for our unique capabilities grows. This is compounded by the increasing need to operate with more precision in a battle space that is constantly shrinking. History has shown that forces with the most advanced technology hold a tactical advantage over their adversary. With this concept in mind, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board has partnered with AFSOC to conduct a study on the utility of placing a High Energy Laser on the AC-130 gunship. This study, due in the spring of 2016, will validate the concept of combining directed

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