Diverse technologies hit the fast track.
The organization largely responsible for introducing robots on the battlefield now plans to field a miniaturized ground robot, a small unmanned aircraft, a Special Forces robotic exoskeleton and a host of other advanced technologies in an effort to combat terrorism around the world. The office identifies and develops cutting-edge counter terrorism technologies for the
The Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) was established in 1999 by the
Game-changing systems may be the norm at the CTTSO, but it is more than technology that makes the office successful, according to
The CTTSO faces two kinds of challenges-materiel and process, Lumpkin says. "When I talk about the process challenges, we have to think about what's in the art of possible. Twenty-five years ago, Predator was a solution looking for a problem to solve. We were able to find a requirement that it fit very nicely with," he recalls.
The CTTSO largely was responsible for deploying the TALON robot to the combat theater in 2004, where it proved pivotal in grappling with the threat posed by improvised explosive devices. "I used it when I was in
The TALON, built by
The MTGR is being deployed rapidly to Special Operations Forces, multipurpose forces,
The system will continue global operational test and evaluations through fiscal 2015. "That Micro Tactical Ground Robot is an amazing program that we leveraged from a previous CTTSO development of the TALON robot. These are small robots that do intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as explosive ordnance disposal," Lumpkin reports. "We're able to work with industry, provide some seed money, bring folks together and leverage the resources across agencies."
In April, Lumpkin accompanied Sen.
The CTTSO also is developing the Enhanced Modular-Wing Micro Tactical Unmanned Aerial System. Also known as ArrowLite, the system can operate both day and night, survive harsh environmental conditions and fly continuously for several hours. It provides interagency Special Operations Forces with an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability that can be hand assembled and launched within 60 seconds by a single tactical operator. It includes an encrypted mobile ad hoc network data-link, so it also can serve as a tactical communications relay. It can fly at dash speeds of more than 50 knots and weighs less than seven pounds. "The ArrowLite is redefining unmanned aerial aviation at the tactical edge to combat terrorism through its high-definition and versatile intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities," Lumpkin states.
The CTTSO is helping Special Operations Command develop the Tactical Light Operator Suit (TALOS), which some have dubbed the Iron Man suit.
Future game-changing technologies in the fight against terrorists will include advanced analytics, biosurveillance and body armor, Lumpkin predicts. "Our inability to predict consequences of courses of action on stability of specific groups and individuals in a specific region or country has limited our ability to respond in a timely manner to complex situations," he says, citing
The CTTSO's Model Predictive Control Enabled Analysis and Planning project applies engineering adaptive control theory to computer decision models to predict potential secondand third-order effects. It will allow decision makers to identify multiple courses of action while also providing the flexibility to modify or fine-tune operations throughout a campaign. "This approach addresses longstanding requirements involving campaign planning, measures of effectiveness for influence operations and understanding impacts of courses of action on nonkinetic effects and social network dynamics," he explains.
The Special Operations Command is planning to conduct a war game in October with the
Regarding biosurveillance, CTTSO is executing two projects on behalf of two different government organizations. Biosurveillance is a process to aggregate, integrate and analyze information that may pertain to disease activities. "Current biosurveillance systems rely on analysis of data regarding illness reported at health centers, prescription drug sales and other relevant data. The current process of detecting an event of interest can take days, and in the case of a covert bioterrorism event, even longer," Lumpkin offers. The projects will better enable the government to conduct biosurveillance activities, enabling early warning of biological events.
They also will support enhanced situational awareness through rapid identification, characterization, localization, monitoring and tracking. "The biosurveillance systems are currently in developmental stages, and it is envisioned that, upon further advancement of these novel systems, we will soon be able to detect, identify and respond to an event within a 24-hour time period," Lumpkin states.
For body armor, CTTSO officials envision a product that protects a greater area of the body without increasing thickness or weight. The CTTSO's Personnel Protection subgroup is currently in the final stages of the source selection to award a contract in this fiscal year, he reports.
The CTTSO holds an annual "threat day" to help determine requirements and priorities, Lumpkin reveals. "We basically work with everybody and understand what we see as the global threats," he says. Threat day is followed by an industry day to discuss the counter-terrorism needs with vendors.
As the terrorist organizations adapt, partnerships become increasingly important. "
"The goal is to prevent an
CTTSO Focus Areas
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives
Explosive Ordnance Disposal/ Low-Intensity Conflict
Improvised Device Defeat
Investigative and Forensic Science
Irregular Warfare Support
and Operations Support
Tactical Operations Support
Training Technology Development
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