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US Army’s NGIA integrating multiple domain sensors for situational awareness

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM) is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Component Commands of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force of the United States Armed Forces. USSOCOM conducts several covert and clandestine missions, such as direct action, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, psychological warfare, civil affairs, and counter-narcotics operations. Each branch has a Special Operations Command that is unique and capable of running its own operations, but when the different special operations forces need to work together for an operation.


In intelligence usage,  A target is a country, area, installation, agency, or person against which intelligence operations are directed. Targets include mobile and stationary forces, equipment, and facilities that an enemy commander can use to conduct operations. Targeting is the process of selecting and prioritizing targets and matching the appropriate response to them considering operational requirements and capabilities (JP 3-0). The emphasis of targeting is on identifying enemy resources (targets) that if destroyed or degraded will contribute to the success of the friendly commander’s mission


Successful targeting requires that the commander synchronize information-related capabilities,
intelligence, maneuver, fire support systems, nonlethal effects, and special operations forces
to attack and eliminate critical target(s) using the most effective system in the right time and
place. Targeting is a complex and multidiscipline effort that requires coordinated interaction
among many command and staff elements.


D3A consists of four functions: Decide which targets to engage; Detect the targets; Deliver the appropriate effects (conduct the operation); Assess the effects of the engagement(s). The decide function draws heavily on the staff’s knowledge of the enemy, (to include their tactics, culture, and ideology), a detailed intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB), and continuous assessment of the situation.


A FedBizOpps notice posted in April 2022 says the Next Generation Identification and Awareness Initiative looks to establish a network of companies and nonprofit organizations to develop technology prototypes for the integration of multiple domain sensors designed to collectively obtain data on actions, identities and locations.


It is looking for special technical capabilities for Tagging, Tracking, and Locating of High Value Individuals and Targets (HVI&T). The U.S. Army is seeking potential sources of standoff biometric sensor, data fusion and remote sensor emplacement and control platforms that could support U.S. Special Operations Command mission. The program will explore ground-based and multispectral sensors that work to process biometric information, as well as tools that autonmously manage standoff sensors. Another focus area of the initiative is specialized technology designed to help users gain actionable insights from data through ingestion, visualization and analysis processes.


Generation Identification and Awareness Initiative (NGIA). NGIA is established to meet requirements in the following focus areas:

Focus Area 1: TAGGING, TRACKING AND LOCATING (TTL): Having knowledge of when, where and what the enemy is doing is crucial to mission planning and eventual success. USASOC is looking to fill technology gaps in special technical capabilities for Tagging, Tracking, and Locating of High Value Individuals and Targets (HVI&T). Tailored solutions should provide Over The Horizon (OTH) and Line of Sight (LOS) day and night target tracking capabilities for extended periods, in all terrain/weather conditions, using ground based, airborne, or satellite receive methods. Specific desired characteristics include LPI/LPD communications, non-traditional means of exfiltration, and ability to survive in austere, near/peer operational environments.


Focus Area 2: RECONNAISSANCE & SURVEILLANCE (R&S): USASOC must provide operators with the ability to gain intelligence in areas that are not easily accessible due to terrain/weather restrictions, political sensitivities, and hostile forces. Special, unattended ground base sensors will provide, “orbits without orbits”, giving commanders situational awareness where traditional ISR systems are either non-existent or units are operating in unfamiliar environments where traditional collection may fail. Specific efforts that include OTH Audio/Video sensors, novel sensor modalities, and passive audio, machine vision object recognition sensors and can bypass adversarial countermeasures are highly desirable.


Focus Area 3: UNMANNED SYSTEMS (UMS): Remotely controlled ground and aerial based systems have become a significant contested technology focus area for USASOC. Multiple solutions are required for the US military to win in the next fight. The solutions include the creation of denied/degraded GPS, anti-RF C2 link jamming capabilities that are manufactured by US companies using parts, and able to be integrated on group 1 and/or group 2 UAS. Additionally, we require the ability to manage and reduce the RF control link signature in order to protect the UAS from opposition EW exploitation. Autonomy is increasingly important and will allow operators to keep focus on mission tasks and decrease the amount of “eyes on screen” time required to operate remotely controlled drones, reducing troop to task requirements. With the increased proliferation of commercial and enemy drone platforms, the ability to deny, control, exploit and counter those platforms is required to survive in the current and future operating environment.


The NGIA’s purpose is to form a sphere of technological excellence made up of participants from industry, non-profit organizations, and not-for-profit entities able to rapidly and efficiently propose and carry out, the development of prototype solutions that sustain and expand strategic superiority within broadly stated special operations focus areas of interest.



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