Advanced Technologies High on Navy Special Warfare Wish List

January 25, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Technology has a prominent role in the wish list for U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command (NSW). These advances will be necessary for the NSW to carry out its mission in the new defense strategy, as described by the NSW's commander, Rear Adm. Sean A. Pybus, USN. Speaking in the Wednesday plenary address at West 2012 in San Diego, Adm. Pybus said the command wants better intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors, payloads and platforms. The command also needs to be able to communicate in a contested environment anywhere in the world, including through adversary electronic warfare. The admiral noted that while the command relied on other U.S. military assets for those capabilities in the past, "the chessboard is changing" as U.S. deployed forces are reduced in number through drawdowns. "We need to give SOFs [special operations forces] a winning advantage when they are in a contested environment far from home," he said. Other technologies include individual soldier systems for personal self defense, and a "thick network" to serve small groups in hostile areas. Situational awareness in which SOFs can network "to understand the situation on the ground in detail" also is on the admiral's wish list. Adm. Pybus admitted that the research, development, test and evaluation budget will be constrained. "We will continue to invest in these [technology] areas, but not at past levels," he allowed. The NSW will selectively consider startup or new technologies, but it will be limited in its ability to perform technology assessments as it has in the past.

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