Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2018 Contents sessions and white paper solicitations that there were a whole
host of capabilities that are truly novel approaches, that really
pushed us to say, hey, let’s take it to the next level and see this
in action. And that’s what led to the burn-off events. The other
success story is AI for electronic warfare. We thought that this
would be a long-term type of action for the RCO, but after
discussing some of the capabilities at one of our open-door
sessions, we’re pushing hard to integrate it to support require-
ments for deployed forces. We believe we can bring AI in and
it will begin to help reduce the cognitive burden and workload
on electronic warfare officers.
Other efforts we’re looking at now are long-range fires and loi-
tering space munitions. Loitering munitions are similar to UAVs
[unmanned aerial vehicles], but are also munitions that can loi-
ter in a space until a target is identified. Loitering munitions are
already on station and can attack without calling in an airstrike
This all happened by chance. We were having discussions about
other technical areas and this came up, and we brought it back
to RCO leadership, who wanted to explore it more. That’s one
of the benefits of having us out there: You can identify solutions
you didn’t think were on the front burner and were still several
years away. Truly, this is what the ETO is meant to do.
If an industry partner has an idea they want to share with
the ETO, where do they start?
We encourage everyone to visit our website (http://rapid
capabilitiesoffice.army.mil/eto/) or LinkedIn page (ht tp s : //
w w w.linkedin.com/company/us-army-RCO). We use both
of these sites for outreach and are continually updating them
with any current events, upcoming efforts, R FIs [requests for
information] and more. In addition, we are part of SOCOM’s
tech scouting database Vulcan. This enables any company
with access to submit commercial technology. The database
is not just sorted into an RCO category, or SOCOM entries,
but instead the technology is shared so any government orga-
nization looking for technology for, say, PNT, can search it
and see what pops up. It is meant to be collaborative and to
break down silos. The link to our submission into Vulcan is
through our website, on the ETO page, by clicking on Submit
Is the ETO evolving as the mission of the RCO begins to
expand beyond electronic warfare, PNT and AI?
It is evolving and will continue to evolve. I see it as a living
organization that will continue to meet whatever the needs of
the RCO and Army are. It’s already evolved from the days of
just being an ombudsman, being that filter, to now doing these
small bets in different areas, trying to test drive capabilities and
really putting ourselves out there. We are always looking at what
the next big focus might be for the Army. It can change rapidly.
For example, we could begin looking at capabilities to support
megacity operations. With these operations, you have to think
about it differently, thinking about how you use PNT while on
a clearing mission of a 100-story building versus a movement
and maneuver in an open space; being able to communicate
with folks in subway tunnels or wherever it might be. It’s much
harder to communicate through traditional means [in these
situations], and we are looking at how we can deliver prototypes
to deployed forces in these areas more rapidly.
Any set goals for the next 12-15 months?
By the end of the year, I would like to see a clear transition path
for whatever comes out of those small bets we’re placing. I really,
truly believe there are capabilities out there today that could
help provide enhanced function to either electronic warfare or
PNT in helping achieve a rapid capability to support deployed
forces. And we are starting to see some of those transition paths
build now. Already, in just a few short months, the RCO fielded
initial mounted and dismounted electronic warfare prototypes
to forces in Europe that are helping them detect and under-
stand enemy activity in the electromagnetic spectrum. We’ll
continue along this path by upgrading those prototypes based
on user feedback, while also focusing on what’s next. What
capability gap will combatant commanders come to us with
next, and how can we move quickly enough so that we are not
caught without a rapid solution?
For more information, go to http://rapidcapabilitiesoffice.army.
mil/eto/ or http://rapidcapabilitiesoffice.army.mil.
MS. NANCY JONES-BONBREST is a staff writer for Data
Systems Analysts Inc., providing contract support to the Army
Rapid Capabilities Office. She holds a B.S . in journalism from
the University of Maryland, College Park. She has covered Army
modernization for several years, including multiple training and
36 Army AL&T Magazine
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