US Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM’s) Hyper Enabled Operator (HEO) concept will focus on the support of partnering and unconventional warfare operations, service officials disclosed this week.
Addressing delegates at the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) on 12 May, USSOCOM Director of the HEO Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), Colonel Ryan Barnes described how the HEO would provide the internet of things (IoT) and data analytics to operators at the ”edge”.
Hyper Enabled Operators could soon be supported by rear echelon command and control stations featuring machine learning algorithms designed to enhance decision-making processes.
Reiterating the JATF’s latest mission statement, Barnes described the current focus of the programme is to “enable partner nation operations competing below the level of armed conflict … using commercial/government off-the-shelf [COTS/GOTS] sensors and communications devices on an industry based architecture to increase shared awareness of the battlespace.
“We are looking to do that in partner nation operations and unconventional warfare scenarios, which all ties back to the National Defense Strategy,” Barnes added.
He noted that advanced analytics generated on board the operator could be processed and exploited at a “higher echelon” before being returned to the operator in near real-time to assist in situation awareness and the decision-making process.
Specific lines of effort include: “Operator Worn Computer Kit; sensors and edge computer processing; application development; software-defined, mission, and hardware agnostic architecture; human machine interfaces; information realisation; and beyond line of sight communications”.
According to USSOCOM Acquisition Executive Jim Smith, partnering operations can be limited by language translation as well as voice to text and text to voice capabilities.