Annex F. Special Operations Technology
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


B. Technology Program

To execute the MFP-11 responsibilities for technology development, USSOCOM has developed a Technology Development Program that is comprised of the following efforts, as well as the leveraging and influencing of technology thrusts ongoing in defense-related research programs, entitled: Special Operations Technology Development (SOTD), which concentrates on exploratory development and technology studies; Special Operations Special Technology (SOST), which concentrates on advanced engineering development and rapid prototyping; SOF Medical Technology Development (MED-TECH), which does studies on basic exploratory medical technologies centering on physiologic, psychologic, and ergonomic factors to enhance the ability of SOF operators to better perform their missions; Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR); and Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP), which explores the tactical use and interface with national systems/ architectures.

The principal driver of USSOCOM's Technology Development Program evolves around a list of prioritized Technology Development Objectives (TDOs). This prioritization reflects the SOF's command and field perspective of their operational deficiencies and future capability needs, and typically requires either a new technology application or an advanced technology demonstration. The TDOs are required by DoD Instruction 5000.2. They are developed jointly by the USSOCOM staff and its four components, are reviewed and, if necessary, updated every two years in conjunction with the POM process, and are officially approved by USCINCSOC. These TDOs provide focus to the command--as well as to technologists, engineers, and industry representatives--on areas of technology that potentially can address SOF operational deficiencies and meet future requirements or operational capability objectives for USSOCOM. They are used as the foundation for selecting USSOCOM technology projects and to influence service/agency technology efforts. They also assist with resource allocation decisions to support technology-based projects and studies. In an abbreviated form these TDOs are denoted as follows:

(1) Weapons of Mass Destruction
(2) Individual Survivability
(3) Sensors
(4) Power Sources
(5) Mobility Platforms
(6) C4I
(7) Information Warfare
(8) Countermine and Demining
(9) Targeting and Tracking
(10) Weapons and Munitions
(11) Simulation and Training

A wide and diverse set of concepts or systems is required to satisfy the deficiencies within each TDO. However, the following general characteristics that are particularly important to SOF operators pervade across multiple concept/system requirements: lightweight, small, rugged, minimal signature, lethal, survivable, maintainable, and affordable.

The following is a more complete description of each of the USSOCOM TDOs, along with a narrative of the types of technologies that are important in reducing the SOF shortcomings in these combat and non-combat functional areas.