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USSOCOM Areas of Interest

Review the areas of interest to the right prior to submiting your idea / proposal to the Technology & Industry Liaison Office (TILO).

USSOCOM's Science and Technology Directorate also develops a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Advancement of Technologies in Equipment for Use by Special Operations Forces.

The BAA publication is normally posted during the 1st Quarter of each calendar year on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fbo.gov. The BAA contains current USSOCOM Technology Areas of Interest.

Aviation Systems

  • Degraded Visual Environment (DVE):

    Develop the ability to provide aircrews with situational awareness to avoid mishaps in cases of all-weather brown-out, white-out, and cable/obstacle warning. Preference is for lightweight, integrated, and multi-spectral sensor fusion with minimal A-kit impacts and fitting into existing onboard sensors. The DVE solutions should encompass all aspects of the flight profile to include takeoff, enroute, approach, and landing.
  • All weather/all terrain engagement:

    Technologies that allow all weather/all terrain air to ground munitions engagement.
  • First Pass Lethality:

    Technologies that rapidly acquire ballistic data for vastly increased accuracy of unguided weapon systems.
  • Radio frequency countermeasures:

    Radio frequency receivers and countermeasures that could provide significant improvement in threat avoidance and countermeasure capabilities for aircraft.
  • Infrared threat detection and countermeasures:

    Light weight systems that can detect IR guided threats and defeat the threat.
  • Operate in denied areas:

    Technologies to allow SOF platforms to operate in denied airspace (anti-jam GPS, threat avoidance, electronic warfare systems, LPI/LPD systems, etc.)
  • Reduced operator workload:

    Technologies to automate or reduce crew workloads inside aircraft.
  • Platform modular design with open systems architecture:

    Aircraft flight systems segregated from mission systems and use of commercial standards and open systems architecture as opposed to proprietary architectures and standards.
  • Enhanced situational awareness systems:

    Enhanced situational awareness systems for installation on manned aircraft, mature systems to provide battle space awareness and display capabilities.
  • Terrain awareness/alerting systems:

    Active and passive terrain awareness systems for installation on manned aircraft.
  • Aircraft display systems:

    High reliability NVIS compatible systems to potentially complement existing manned aircraft avionics and/or replace legacy displays. Systems that reduce glint and light escapement for increased survivability.
  • Hostile Fire Indicating System (HFIS):

    Develop a low power multi-spectral sensor suitable for detecting, classifying, and geo-locating various forms of incoming hostile fire to SOF aircraft.
  • Noise/Optical/IR/RF Signature Management:

    Develop technologies that provide various signature management capabilities that can be mission packaged or fully integrated onto the airframe.
  • Curved Transparent Armor:

    Develop a transparent armor solution that allows for curved surfaces, maintains optical qualities (both before and after ballistic impact), and weighs less than 8 pounds per square foot.
  • Simulation and training systems:

    Develop an IA compliant, federated multi-site collective training and SOF mission rehearsal system that links aviation simulators, training devices, mission monitor sites and operations centers in real time allowing true multi-aircraft, multi-organizational integrated training and rehearsal.
  • Advanced unmanned aircraft systems:

    Expeditionary, maritime, runway independent, unmanned aircraft systems with advanced capabilities that include: open system architecture, modular payloads (plug and play), encrypted digital data link, navigation, information dissemination, and integrated material matrix structures that provide increased protection, stealth, RF apertures, and electromagnetic suppression. Technologies that reduce size, weight, and power.

Biometrics and Forensics

  • Tactical biometric/forensic collection:

    Develop innovative low cost and man-portable techniques or technology in latent fingerprint collection, to include identification, imaging, and collection.
  • Tactical biometric data acquisition:

    Develop techniques that could package facial images and/or irises from media sources (photographs, videos, etc) into an Electronic Biometric Transmission Specification format that could be submitted, matched and stored in an authoritative database.
  • Identify explosive materials and sources:

    Develop a chemical technology and database that can identify the origin of an identified substance back to a source or geospatial location with a high level of accuracy, preferably using technologies already employed by SOF. Develop affordable technology that is capable of identifying trace and bulk materials with a high level of confidence. Test for chemistries of interest, such as explosives and narcotics, using mechanical, chemical, electronic, or a combination of mechanical, chemical and electronic schemes. The output of any device should be in a standard format that would be searchable.

Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4)

  • High Bandwidth Technologies:

    Secure communications with the capability for high bandwidth imagery full-motion video, sensor feeds, and multi-layered data bases. Provide high bandwidth information interfaces and services across the full spectrum of operating domains to include air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.
  • Conformal Multiband Antennas:

    Minimize size and space on aircraft, reduce damage during operations.
  • Advanced Antennas- Low Visibility/Low Profile:

    Antenna designs combining broad banded and great performance that have dismounted (light yet rugged), mounted, and fixed site applicability, but are visually difficult or impossible to distinguish from their mounted platform.
  • Secure mesh, self-forming mobile ad-hoc networks:

    Secure, robust accredited devices that allow for the establishment of secure self-forming, mobile ad-hoc networks interoperable with Joint SOF and Joint Services for dismounted SOF mobility platforms including unmanned systems and sensors.
  • Multi-level security systems and Advanced Processing Techniques:

    Systems that seamlessly operate in both clear and multiple level secure modes that allow SOF to transmit voice, data, and full motion video in near real time. These multi-level systems should allow dissemination of appropriate information down to the lowest possible levels to increase awareness of coalition and non-government partners which would provide SOF the ability to process, display, and disseminate diverse information sources.
  • Advanced multi-function software defined radios:

    Multi-purpose, fully integrated RF capability that can provide SOF-unique functional attributes. Systems should be developed as man-portable, hand-held system or for SOF Mobility platforms.
  • Advanced data management:

    SOF requires technologies that provide automatic data synchronization, fusion, mining, indexing and dissemination of data collected by widely dispersed SOF resources.
  • Advanced situational awareness in all environments:

    Develop capabilities that fuse ad correlate battlefield information from a variety of sources and display it in an accurate and shared common operational picture. This includes fusion of full motion video with other sources of information, visually displayed in near real time to significantly improve the opportunities for knowledge management and discovery during operations.
  • Next Generation C4:

    Develop selectable unsecure and secure robust and accredited multi-point communications that allow for self-forming, mobile ad hoc networks that are interoperable and enable connectivity for dismounted SOF, and ground, sea, and air manned and unmanned mobility platforms. Key equipment needs to include: Transmit and receive integrated voice, audio, data, visual, biometric/forensics, and optics information with intuitive means of operation, operating within current bandwidth frequencies; Secure communications with multiple selectable capabilities/permissions assigned by the operator; Battlefield information fused and displayed in an accurate and shared common operational picture; Reduced size and power while maintaining or exceeding the functionality of current equipment; Selectable and filtered actionable critical mission information.
  • Network analysis techniques:

    Grouping nodes, identifying local patterns, comparing and contrasting networks, groups, and individuals. Analysis of network changes through space and time with change detection techniques.
  • Geospatial pattern trends:

    Analytical technologies showing socio-cultural, economic and demographic factors.
  • Measure of effectiveness/performance analytical technologies:

    Provide defendable and repeatable processes, models, and measurement technologies that allow for the ability to detect changes in behavior or belief over time along with the associated factors that caused the changes. Including reporting of shifts in reaction to stimulus.
  • Role based access control:

    Provide an innovative approach to role based access control for the SOF enterprise that limits access to authorized users.
  • Advanced computer forensics tools:

    Automated software tools to perform digital forensics on computer systems (desktop, laptop, mobile). Detect changes to the standard configuration, to include the operating system and standard applications, and identify non-standard behavior.

Cyberspace Operations

  • Information assurance:

    Information assurance must be maintained throughout seamless, worldwide information enterprise systems that connect joint and coalition forces and other agencies. These enterprise systems must be capable of assuring information systems security while analyzing the networks, identifying and categorizing risk, and resolving potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Exploitation and counter-threat:

    Ability to globally identify, attribute, geo-locate, monitor interdict, and defend against threats to Computer Network Operations and Information Systems. Systems or tools that can autonomously and anonymously counter, defend, deny, incapacitate, confuse, access, influence, monitor, control, manipulate, disrupt, spoof or utilize adversary’s computer networks and communications systems while protecting SOF systems.

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

  • Advanced sensors including tagging, tracking and locating devices:

    Tactical to nano-scale systems that can provide a long duration, small form factor, clandestine capability for rapid identification of individuals and equipment at various distances. New capabilities for detecting, identifying and tracking targets based on unique observables such as, but not limited to, biometrics, radio communications, unique mechanical defects, and augmentation of natural signatures. New capabilities to modify existing indigenous technologies for use in tagging, tracking, and locating.
  • Multi-spectral systems:

    Multi-spectral digital electro-optics that have a range and resolution equal to day time but useful viewing in all environments and lighting conditions. Decrease in latency of ground systems to less than one millisecond from external activity to viewing by Operator. Decrease in latency of ground systems to less than one millisecond from Operator activity to external action. Miniaturization of Visual Augmentation Systems (VAS). Microbolometers or other thermal imagers that equals the performance of cooled thermal sensors but having reduce size, weight, cost, and power consumption of all cooled thermal sensors.
  • Through-wall sensing

  • Enhanced resolution sensors:

    Technologies that allow increased standoff distances improved resolution or better concealability over existing sensors.
  • Flexible mission suites:

    Technologies that allow roll on/roll off capabilities and rapidly reconfigurable mission suites to provide a flexible platform that can meet different mission needs. ISR platform architectures that segregate flight systems from payloads to allow rapid payload swaps without having to recertify the aircraft as flight worthy. Use of commercial standards and open systems architecture to reduce cost and schedule when adding new payloads.
  • Persistent surveillance:

    Long-duration surveillance capabilities that can rapidly disseminate operational information to key elements on the battlefield through a combination of manned an unmanned ISR to flexibly support the dynamic SOF mission set.
  • Wide area surveillance:

    Disseminate persistent wide area surveillance from the air, from the water, or from the ground by optimizing and incorporating a suite of sensor technologies to identify targets through foliage, thick vegetation, or triple canopy. Object of interest to survey include dismounted opponents, makeshift vehicles and vessels, expedient facilities to transient or hastily built structures of low-signature, non-reflective materials.
  • Ground sensor technologies:

    Sensors placed at ground level that have the following characteristics: Inconspicuous; Long duration with no intervention or maintenance required; Data transmission over several kilometers through heavy foliage, thick vegetation, mountain passes, or other types of natural and/or man made environments that block signals and/or Data transmission through heavy overhead foliage or thick vegetation via commercial SATCOM systems; tamper resistant; Capable of sensing ground vibration, human body heat, natural human electrical charges, and other electromagnetic emissions.
  • Hidden chamber detection:

    Develop a compact, man-portable device capable of detecting hidden chambers, persons, or material through dirt, masonry, water, etc. Develop an automated system for mapping inside and outside of buildings to aid in identifying hidden chambers. Device detection that can identify powered on or off electronic devices such as cell phones, computers, and others.

Irregular Warfare

  • Tailored virtual training for language and regional expertise:

    Provide the ability to more rapidly and effectively learn the language and cultural skills needed to effectively learn the language and cultural skills need to effectively operate in foreign operational environments. Train personnel and develop leaders to more effectively operate in support of host nation personnel.
  • Military Information Support to Operations (MISO) advanced multi-media techniques:

    Advanced multi-media communications techniques including the traditional domains (acoustic, radio, TV, print) and new media resources (sonic projection, scatterable/disposable speakers and media devices, internet, cable, mass cellular broadcasting [including Short Message Service, Multi-media Message Service, and voice], overt and covert holographic imaging [ground, air, space projection and, optical memory], and remotely updateable/trackable electronic paper) and the emerging social networking environment.
  • MISO measures of effectiveness:

    Planning and preparation support for cultural and behavioral modeling, including analysis, theme development and creating measures of effectiveness in operational environments. Provide defendable and repeatable processes, models, and measurement technologies and procedures that allow for the ability to detect changes in behavior or belief over time along with the associated factors that caused the changes, including reporting of shifts in reaction to stimulus.
  • MISO preparation of the environment/persistent engagement:

    Tactics, techniques, and procedures and enabling technologies (current or proposed) to allow MISO forces to prepare the operational environment during Phase 0 and maintain a persistent presence post operations.
  • Technologies to improve foreign capacities:

    Technologies to improve foreign capacities to effectively train, operate, maintain, and sustain their capabilities, within US policy.
  • Cellular exploitation (CELLEX) data acquisition:

    Develop a holistic, affordable CELLEX capability that can conduct all functions of cell phone exploitation.
  • Document and media exploitation (DOMEX) data acquisition:

    Develop affordable computer and digital media forensics software and tools that can forensically image media (hard drive, CD, Flash memory, etc). The untrained end user should be able to image media and do searches for items of interest using standard search tools for hashes, unique identifiers etc. They should also allow for the duplication of the forensic image.


  • Global treatment strategies:

    Research, apply and/or develop effective treatment strategies that address the following elements: hypotensive resuscitation, optimal fluid(s), uncomplicated shock, non-compressible hemorrhaging and traumatic brain injuries. These strategies must be optimized for patients in austere, far-forward areas who must be treated for extended periods (days, not hours).
  • Vital signs monitoring:

    Research, apply and/or develop novel concepts for miniaturized and ruggedized vital signs monitors (temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, capnography, and pulse oximetry) that capture data for later retrieval. Concepts should include an open architecture to allow for easier integration with other systems and applications.
  • Analgesia:

    Research, apply and/or develop novel peripherally and centrally acting analgesia that provide easy administration in the field, tolerance of extreme environments, and effectiveness at the point of injury for a prolonged period of field care (days, not hours) and does not sensitize the patient to topical analgesia. Maximum analgesia with minimal sedation is preferred.
  • Far forward blood:

    Novel strategies to increase the ease, efficacy, and safety of blood transfusion (i.e. person to person, pre-hospital blood banking, blood substitutes) forward of normal logistics support; e.g., evaluating blood for type/cross matching and for the presence of pathogens to include point of injury AB antibody titer. Projects may also include strategies to separate small amounts of plasma (.2-.5 ml) from a small (5ml) sample of fresh whole blood in austere conditions.
  • Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) Hazards:

    Develop novel methods and devices for rapid identification and analysis of exposures to OEH hazards. Research must support the development and analysis of hand held field hardened and environmentally stable monitoring devices, dosimetry, and assays for rapid on site identification, and analysis of media that could pose an OEH hazard to SOF personnel such as industrial contaminants, food borne pathogens, toxins, agents, and biological material exposures.
  • Optimal acclimatization strategy:

    Research, apply and/or develop novel approaches that provide rapid and sustainable human acclimatization for extremes in temperature, altitude and time change (circadian acclimatization).
  • High altitude pulmonary edema/high altitude cerebral edema:

    Research, apply and/or develop novel treatment approaches, either pharmaceutical interventions or alternative treatments, for high altitude pulmonary edema and /or high altitude cerebral edema.
  • Universal Antivenin:

    Research, apply and/or develop novel approaches that can be used for the treatment of undetermined envenomation; antivenin must be temperature stable, portable, easy to reconstitute, and require a reasonable/limited amount of training .
  • Canine Medicine:

    Explore alternatives and/or new approaches to preserve and enhance SOF canine combat performance. SOF medical personnel place a premium on canine-specific approaches that are effective in extreme environments and do not require significant additional logistical support (i.e. maximize use of available SOF Medic materiel). The five “Canine Medicine” project areas, to which SOF will give consideration, in priority order, are:
    • Trauma Resuscitation
    • Non-Traditional Anesthesia Protocols
    • Environmental Extremes
    • Pre and Post Trauma Training / Behavioral Issues
    • Sensory Optimization and Protection


  • Increased operational capacity and capabilities:

    Manned and unmanned mobility platforms the offer increase range, speed, payload, agility, reliability, and energy efficiency. Mobility platforms that reduce vehicle weight and size.
  • Reduce signature:

    Low and counter low observable technologies to reduce or confuse detection across the full spectrum of SOF manned and unmanned mobility platforms are required.
  • Advanced lightweight armor and materials:

    Lightweight, transparent ballistic armor for SOF platforms. Transparent ballistic armor systems should provide equal or increased protection over current systems without an increase in weight. The new systems should not impede crew vision or field of view both without or while using the night vision devices.
  • Advanced mobility platforms to access sensitive or denied areas:

    Mobility platforms with the capability to operate undetected and/or are indistinguishable from indigenous platforms. These platforms must provide a mobility advantage over threat by moving faster over terrain considered impassable.
  • Extend longevity of SOF mobility platforms:

    SOF vehicles are deteriorating at an unacceptable rate while in training or in actual operations. Better materials, coatings, or other means are needed for SOF Vehicles, equipment and systems to withstand the effects of harsh environments, corrosion, stress, fatigue, at reduced operating costs, and with little to no impact to the environment.
  • Dynamic ride mitigation:

    Current maritime craft and ground mobility vehicles use platform specific solutions to reduce the effects of shock. Occupants and equipment must endure short and long term effects from exposure to impact. A technology or combined technologies are needed to reduce the shock and stress to occupants and vehicles across a variety of speeds and terrain.
  • Combat swimmer platforms (surface and subsurface):

    Combat swimmer platforms allow operators to conduct maritime operations, including over the beach operations. A man-portable size/weight system that can be used on the surface or subsurface is desired. Other key attributes are increased power and variable speed control.

Power and Energy

  • Advanced power systems technologies for improved battery and other energy storage device capabilities for use by Special Operations Forces:

    Battery/ Fuel Cell/ Photovoltaic (Solar)/ Bio-Battery/ Human/ and Flex Fuel technologies (not an exhaustive list): Operationally “SAFE”, suitable and effective in the SOF user operational environment; Micro batteries (as small as possible); Weight: As light as possible; Power: Significantly increased energy densities for extended life capacity and mission durations for current or future SOF sensors/ devices; Significantly reduced recharge times in SOF operational environments; Must not create a thermal signature. Air independent systems, advanced fuel cells in confined/inhabited areas, and non-flammable battery technologies.
  • Design solutions that incorporate advanced power technologies and provide:

    • Centrally wearable power on dismount
    • Intelligent and highly efficient power and distribution management
    • Automatic power charging/recharging capability
    • Seamless integration for all powered subsystems
    • Novel power systems
  • Wireless power transmission:

    Wireless power transmission to recharge powered or stored devices without cables or physical contact.

Soldier Systems

  • Capability to carry heavier external loads, carry loads farther without fatigue and or carry external loads during sustained run or sprint.

  • Develop enhanced ability to overcome a wide variety of vertical and low obstacles.

  • Technologies that provide advanced adaptive environmental individual protection from cold, heat, altitude and CBRNE.

  • Enhanced capability to detect, locate and identify personnel at long range, day/night.

  • Advancements in imager and laser technology in "out of band" wavelengths:

    Technologies that improve performance of lasers and imagers in the Short, Mid and Long Wave Infrared wavelengths (SWIR/MWIR/LWIR).
  • Combat identification:

    SOF personnel on the ground require a small, lightweight body worn multi-spectral combat identification device for various mission scenarios in order to provide friendly identification while avoiding enemy detection.
  • Advancements in personnel signature management against current and emerging threat sensors using novel material and advanced treatments.

  • Concealment and signature suppression:

    Technologies that enable the SOF operator to remain undetected before engaging and/or prevent the enemy from locating or targeting the operator once the operator actively engaged.
  • Improved moving target engagement:

    Technologies that enhance or improve air to ground moving target engagement.
  • Advanced energetics:

    Energetic technologies to include small arms propellants, explosive charges, explosive warhead fills, enhanced blast, thermo baric and/or incendiary components that increase destructive energy while remaining insensitive munitions compliant.
  • Virtual training:

    Technologies that provide the capability to conduct mission training/preparation/rehearsal in a virtual 3D environment. The virtual training system should be able to adapt to the individual skill level to hone and maintain critical skill sets such as weapons training using current weapon systems.
  • Reduce total equipment and sustainment load:

    Key equipment needs include: Reduce size and weight (target reduction 25%; Energy source which is inherit to evolving small arms threats and on-hazardous to the operator; reduce signature and/or capability to ensure SOF force are visible only to each other in day ad night conditions; Protection against emerging arms threats; Smart environmental controls capable of maintaining SOF operators body temperature and stress levels within an acceptable range; Must withstand austere and harsh environments without degradation.
  • Advanced protection:

    Advanced body armor (body-worn and head protection) that provides superior armor capability through the increased enhancements to ballistic protection and body coverage, while reducing the weight, thickness, and thermal load. Possess the ability to protect armor piercing ammunition to include reducing the strike energy to a survivable level. Develop technologies that pursue passive, active, adaptive, single, and multi-spectral means to provide enhanced improvements to individual soldier systems. Advanced non-destructive inspection techniques for body armor and ballistic helmets.
  • Combat swimmer protection:

    Increase the amount of time combat swimmers are able to remain in cold or warm water conditions without impacting body movements, weight out of water, or buoyancy. Provide anti-fogging measures to underwater eyewear devices.
  • Active and/or passive heating and cooling:

    Ability to maintain individual core and extremity (hands and feet) temperature against extreme cold or hot environments utilizing active or passive heating and cooling techniques. Application would include military free fall operations from high altitude, static/dynamic land and maritime operations and maintaining temperature of battlefield casualties. Any solution should be lightweight and not interfere with typical body worn or carried equipment.

Weapons and Electronic Attack

  • Precision Guided Small Arms Munitions:

    Small unit organic munitions capable of delivering highly accurate kinetic effects on stationary, moving, soft targets, or the interior of hardened targets at ranges beyond crew served weapons effective range.
  • Weapons with selective increase in severity of non-lethal force:

    Integrated, scalable/selectable affects weapons with a tunable destructive or less than lethal non-destructive potential that can provide this capability across a broad variety of SOF missions while limiting or eliminating collateral damage and casualties. Desired effects range from simple STOP commands to full incapacitation for extended periods of time and are effective against people, vehicles, and other manned/unmanned aircraft.
  • Increased electronic attack (EA) and information operations (IO) capabilities and capacity; portable systems:

    Man-portable EA and IO systems that can detect, locate, identify, defend, and counter threats. IO systems should incorporate the ability to gain access into various media, communications, and other processes systems.
  • Counter improvised Explosive devices (CIED):

    Increased electronic attack and RF counter IED capabilities against emerging threats world wide in mounted/dismounted configurations. Technologies that can reduce weight, improve performance, decrease input power requirements, decrease thermal loading and decrease system footprints. Technologies that improve the interoperability of electronic attack systems with other SOF capabilities (i.e. communications, information operations). Antennas that improve performance across a broad spectrum of frequencies operate at higher output powers, while minimizing physical size and appearance.
  • Enhanced warheads:

    Improve the effects of small Common Launch Tube (CLT) compatible warheads.
  • Direct fire support weapons:

    Technologies that provide lightweight, direct fire support weapons with enhanced blast, optimized fragmentation (magnitude, shape, and density of fragmentation cloud), combined effects, multi-option and or smart fuses.

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Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command
7701 Tampa Point Boulevard
MacDill Air Force Base, Florida 33621

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