Counterterrorism Office Details New Equipment Needs

By Valerie Insinna
The Defense Department still has money to invest in capabilities to help fight terrorism, but those solutions need to be innovative, low-cost and flexible, said a department official at a Jan. 30 briefing to industry.
Even as the budget shrinks, the Pentagon has a responsibility to push out new capabilities, said Garry Reid, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict. “We’re going to have to figure out how to do that with less resources in the future.”
As part of the briefing, program managers for the department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) laid out requirements in areas such as tactical operations support and improvised device defeat.
One such gap is the small unit water purifier. The military already has large water treatment systems for platoons, and soldiers now can use individual water purifiers with several weeks worth of water, said Christina Baxter, program manager for CTTSO’s chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives subgroup.
The problem is how to provide clean water for a group of about 15 soldiers, she said.  “This is a small group ... forward deployed, and very often will not have access to electricity. So the preferred method would be something that is gravity fed and can produce up to 500 liters of water a day."
CTTSO is looking for a system that weighs less than 200 pounds that can eliminate bacteria, protazoa, and viruses — the biological agents “that are taking out our guys quickly,” Baxter said.
To counter small, unmanned aerial systems, CTTSO is in the market for a two-man backpackable aerial radar system that can detect and track objects such as small UAS and manned ultralight aircraft.
"Think about a special operations team in country X that doesn't have a lot of support. They're not on a big base, but there's still a consideration or a concern of an aerial threat,” said an official from the tactical operations support subgroup.
According to the initial requirements, the system must be able to detect and track targets with a low-radar cross section of .5 meters squared or at no less than 5 kilometers. It is also required to operate on a range of voltages and with military standard batteries.
The entire system, including the backpack, must weigh less than 75 pounds, the official said. “The objective that we want to get to is 50 pounds because, again, we've got two guys in a fairly austere location that are trying to perform this operation."
Even though the requirement is labeled as radar, the system does not actually have to be an X-band radar system, he added.
“It needs to have radar-like capabilities," he said. "That can be something like an optical radar system. That can be a number of innovative and novel approaches."
The office’s physical security subgroup is seeking a crowd-control barrier for the State Department that can be used to protect U.S. embassies.
The system should be able to be assembled and disassembled by team of no more than four people using commercial hand or battery-powered tools, the initial requirements said. It must be at least 9 feet 10 inches high, capable of resisting lateral force of 100 pounds, and tamper resistant.
Other desired products include:
A long-range audio intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system for tactical deploymentA small, maritime, canister-launched UAS that is recovered on landA hydraulic robotic arm system that can function independently or be attached to current platformsAn assessment of how alternative fuel vehicles perform in emergency conditions commonly faced by law enforcement and protective servicesAn interface that can integrate the government’s collection of geo-specific data with game engines for use in simulationsA handheld, automated device to identify fingerprints of deceased persons.After the final broad agency announcement is published in February or March on theBIDS website, contractors will be able to submit proposals. CTTSO is scheduled to award funding as early as October.
The briefers declined to provide details on how much funding would be available for these requirements.
Photo Credit: Defense Dept.

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