TAMPA, Fla. — As special operations teams weave their way across more than 80 countries, they face daunting challenges, often without the high-level support they saw in previous conflicts.
Leaders such as Army Col. Jarrett Mathews, acquisition director of the SOCOM task force over the “hyper-enabled operator,” seek new tech to give even individuals the assets they need to see, sense, act and react to ever-changing conditions on the ground.
Mathews showed the audience here at the Global SOF Foundation’s SOF Week not a bearded, muscled operator kicking in doors and shooting but a business suit-clad “operator” navigating the streets of a foreign nation, deciphering spoken language, signage and even graffiti to sus out threats while running their mission.
Prompted by an audience question, Mathews outlined a no-limits picture of what he’d love to put in that operator’s hands.
“I would like a fully-capable, human-machine teaming with an information system that had access to the whole of the Internet,” Mathews said.
The colonel isn’t delusional, he knows that technology isn’t here yet, but Mathews and his team are looking to industry to make it a reality.
“We want these operators to be super users of their environment,” Mathew said.
The concept went public nearly three years ago, Defense News sister publication C4ISRNET previously reported. Since then, the team that Mathew now leads has advanced the language processing capabilities of its voice-to-voice program and started work on translating text via smartphone photo capture and eventually through other devices.
The voice-to-voice program is currently deployed in two undisclosed theaters of