Today’s service members must navigate a range of dynamic and challenging tactical environments fraught with extreme conditions and remote terrains. Moving the right technology to the edge is essential to provide actionable real-time insights needed to achieve success and even save lives.

The concept of a hyper-enabled operator — one where technology at the edge helps reduce the cognitive load for operators, enhances situational awareness, improves communication and coordination with friendly forces, and enables other advanced mission capabilities — was top of mind at the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC). In a session presented by U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Program Executive Office (PEO) for Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4), leaders shared their latest tactical communication systems requirements to support this unique type of service member.

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Topping USSOCOM’s list for technology needs were size, weight and power reduction, especially for operators who must be able to react quickly and be agile in the field without being bogged down by heavy or cumbersome equipment. Other areas of interest outlined were technologies that support next-generation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, including devices that are modular, have common hardware, reduce operations and maintenance complexity, enable cross-domain solutions, and more. Lastly, there is a need for operators to wirelessly connect or tether to personal area networks to share intelligence while ensuring classified and mission data are protected.

Tailored Solutions for Optimal Efficiency

These factors shared by USSOCOM PEO for C4 at SOFIC reflect many of the latest mobile solution advancements Samsung has developed with the Galaxy S9 Tactical Edition, a commercial solution with custom-tailored software specifically designed for the unique needs of tactical teams and special operators. The solution interoperates with tactical radios and other communications tools commonly used in tactical environments to deliver enhanced communications, navigation, mapping, surveillance, reconnaissance, battlefield coordination and geospatial information. Key capabilities for special operators include:

  • Tactical radio support out-of-the-box: The preconfigured software includes drivers that support tactical radios and mission-critical device protocols.
  • Ability to efficiently run multiple apps: The powerful 10nm 64-bit Octa-core processor seamlessly runs multiple tactical applications while minimizing battery impact.
  • Network support: The Galaxy S9 Tactical Edition supports private SIM/networks (noncommercial SIM cards may require manual APN configuration). Multiethernet capabilities additionally provide dedicated connections to multiple mission systems including aerial and ground-based video feeds, laser range finders and external GPS.
  • Tactical app quick launch: Remappable Bixby button enables one-touch quick launch/hide of tactical applications such as Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) or Kinetic Integrated Low-Cost Software Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld (KILSWITCH).
  • Defense-grade security: Certified for use in classified communications, the Galaxy S9 Tactical Edition with the Samsung Knox security platform is CSFC-, CC MDF PP-, Department of Defense Approved Products List (DoD APL)-, STIG FIPS 140-2- and IP68-certified. Additionally, the solution will deploy security updates to eliminate vulnerabilities.

Building the Bigger Picture

In diverse and rapidly evolving operational environments, special operators need advanced capabilities that provide a common operational picture and a clear view of the mission. End-user devices (EUDs) like the Galaxy S9 Tactical Edition can be quickly deployed, with special features such as night vision mode or stealth mode and autotouch sensitivity to fit seamlessly with other elements of the tactical kit. It can also be tailored further with tactical applications and external mission systems to address critical use cases across domains.

From speeding command and control (C2) decision making to ensuring troop safety with Blue Force Tracking (BFT) and enhancing situational awareness, Samsung can improve operations all while protecting classified and sensitive data.

How are Samsung devices transforming tactical operations? Watch this video to find out.

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Chris Balcik

Chris Balcik currently serves as Vice President and Head of Mobile B2B at Samsung Electronics America. With over 26 years experience, including management consulting with the Department of Defense and other Federal clients, Chris has deep expertise in organizational transformation and the role of technology. Prior to his current role, he led Federal government sales for Samsung’s Mobile B2B division. Prior to that, he assisted public and private sector clients including the FAA, DNI and DoD on complex, large-scale systems engineering and technology transformations, concept of operations design, program management, business case analysis, and business process optimization. Prior to entering the civilian workforce, Chris was an Officer in the United States Air Force leading Command and Control support to military operations.

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