There’s no question that over the last twenty years America’s warfighters have fought wars and commanded operations in some extremely hostile territory and unforgiving terrain. Despite the challenges faced by the warfighter in theater, they have been able to adapt to the new battlespace as a result of rigorous training and with a little help from technology.
The advancements in purpose-built tools for the warfighter during this time have been nothing short of remarkable. While much of the development work has come from inside the Department of Defense (DoD), there has been a strong investment in private sector partnerships to deliver state of the art tools.
One such partnership is between the DoD and leading defense contractor, Raytheon to develop and deliver a mobile communications platform — FoXTEN — for the warfighter. According to Todd Probert, vice president Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, the platform is “akin to a smartphone for intelligence officers.”
In a recent interview Probert explained that the Army’s decision to build FoXTEN on an open architecture enables intelligence processing on the edge and ensures that the warfighter can access the right applications for today and well into the future. “Any application that has passed the Army’s security review and accreditation process can be ported into FoXTEN,” he shared. “With a plug and play environment that can support apps created by the CIA, NRO, Air Force, and others on a secure open architecture without encountering the obstacles created by a proprietary environment is a strategic advantage for the warfighter.”
Developed as part of the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) FoXTEN was designed with the soldier in mind. Said Probert, “it’s easy to use out of the box; it’s intuitive and rugged so that it operates seamlessly even under the most difficult conditions.” From the mapping features, which enable the warfighter to combine intelligence with map data to determine the optimal way to traverse hostile terrain based on unit size to filing intelligence reports online in the field, FoXTEN eliminates redundancy and impact on the warfighter.
“It used to be that intelligence officers would file a paper report or debrief once they returned from a sortie. With FoXTEN they are able to update records remotely via a single interface,” Probert shared. “Moreover, the map feature brings a 12x time savings over how intelligence officers are currently able to process and plot battalion-level movements. It currently takes 8-10 hours to perform these calculations, which means intel about enemy location can become dated while just the calculations are being performed. FoXTEN delivers a strategic advantage in this regard, and so many others.”
Indeed, if you think about the application of a ruggedized mobile device outside the Department of Defense, a wealth of use cases spring to mind for civilian agencies. “From FEMA agents using FoXTEN to plot the safest evacuation routes to the most efficient pathways to deliver emergency aid during a natural disaster to support for the National Guard as they aid in recovery efforts, the value extends to any intelligence-driven command and communications effort,” Probert concluded.
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