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Special Ops Command Seeks Prototypes for ‘Iron Man Suit’

English: United States Special Operations Comm...

English: United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) emblem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2013 –
U.S. Special Operations Command wants its operators to be protected
with what it informally calls an “Iron Man suit,” named after the
fictional superhero.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
artist’s rendering of what the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit
might look like with its desired capabilities. Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency
courtesy graphic

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In September, Socom announced it is seeking proposals for prototypes of the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS.

The goal of TALOS is to
provide ballistic protection to Special Operations Forces, along with
fire-retardant capability, said Michel Fieldson, TALOS lead for Socom.

“We sometimes refer to it
as the ‘Iron Man’ suit, frankly, to attract the attention, imagination
and excitement of industry and academia,” Fieldson said. “We’re hoping
to take products we’re developing in several technology areas and
integrating them into a consolidated suit to provide more protection for
the [special operations forces].”

Other technologies include sensors, communications, energy and
material that can store and release energy to prevent injuries and
increase performance.

Materials that can store and release energy might be similar to the
Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, now used by some wounded warriors
for lower-leg injuries. So TALOS could benefit wounded warriors too,
Fieldson said.

The Homeland Security Department and firefighters have expressed an
interest in this technology as well, he said, and it eventually might
become available for other service members.

“Our goal right now is to try to get the word out and bring industry
partners together,” Fieldson said. The technologies that will go into
the suit’s development are varied, he said, so it is unlikely one
contractor would be able to specialize in the entire ensemble.

The traditional approach, Fieldson said, was to pick a prime
contractor, usually a traditional defense partner, give them the design
requirements and let them come up with the solution. That would take a
long time, he noted.

“In this case, the government will be the lead integrator, and we’ll
look to work with traditional or nontraditional partners in industry and
academia who are innovative,” he said. “We’ll leave no stone unturned.”

The goal, he said, is to begin integrating capabilities over the next
12 months and have the first suit ready for full field testing in four
to five years.

Fieldson thinks TALOS will become a reality because it protects the
warfighters and has the backing of Socom’s commander, Navy Adm. William
H. McRaven

“I’m very committed to this,” McRaven said to industry
representatives at a July 8 TALOS demonstration in Tampa, Fla. “I’d like
that last operator that we lost to be the last one we ever lose in this
fight or the fight of the future, and I think we can get there.

“I’m committed to this,” he
continued. “At the end of the day, I need you and industry to figure
out how you are going to partner with each other to do something that’s
right for America.”

Army Releases August 2013 Suicide Information

The army flag

The army flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Army released suicide data today for the month of August 2013. During August, among active-duty Soldiers, there were 12 potential suicides: Two have been confirmed as suicides and 10 remain under investigation. For July 2013, the Army reported 19 potential suicides among active-duty Soldiers: three have been confirmed as suicides and 16 are under investigation. For CY 2013, there have been 106 potential active-duty suicides: 51 have been confirmed as suicides and 55 remain under investigation. Updated active-duty suicide numbers for CY 2012: 185 (171 have been confirmed as suicides and 14 remain under investigation).

During August 2013, among reserve component Soldiers who were not on active duty, there were eight potential suicides (five Army National Guard and three Army Reserve): One has been confirmed as a suicide and seven remain under investigation. For July 2013, among that same group, the Army reported eight potential suicides; however, subsequent to the report, two more cases were added bringing July’s total to 10 (eight Army National Guard and two Army Reserve): Three have been confirmed as suicides and seven cases remain under investigation. For CY 2013, there have been 102 potential not on active duty suicides (66 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve): 70 have been confirmed as suicides and 32 remain under investigation. Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for CY 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve): 138 have been confirmed as suicides and two remain under investigation.

Soldiers and Families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

The Military Crisis Line offers free and confidential support to Service members in crisis or anyone who knows a Service member who is. The service is staffed by caring, qualified responders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many who have served in the Military themselves. Support is offered through the crisis line, online chat, and text-messaging services for all Service members (Active, National Guard and Reserve) and Veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by visiting the Military Crisis Line website at http://www.militarycrisisline.net; Online Chat at: http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ChatTermsOfService.aspx; sending a text to: 838255 or calling toll free at: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1; in Europe Dial: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118. Services are available even if members are not registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or enrolled in VA health care.

The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at http://www.preventsuicide.army.mil.

Information about the Army’s Ready and Resilient campaign is located at http://www.army.mil/readyandresilient

Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in the revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r600_63.pdf and in Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/p600_24.pdf.

Suicide prevention training resources for Soldiers, leaders, Department of the Army Civilians, and Family members can be accessed at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training_sub.asp?sub_cat=20 (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).

Information about Military OneSource is located at http://www.militaryonesource.com or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental U.S. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource web site for dialing instructions for their specific location.

Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program (CSF2) is located at http://csf2.army.mil/.

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at Resources@DCoEOutreach.org and at www.dcoe.health.mil.

The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is http://www.afsp.org/, and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at http://www.sprc.org/index.asp.

Army Announces Investigation at Fort Hood, Texas

The Army announced today that an Army sergeant first class assigned to III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas, is under investigation for pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates.

            The ongoing investigation is being conducted by special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID.

            The soldier had been assigned as an Equal Opportunity Advisor and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program coordinator with one of the III Corps’ subordinate battalions when the allegations surfaced.

            The accused was immediately suspended from all duties by the chain of command once the allegations were brought to the command’s attention.  There have been no charges filed or preferred at this time.

            To protect the integrity of the investigative process and the rights of all persons involved, no more information will be released at this time.

            During testimony last week before the House Appropriations Committee Defense subcommittee, Secretary of the Army John McHugh expressed anger over sexual assaults and sex abuse crimes in the military.

            “This is so contrary to everything upon which the Army was built,” he said.  “To see this kind of activity happening in our ranks is really heart wrenching and sickening.”

            McHugh told members of Congress that Army leaders are focused on efforts to prevent sexual assaults.

            “As I said to our new brigadier general corps when I spoke to them about two weeks ago, ‘You can do everything from this point forward in your military career perfectly, but if you fail on this, you have failed the Army’,” he said.

            Secretary McHugh apprised Secretary Hagel this morning of these allegations and the Army is moving forward, along with the other services, with Secretary Hagel’s directive to re-train, re-credential and re-screen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters.



Statement by Press Secretary George Little on Allegations of Misconduct


            Earlier today Secretary Hagel was informed about the allegations of criminal behavior against an Army sergeant first class who was a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood.  I cannot convey strongly enough his frustration, anger, and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply.

            Secretary Hagel met with Army Secretary McHugh this morning and directed him to fully investigate this matter rapidly, to discover the extent of these allegations, and to ensure that all of those who might be involved are dealt with appropriately.

            To address the broader concerns that have arisen out of these allegations and other recent events, Secretary Hagel is directing all the services to re-train, re-credential, and re-screen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters.

            Sexual assault is a crime and will be treated as such.  The safety, integrity, and well-being of every service member and the success of our mission hang in the balance.  Secretary Hagel is looking urgently at every course of action to stamp out this deplorable conduct and ensure that those individuals up and down the chain of command who tolerate or engage in this behavior are appropriately held accountable.

‘Stormin’ Norman’ Gen. Schwarzkopf to be buried at West Point | Fox News

Check out this follow up to the recent death of General Norman Schwarzkopf.

‘Stormin’ Norman’ Gen. Schwarzkopf to be buried at West Point | Fox News.

USASOAC Changes Command Chief Warrant Officer

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Jun. 29, 2012) – In a precedent setting ceremony for the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, Chief Warrant Officer 5 David F. Cooper relinquished Command Chief Warrant Officer responsibility to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert D. Witzler.  The Army is implementing CCWO positions in all Combat Aviation Brigades, so numerous warrant officers were on hand to witness the sequence of events.  The CCWO serves as a technical expert in the command group and acts as a mentor to unit members.

The ceremony included elements from traditional change of command and change of responsibility ceremonies, which Cooper said was to honor their traditions.  The warrant officers also passed the guidon, which Cooper explained showed the commander’s trust in the senior warrant officer.  “Passing the colors makes a subtle yet powerful statement that this position is fully integrated into the command.  The CCWO passing the colors serves to enhance the rich traditions of this ceremonial act.”

Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher, USASOAC Commanding Officer, presided over the ceremony on Meadows Field at the USASOC headquarters.  Members of the 82nd Division band performed music at the ceremony.  Warrant Officers on the field represented the USASOAC units.

Cooper became the first CCWO of USASOAC when the unit provisionally activated in March 2011.  Of the position, Cooper said, “the CCWO is the senior warrant officer advisor to the commander, providing the utmost leadership and mentorship for all warrant officers in the command, giving sound advice to the command’s officers and showing care and compassion for all Soldiers and their families.”  Later in the day, the Distinguished Service Cross recipient and member of the Army Aviation Association Hall of Fame retired after 27 years of service.

Witzler assumed responsibility following an assignment as Regimental Warrant Officer of the 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky.  Witzler’s time as RWO prepared him well for this new position, as he said, “the culture of the 160th begins with the fundamental assertion that the customer comes first, and ends with sincere personal pride in the products we provide.  Here at ARSOAC, our customers are all the units providing world class aviation support to Special Operations Forces, and that same ethos will continue to guide my service.”