Squad X Infrastructure Study Seeks Innovative Ways to Improve Dismounted Squads’ Tactical Advantage

DARPA invites white papers designed to help define the state of the art and future research directions

Today's dismounted squads use many different technologies to gather and share information. In many instances, however, these valuable but disparate inputs are not well integrated, leaving squad members without the degree of real-time situational awareness and support for decision-making that warfighters typically experience while on board aircraft and ships and in vehicles.

To help address this challenge and ensure that dismounted infantry squads maintain their tactical advantage over potential adversaries, DARPA has initiated Squad X, an effort that aims to build a digitized, integrated system of systems to organically extend squad awareness and influence. The goal is to provide overwhelming tactical superiority at the small-unit level by enabling squad members to more quickly and effectively collect, synthesize and share data about their fellow members, their environment and potential threats without increasing physical or cognitive burdens.

Specifically, Squad X plans to focus on providing:

*Integrated access to and control of mobile sensors, including full-motion streaming video

*A three-dimensional common operating picture

*The ability to organically locate and identify friendly forces and threat locations in near real time

To help accomplish these goals, DARPA has issued a Special Notice, available at http://go.usa.gov/XXbx, describing a new Squad X Infrastructure Study. As a first step, DARPA is inviting white papers exploring the potential infrastructure and technologies necessary to build the Squad X system of systems. Selected performers would conduct applied research and analysis to determine the state of the art, identify technology gaps, suggest technology solutions, develop proposed system architectures and help DARPA formulate future research plans.

DARPA is interested in receiving papers in the following three topic areas:

*Baseline Technology Evaluation - Assess and evaluate anticipated capabilities and technologies needed for a baseline Squad X system and describe relevant performance parameters. Content should include, but not be limited to, an assessment of DARPA's proposed baseline system and capabilities, specifically critical infrastructure components such as radios, networking, computing applications, sensing, autonomous systems and size weight and power (SWaP).

*Integration Studies - Perform a series of analyses to define the Squad X architecture and integration approach. Papers should focus on defining an open, common, commercially extensible, government-owned architecture; defining key interfaces and standards; outlining the technology integration plan; and defining the critical issues in Squad X implementation.

*Experimentation Site and Manning Selection - Conduct a survey of Defense Department (DoD) training and testing facilities; facility infrastructure for test planning, conduct, and data collection; and overall suitability and availability, focusing on cost and schedule flexibility.

The sponsor of the Squad X Infrastructure Study is DARPA's Tactical Technology Office (TTO) through TTO's 2014 Office-Wide Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) (DARPA-BAA-14-25), which DARPA discussed at its TTO Office-Wide Proposers' Day in April. It builds upon a Request for Information (RFI) that DARPA issued last year.

"We want both traditional and nontraditional performers to share innovative ideas on how to actually build a system of systems that could provide squads with real-time, trusted information in an enhanced, integrated manner while operating in dynamic and complex environments," said Maj. Christopher Orlowski, DARPA program manager.

To familiarize potential participants with the technical objectives of the Squad X Infrastructure Study, DARPA has scheduled a one-hour, web-based question-and-answer session to be held Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at 1:30 PM EDT. All inquiries about the Squad X Infrastructure Study must be sent by email to DARPA-BAA-14-25@darpa.mil and reference "Squad X Infrastructure Study" in the subject line of the email.

The deadline for paper submission is August 4, 2014. All white papers must be submitted by email to DARPA-BAA-14-25@darpa.mil. Interested parties may submit separate white papers on one or more topic areas. Individual white papers that address more than one topic area will not be considered.

For this special notice, DARPA is requesting that white papers be submitted before any proposals. Although not required, white papers are strongly encouraged for all proposers seeking funding. DARPA will evaluate each white paper to determine the relevance of the proposer's idea to the TTO mission and the Squad X Infrastructure Study. Parties interested in offering full proposals should submit them under DARPA-BAA-14-25 by October 3, 2014. Full proposals received after that date may not be evaluated.

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