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Monday, January 22, 2024

US Army: MG Sean A. Gainey on Countering Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

HLS.Today US Army Countering Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

US Army: MG Sean A. Gainey on Countering Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems 

with MG Sean A. Gainey

Director, Joint Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office/Director of Fires, G3/5/7, U.S. Army

Hear a presentation by MG Sean A. Gainey. Detailing efforts by the Army and DoD that bring an enterprise approach to the protection of personnel, materiel and missions in the context of the growing threats and hazards associated with the rapid increase in small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) technology.

He will describe the Army’s designation as the Executive Agent for Counter-sUAS and the establishment of the Joint Counter-sUAS Office (JCO) to develop integrated plans, technologies, training concepts and doctrine—and to focus appropriate resources on countering the sUAS threat—while minimizing duplication and redundancy.


Thank you AUSA for giving us this great opportunity to learn about what our Army is doing to counter the threat of unmanned aircraft systems. As most of you know UAS’s have been an evolving threat in recent decades and the use of UAS in the current conflict in Ukraine is pretty much made at a household term.

I’m really pleased today to be here alongside Major General Sean Gainey to discuss how the Army and the Department of Defense is meeting this challenge. Major General Gainey is currently the director of the joint counter UAS office and the director of fires in the Army G357. General Gainey is responsible for the training and equipping of all air defense and long-range artillery activities for the Army.

His military career began in 1990 when he graduated from Georgia Southern University and was commissioned a second lieutenant in air defense artillery.

His deployments have included assignments in support of operation southern watch, iraqi freedom, joint task force east, and enduring freedom. In addition to the various professional military education achievements, he holds a master’s in personnel management from central michigan university, and a masters of national security and resource management from the dwight d eisenhower school for national security.

Today we will hear from general gainey about the enterprise approach he’s taking within the department of defense to enhance the protection of personnel material and missions in response to the counter UAS threat. We’ll begin this dialogue with general gainey giving us an overview of how he’s organized and the strategy he’s taking in pursuit of this mission and then we’ll follow up with your questions.

Sean, it’s great to be sitting here with a fellow air defense officer.

great thanks ted and I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks to usa usa for giving me this platform an opportunity to talk about something that I and my team are very passionate about and that’s getting after the counter UAS threats.

The UAS threats that are out there groups one through three.

Before I start today I’d like to you know when people hear UAS groups one and one two three they may not fully understand what we’re talking about so when you talk group ones you’re talking mostly the hobbyist quadcopters that are out there flying around that people normally see day in and day out. Group twos are a little larger some of them are fixed wing or rotary type small unmanned aircraft and your. Group three are traditionally your larger ones that you see out there. There could be one-way explosive attack vehicles coming at our soldiers in contingency areas or they could be larger platforms with ISRs like we’re seeing in Ukraine that Russia is using with the orlan tens.

But back about two and a half years ago the secretary of defense decided that we need a service to lead and direct this effort against the UAS threat that’s growing and merging out there and so he wanted a enterprise approach to this effort so he designated the Army as the executive agent to lead and direct this effort.

The army secretary understood that she needed a organization distinctively designed to get after this threat so she designated the joint counter us office as the lead for the executive agent for the Army to do the day in and day out counter U.S work and I was named as the director a two-star organization of about 75 personnel to really focus on joint counter us material solutions, joint training, and joint doctrine.

So those were really the areas we framed around moving forward so what we understood we had to do is first we needed to do an operational assessment of the capability that was out there not only in the contingency locations but also conus locations and really get a good feel of how the systems work so we could accurately portray to the war fighters the capability that they were given and the capability that they had within their combat commands at the time

The services were already working on this problem set so every service had a different capability fielded out there mainly focused on joint operational urgent needs for the cocom so rightfully so the services flushed the cocoms with several different types of capability.

But in doing so the dot mil pf aspect of that was not at the forefront naturophobe because they wanted to get capability out to the war fighter and they did the best they could they actually delivered some great capability. So when we did our initial assessment a couple of things that we found out quickly is that when these systems were employed alone as standalone piece of equipment some work better than others but overall we weren’t getting the maximum effects that we had committed to the warfighter to deliver.

So what we quickly realized is that you needed a system of system approach not one effector would be the be-all end-all within the counter-us portfolio but you had to have a common command and control system, same as we do in air defense, and then you needed to integrate these systems into that common command and control system and each system comes with its particular effectiveness to be able to give you that holistic capability and we found when we did that you know specifically when we took some of our electronic warfare capability that was out there integrated that into our C2 system some of the EO/IR cameras that were out there where you can visually positively identify some of the threats integrated that into our command and control system, and then any other of our kinetic type platforms for example like our coyote interceptor which is a missile that flies out leveraging the radar and you integrate all those aspects into the common command and control system we were detecting very well and getting pretty good results from the defeat aspect of it.

So moving forward we said hey we’re going to have to integrate everything into a system system approach, and then take the air defense systems that were out there and leverage those also into the system so you have a layered approach moving forward.

So after we did that we understood that the current systems that were out there in the field we knew that we eventually weren’t covering all of our capability gaps so we immediately then developed a requirements document that we leveraged against the joint force we call the joint requirements document that we took through the j-rock and we essentially made that the foundation for how we’re going to move forward with capability development in the future.

The secretary of Army also designated richto the rapid critical technology office led by attending general thurgood as my material arm to move forward with and then he would work closely with the services to take the current capability they have out there in the field now bring that capability to full maturation and then based off of the requirement gaps that we have go to industry and and see what technologies out there and how industry can help us and then leverage the services to build those prototypes and eventually open up a vehicle for the services to procure those systems and make it part of their system of a systems approach.

We also knew that we needed a strategy moving forward. You know it was one of the things we didn’t have as a department a way to frame how the department moves forward in the counter UAS space.

So we developed the strategy the entire OSD joint service team developed and that really provided us the framework moving forward how we were going to approach C-UAS moving forward.

Then from there it was essentially building a team. We brought in joint components from all of the services onto our team to help us move forward to identify shortfalls and how we can eventually, you know, continue to get after other threat sets.

From the training perspective I talked a lot about the material aspect of it but from the training perspective we also knew that was a deficiency also. Not only did we leverage training facilities that were out there but we designated the fire center at Fort Sill to be the joint counter UAS center and their own path to get there and FY2024 to stand up the joint counter UAS center and then so now you have a location where the joint force can essentially send their soldiers to prepare and train from a joint aspect for this counter UAS mission.

Something that hasn’t been there in the past and as you can imagine soldiers were getting on the job training and that’s not ideal how we want to move forward as we move forward in this space. When you look at the doctrine aspect of what we do, I already talked about the strategy that we developed but also you know we started looking at across the different combat commands, what each one was doing successfully and where some of the challenges were and we developed jko modules. We developed about four of those. Published them in getting positive feedback on how we’re moving forward with some of the joint training providing additional areas for our joint force to tap into and get that knowledge.

One of the things I learned early in the joint counter-UAS spaces there wasn’t at the time a lot of information on our capabilities how we were addressing the threat and how we were going to move forward against the threat and these were some of the initial things that we did to get the ball rolling and to get as much information out as possible to the joint force to then start building that competency and eventually to the point where now you see services moving out with their individual training plans and we’ll talk about that a little later as we move forward.

That kind of frames who we are where we’ve come to date and now I’m looking forward to any questions to elaborate and be in more detail in this area.

Well as you look back and you and you started in this position and you think about some of the technologies and solutions that individual services had come up with on their own you know. What capabilities come to mind as some of the key ones that you’re trying to take into the future and move forward with?

Again I think the services did a really good job of responding to the threat as required based off of the requirements that were laid out and again it was the approach that was taking is what we really came in with the initial set of systems we selected.

So as part of that operational assessment, we looked at you know there are over probably 60 system slash components out there and as you can imagine a soldier at a location having you know 15 or 16 different systems and trying to be trained trying to train and proficient on these systems it’s quite challenging in a daunting effort

So essentially what we did is when I talked to you about the system systems approach we looked at some of the capabilities that for example the Army had the Coyote interceptor right which was focused on getting after the larger UAS threat the group three threat against some of the one-way attacks that you at that time was predominantly in the saudi arabia area in saudi arabia was you know having to use the patriot interceptors and aircraft to get after this threat.

So we knew that threat was going to eventually move into our area of operation where we have our soldiers at and so this is one of the interceptors we invested in early initial interceptor wasn’t as successful but we saw promise in the technology and so we invested in that technology to the point now where we’re on our third iteration of that interceptor and it’s performing quite well in theater.

Also you had some electronic warfare systems that the air force was working on and even the marine corps that was working in theater and so those were the ones we selected and we integrated it into this system of system approach to move forward.

You know you bring up a good issue with, you know, remember that Saudis are engaging UAS with patriot systems and of course the issue there is the cost curve, are we progressing to try to see if we can match you know scale for scale because these systems are so cheap. How are we going about that?

So when you look at you know some of these smaller quadcopters in the price that you can get these systems at. That’s why the initial technology was the electronic warfare technology to go after you know not really trying to match a bullet for bullet and on the cost aspect of that.

But if you look at where we’re going in the future you know we have an eye on the cost curve piece you know obviously we have whatever capability that protects our soldier we want to put out there right so we have air defense systems you know.

If that’s the mechanism to take down a threat we’re gonna leverage it but when planning and looking at technology and working with industry for example in the intro you saw one of those technologies the system that you saw was an epic system that had a high-powered microwave right system and essentially that system focuses on going after you know burning electronics inside of the USA’s at scale or in precision attack.

So when you start looking at technology like that also directed energy we have. We actually have directed energy laser systems in theater right now that we’re employing and we’re seeing success with and so that technology is on the ground right now and when you look at the cost curve of you know directed energy to take down a threat. I think we’re on the right side of the cost curve moving forward but again if the tech is looking for a cost curve as an advantage but at the end of the day the technology that best delivers the best effect is what we’re going to put out there right at the end of the day to protect our soldiers.

I got a question from the virtual audience and I mentioned that you know the war in ukraine is is kind of made UAS is more of a household world people are seeing their use on the internet and on nightly news based on the tactics that you’ve seen on both sides over there how has that shaped your thinking as far as the future of defeating these systems?

We were mainly shaped on what we were seeing and specifically the centcom AOR. Because that’s really where most of our threat drone activity were, is and was at the time, and from a conus perspective at the time when we were developing we were seeing it more as a hazard U.S small quadcopter UAS’s would fly in an area they shouldn’t be having the capability to do that.

What we’re seeing in Ukraine I think is bringing more to light of what we already know. When you scale this capability from a small quadcopter all the way up to a larger group three and it is able to leverage ISR to put other effects of other systems to bear. Really shows the importance of having counter us at scale not just at a fixed site but all the way down to the operational level and that’s one of the things that the chief of staff of the Army has invested in and you know in this FY we’re currently fielding two division sets of counter UAS capabilities.

So that our forward formations have that capability resident inside of their organization so we’re not hamstrung from a UAS attack and not being able to defend all the way down to the forward lines with that capability.

Another question from one of the virtual audience members is you know when you look at training the topic of training what kinds of things is the the JCO doing to help the services train and you know given that some of these programs take time to get set up is there sort of a short-term approach and a more longer-term approach to doing that.

Yes so listening to the feedback to our war fighters training was probably the largest issue because like I highlighted earlier we were getting capability out there the services were doing a great job of getting capability out there but it was delivering capability with the training doctrine, even organization and leadership understanding of that capability and how to employ it properly was the biggest challenges.

So we’ve invested heavily right now. I highlighted the fire center as the long-term counter UAS academy but in the short term we have an academy out at  Yuma where we have the systems out there we do classes for training for soldiers who are preparing to deploy.

We also have mobile training teams that go to locations where units are about to deploy to provide some of that training so that they have a training foundation prior to now it’s not perfect now it it won’t until we are able to embed this training inside of our schoolhouses and our soldiers are getting this and the challenge with counter UAS is there’s no organization right now you know.

The Army we’re doing some things to look at at the group three level organizationally. Do we use some of our air defenders to get after this problem set because you’re deconflicting airspace.

But when you’re talking the small quadcopters group one like a highlight early in group two essentially that’s everybody has to have that counter UAS skill so we have to look at how do we scale that type of training and awareness to where any soldier can be able to employ effects against counter UAS at the group one or two level and then when you start getting to the larger group threes leverage your air defense capacity using some of those systems to move forward.

But short term  Yuma joint training center mtt’s long term fire center counter UAS academy joint county us academy and I speak for the Army about the work that the Army is doing from an MOS perspective for the group three threat that’s out there.

Thanks for that training update another question stems from partners and allies obviously with what we’re seeing in Ukraine right now and even what we’ve seen in the middle east all of our partners and allies are getting super hyper sensitive over counter UAS and how to defeat these things.

What kinds of things is your office doing to engage with allies to try to cooperate with them and try to bring some of their capabilities to us and vice versa?

That’s something we learned early and one of the things I learned very early and I’ll share a little vignette from when I was the commander of the 94th WMDC. I was in the theater focused on you know the larger missile threat you know what the long-range and short-range missiles would do in the AR and I went and spoke at a conference that we had in Singapore, they were bringing all the air defenders in to have a session and talk about some of the challenges and you know.

I spent a lot of time talking about missile defense and how we’re integrating missiles leveraging BMD ships and the person after me walked up and said that’s great but I can’t even defeat a small UAS with the capability how can you help me U.S get after some of that smaller threat that I’m seeing day in and day out that’s being employed by the adversary and at the time you know we were putting capability out there in centcom specifically but not a whole lot of effort globally on this area and our focus was squarely rightfully so at the time based off the threat.

So I took that as I came into the office as a point that you know our partners are challenged with this same problem also and so you know as we look at for example NATO. NATO has reached out to us and asked for some of our capability to deploy some of our capability and they’re looking at how to move forward.

So we’ve integrated my organization as the lead on integration with NATO so as they’re developing capability and we’re working with them my main point is how do we work from an integration standpoint together so as we’re integrated with each other we can leverage different systems in that system a system layered approach moving forward.

So we’re embedded with the NATO planning effort and some of the other global planning efforts but still a lot of work to be done as we move forward because there’s a significant demand for some of our capabilities with our partners to be able to employ this as we’re seeing in some of the areas like Ukraine.

Bringing it back a little bit closer to home I understand you have a semi-annual demonstration capability that you do. Can you talk a little bit about that and what that offers?

Yes I can and this is something that you know when we have the RICTO team that I highlighted earlier as my material arm in this effort and the work that you know lieutenant general thurgood and I do.

We’ve had three demonstrations we knew when senator and I talked at the beginning we knew hey there’s capability out there that we can use right now and we can make better we knew that but there’s also going to be areas where we need to focus industry to help us with newer technology to be able to get after this threat and then build prototype.

So essentially we do a semi-annual demonstration where we pick a capability area we want to focus on. So for example the first capability area is, we wanted low collateral interceptors, to be able to get after some of the small UAS in the homeland. So for example a drone on drone type capability where you can use a net to capture that other drone and take it to a safe location or you just kinetically knock it out of the sky but without using any type of explosive.

So that was our first one so we essentially opened the call to industry and positive feedback we had a lot of interest and we narrowed it down to what was the best technology that we felt based off of the presentations from industry and then, we went out to Yuma, and we invited them to come out to the range and flew our threat profiles against them and said employ your systems and let’s see which how your systems can do. And then the service that’s we’ve designated as the joint lead for that area so for example we designated the air force as the lead the air force then takes that and narrows it down to the best ones and and then will move forward eventually and open up a contract and say hey here are the two or three best systems now we want to recommend this for the joint force and then each service move forward with us.
Then our latest one you know we revolved that process so that was low collateral interceptors to the point where this latest one was high-powered microwave capability and we had three industry partners come out there and demonstrate their capability what they can do from a high power microwave aspect because we feel that is one of the technology areas that will help us get after the swarming threat, as you saw in some of the intro videos.

Then we also looked at counter-uas-as-a-service you know looking at across the gamut of not just one way of doing this what if you go to industry and you say hey protect this location I’m gonna tell you what our requirements are and you come with a solution and then you maintain that solution and eventually if we ever get authorities you may potentially man that and we have an operator there that you know pushes the button.

So we’re looking across and again working with industry on different ways to do this and then having a service to bring it to bear with that final contracted vehicle. I think it’s been a great partnership with industry to services as we move forward and we look forward to our next one in the March April time frame moving forward.

Right so if I’m an industry partner and I either have capability or want to understand what requirements are, how do you or general thoroughgood typically communicate that is done through a consortium or or some other mechanism where requirements go out to energy industry things you know that are important to you?

So essentially when we first started that that was the main challenge that we wanted to again bring industry in but do it appropriately because we look at some of the classified requirements of class for government what is that form so it was really an outreach effort you know mainly driven by my acquisition team and and richter and as part of that and in my requirements team and essentially brought my requirements team acquisition team together opened up an invitation to industry, and where we laid out hey these are our requirements, this is how we’re moving forward with and then this is what we’ll be looking for as we move forward and that’s how the demos came into play.

And we leveraged the demo to actually bring the capability on the ground to show from a prototype perspective how you’re getting after the threat and then what’s promising that we can leverage moving forward.

Here’s a question of a doctrinal nature that’s come in when you’re looking at small UAV responsibility um how do you where do you see that fitting on the staff is that more of a fires or an EW area or where could that reside in terms of a division staff or something like that?

Well I think the way we see that is you know as this is great I speak from the Army. Now what we’re doing in the Army and I have two roles as the director of the joint counter UAS office. I’m focused on that joint aspect of this in joint capability development. But in my role as the demo fires in the g357 I’m not only focused on air defense really what we call group four and above I’m also focused on the group one two three UAS.

That was one of the great decisions of having the Army as the executive agent because the thought to this was, hey if the Army is already doing at the time it was really group three and above with air defense systems and air defense aspect, why not give it to the Army to work the group one smaller UAS is up so you have a synergistic effort working forward by the Army in that area.

So if you look inside of an Army formation you know this is our biggest challenge. How do you take on a scale of small quadcopter UAS is all the way up to large right UAS is that where you’re deconfliction airspace you know you have other stuff flying there and you have to have operators that are capable of designating what they want to actually put you know so still on target on and moving forward.

So we fully understand that group three is probably an air defense mission set.

So what we’re doing now is we’re looking at as we’re moving forward in our total Army analysis we’re looking at when we bring our division ADA units inside of the division back inside a division like we’re doing now.

You’re going to have that resident short-range air defense capability, but also you’re going to have a counter UAS battery manned by air defense soldiers focused on the group three threat right and our coyote system is is kind of what we’re using now but as we move forward in technology we’ll see how that go moving forward. We’ll have vehicles that support the division from that aspect.

So the group one and two is essentially a force protection aspect mission, so every soldier almost like nbc individual skills every soldier will have to understand how to use a you know individual weapon that you know, we have sites on them that you can shoot at small UAS or a Dronebuster EW type of system or any of our other electronic warfare type system that may be employed at division talk, or even forward with the brigade location. So that’s how we are in the Army and how the fire center is moving forward from a doctrinal perspective to get after this a set.

So I truly feel as we feel this capability inside of our divisions and we give those division commanders that capability and those soldiers are trained and understand and understand how to integrate into the division, fight maneuvering with the division, that’s where I think this will really take off because then they’ll go to the CTCs they’ll train down there, and they’ll get the TTPs down how to employ this capability, and then you’ll see the innovativeness of this and then it it’ll be our challenge to keep up with technology.

Because right now the technology is leading the training aspect in the TTPs that’ll start flipping as we get this capability inside of the divisions and they’re able to go out and you leverage this and our great soldiers are smart, know how to use this and employ it properly.

So if I’m an IBCT commander, I’m getting ready to do a rotation out at the national training center. What can I do to get my unit up to speed?

The fire center right now is working with Forcecom on how we lean forward in anticipation of this division set capability that’s going to eventually get to our divisions, and how we leverage it at a training center. So the fire center is looking at several options of maybe it’s a rotational training kit from a capability aspect of it and how do we get that to BCT prior to training essentially how we’re doing it now prior to them deploying right into theater.

And then how do we get training sets at the CTCs that they can leverage once they get there and start creating the environment to where the BCT commanders are forced to leverage their capability because there’s a threat out there but now you have capability.

But also remember I’m heavily talking about the offensive actions for counter UAS, there are other pillars to this like pillars of bare defense where you have your passive measures and also your attack OPS measure.

So there are things that a BCT commander can do you know as you look at you know passive, same things we’ve dealt with before when we’re talking about, a high intensity conflict type environments how are you gonna leverage camouflaging how are you leveraging dispersion how are you leveraging all of those other aspects to be able to get around that.

We’ve seen several lessons learned out there where some countries that don’t have as exquisite and robust counties use nets they’re putting nets up they’re being more dispersed because you have to find a way that you know may not be materially associated.

So by just thinking that through that problem set at the CTCs will I think make our  commanders better as they move forward.

To some degree the same principles apply. This question, the person in the audience said you mentioned about the semi-annual exercises taking place and that the next one was going to be in the spring. Is there going to be an exercise this fall to demo?

There will be a demo. So what we’re doing right now is our demo for we’re we’ve so I told you we’re doing them semantics so we’re doing we’re doing a technology demonstration in september but it’s taken some of our current systems in really re-baselining where we’re at because how I highlighted earlier when we did the initial assessment and then once we narrowed down to those systems, we funded the services to, hey take this as far as you can to get after this expanded requirements document joint requirements document and and and see from a technology standpoint how far you can push the envelope with those current systems.

So we’re bringing those systems  and a few other government systems that are out there operationally assessed and putting them all out there at Yuma and seeing you know we already know our capability limitation with the system but seeing with the updates that they’ve made how have we improved those systems moving forward, and then in the april march april time frame will be that we will announce by the end of this month early next month the focus areas of that demonstration did then invite industry in to say hey what can you provide to get after this threat or this particular area that we’re looking at.

Now following up on system of systems when you look at the C2 integration is that going to be through fad C2?

Yes so when we made that decision initially we said hey at C2 was the system and there were several reasons we selected but we also knew at the time that other services were leveraging systems that integrated their short range capability and their counter us capability or from the navy’s perspective their shipboard capability with their homeland based or ashore based systems and integrating that effort.

So one of the things we said we said fat C2 will be the C2 system that will integrate to so as we do these demonstrations we’re looking for the integration of those prototypes into fat C2 but we also told the services hey if your system is interoperable with fat C2 we’re pretty much agnostic because now if you can leverage any C2 system to get that operational site picture and be able to leverage the different systems that’s how we want to move forward to an assist in the future where we’re not designating systems but designating how we want capability to integrate moving forward is where we want to go. 

So that’s why some of the servers still have C2 systems but with focus of integrating it into fat C2 right so we have a system of system integrated interoperable moving forward and we’re looking at other things with technology that’s out there how do we leverage some of those efforts to be able to regardless of what you’re using you’re all getting the same air picture and same tracks moving forward that’s where we want to be.

When you look at the problem set back here in the united states homeland security if I’m a senior commander on an installation what kinds of things are we doing I mean you mentioned there’s a certainly a technology line of effort but there’s also policy and and and doctrine to be able to give commanders the tools to be able to defeat nefarious UAS. So what kinds of things working with the interagency and so forth are you doing to support installation commanders?

Yes so we work very closely with our OSD policy who has done a lot of work in this area working through the various regulations and authorities so that our DoD sites have the approval to not only detect but if necessary defeat and what my team is really doing is as the new technology comes on board working closely with agencies like the FAA as they ensure the freedom of navigation in the airspace is it dear to how do our systems play into that so that we have approvals?

You know we always have the right to self-defense but approvals  as we look out you know moving forward and it’s really keeping a pace of technology and ensuring that the FAA understands moving forward. But also like you highlighted the authorities so that the soldiers on the ground understand what we’re doing now is leveraging fire center joint counter UAS academy they’re developing a planners course almost as you know you have a force protection OIC that understands kind of how to employ these and how to get after these different authorities the fire center of excellence is doing the same thing with the planners course for the installation commanders, so that we can whether mtt or bring in the installation planners so that they have that foundation from a planning aspect and are able to understand and sift through the various regulations that are out there, and then employ this capability to its maximum effectiveness.

So you talked about a family of systems. How are you working to attack the different problem sets of fixed sites you know dismounted and then mobile formations as well?

So as we look at you know the different ways to employ counter UAS capability you know from a joint perspective really I think this is where the JCO comes in place.

Because fixed site it’s really pretty much the same type of way you can defend this system with your system layered approach and as we look at a menu of systems that’s really the wheelhouse I think the JCO leverages its effort.

Now when you start talking for example mobility moving with a division you know some of the technology areas that we develop is leveraged by the services and then the service takes it with their service requirements for example the Army will have a certain service requirement to be able to maneuver with the division, and then they will take that capability and one of the efforts the Army is moving for is put it on a single vehicle, for example like a striker.

So then you take that capability and outline your requirements from an Army perspective and then take that technology and put it on a platform necessary to be able to do it. So that’s where I leverage the service energy and expertise and requirements to get after a despairing different type of mission set same with dismounted.

We have several capability areas that could be leveraged for a dismounted type mission, the Army comes in looks at the capabilities that we we’ve taken a lot of capability from what socom is doing, and so we make that available to the joint force and then the Army comes in and go, hey that’s a great system that the so that socom is using we want to leverage it for our  light forces dismounted forces and leverage that capability and that’s really where the service aspect comes in.

As drones or UAS have inevitably become fully autonomous are we looking at how that might impact the counter UAS mission in terms of, will our systems have some autonomous nature to them as well?

Great question, so as we look at the threat and how it’s evolving, I try to sum it, really in three major areas, in the major areas I i focus on is autonomy is the first one speed is the other one because whether it’s you know going fast over 200 miles per hour or going real slow presents different challenges to our counter UAS system, and then size you know whether you know larger is easier for me, because you know you then leverage a counter air defense type systems with some of our radars if they’re in the liver but as you get smaller and smaller smaller radar cross section from a radar perspective more difficult to see.

Those are the three main areas as technology is evolving out there that we’re focused on. That’s how our demonstrations help us as we go to the industry and say hey, you know what you have as we look at autonomy. Because as you look at autonomy the autonomy is in distinct effort to evade a lot of our EW type systems that’s that’s what it is.

So you’re trying to get away from what the EW systems are targeting whether it’s the connection between the operator and the drone, or the different type satellites they’re leveraging, that’s where the kinetic effects come into play in the radar, and that’s the beauty of the system of system approach layered system, so as you know you may have an autonomous vehicle coming at you, it should be agnostic to the operator, because he may not pick it up with his EW system but his radar system picks it up and then he knows he needs to leverage one of his kinetic effectors against it.

One of the things I think it’s a great opportunity for Matt said you know I did an interview earlier in the week when I was at Huntsville as part of the symposium, and the topic was you know general Gainey says ‘kinetic solutions only’ I’m paraphrasing but that’s not the case you know, we there always.

I believe there is going to be a need for the non-kinetic EW type systems right because you know it’s the bulk of what we’re seeing out there right now.

You have some really exquisite technology being worked out at your internal cost curve it provides a great opportunity so I’m always going to look to integrate that EW capability into our system of systems approach but I want to have the ability to have a kinetic solution in case for some reason as they move to autonomy and they find creative ways to mask themselves against some of our EW capability our soldiers have a capability in the kit bag that they can all leverage so I believe that EW, is got to be continue to be part of what we do moving forward but it is a system of system approach so appreciate you let me correct the record.

This will be the last question and I’m gonna make it a fun one and I’m gonna plagiarize a question that you were asked on a previous panel so hopefully the author will forgive me and that is you know just like everything else that’s technology and so forth it has come out in pop culture so when you think of unmanned aerial systems which movie over the last several years has captured your imagination and made you think about you know the the problem set when it comes to UAS’s?

That’s an easy one what’s it has fallen the Angel Fallen because I was sitting there watching I was actually watching it with my son at the time and my wife at the time and and when you saw the you know really swarm kind of swarm multiple one-way high-explosive attacks with precision ID the individual AI enabled algorithms inside of it prevented a significantly daunting task and my son just kind of looked at me and says we good. Yeah all of that did you tell him we got this of course I did but I told him the technology that we are working you know is designed against the hardest problem set that’s out there but it’s you know portrayal of those capabilities, and how they’re employed is really what gives my team and I the excitement every day coming into the office to work different solutions working with industry and you know and that’s where this is the time where I got to give credit to my team.

I have some passionate team members so when we pull this team together I’m very fortunate to be able to build this team and be part of it and set up and move it forward and the personnel on my team the energy in their eyes getting after this problem set they’re the ones.

Because they truly understand my team we go down to Centcom aor we sit and talk with the soldiers at the destination you know with them in mind the great soldiers that are out there today forward away from their families defending their sites with this capability.

We got to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can and I have a team that I can fully say is invested in that and I appreciate the teamwork for the partnership with us to help us get that best capability and I know some of them may not agree that we’re picking the best one but we’re trying we’re doing our best and we’re giving everybody the opportunity.

Because at the end of the day it’s our great soldiers that are on the ground that have to be able to use this equipment to protect moving forward and again.

That’s why I appreciate platforms like this with AUSA to allow me to come on and share a little bit and take some of the questions, and you know tell everybody what we’re doing and  let industry know the forms that they can tap into, so at the end of the day we’re all moving forward on the same effort trying to get after the same problems.

Well Sean thanks for spending time with us today for the AUSA noon report and giving us some insight into the progress you’re making of some of the challenges that continue to lie ahead to the audience. Thank you very much for your thoughtful questions.

I’m sorry we didn’t get to every single one but there were certainly some great ones and to AUSA thanks for making it possible to have this discussion and thanks to what you do for our soldiers each and every day.


HLS.Today Source: AUSA and Webinar



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