USSOCOM Wants Computer-Draining Tech

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U.S. Special Operations Command wants its operators to be able to drain intelligence from enemy computers, so they don’t have to lug them off the battlefield.

Intelligence gathering is a critical part of special-ops missions to capture or kill high-value targets such as the SEAL Team 6 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Operators grab as much hardware as they can carry off of an objective. Now SOCOM is looking for a better way.

The command is inviting the defense industry to participate in an “assessment event for the next generation of document and media exploitation devices in March of 2015 at Fort Bragg, NC. All hardware/equipment submitted for testing shall be production models and capable of executing document and media extraction from a variety of electronic media devices,” according to a request for information posted on FedBizOpps.gov.

Steve Rutherford, a retired Navy SEAL now living in Tampa who spent several years in Iraq searching for high- and medium-value targets as well as weapons of mass destruction, says such a device would be beneficial, but would also present commandos with additional challenges, especially out at the scene of a raid, according to a Nov. 18 Tampa Tribune article.

"We did a lot of document collection," said Rutherford. "It is one of the slowest return loops in the whole process of find, fix and finish the enemy."

The device should allow commandos the ability to extract, in 15 minutes or less under austere conditions, file names, hash numbers, personal identifying information like names, addresses, telephone numbers, email address, chat users names and be able to compare all that data with a watchlist of adversary information contained in the device, the Tribune reported.

Interested companies have until Nov. 19 to response to the RFI. In February, vendors will be required to deliver five “fully functional devices and associated items for technical assessment,” according to the RFI.

Vendors will be expected to train SOCOM testers so they can operate them during the assessment, scheduled for March 17-27. Vendors will not participate in the actual events conducted jointly by SOCOM and the Joint Interoperability Test Command, but may be asked to address questions or issues by phone or e-mail during the evaluation, according the RFI.

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