One trend within the military industrial base is to squeeze every ounce of use from sensors and systems deployed as a way to limit redundancy.

Such is the case for the Army’s newly established advise-and-assist brigade in which small combat advisory teams will accompany Afghan National Army units on missions to austere locations.

One way the Army is looking to outfit this brigade, called the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, or SFAB, from a communications perspective is by taking lessons from the special operations community.

“We’ve looked at some of the way the [special operations forces] community has operated. Even though we’re conventional, and our leaders are conventional, we do have some leaders with experience in the unconventional realm,” Maj. Tony Nocchi, the brigade’s communications officer told C4ISRNET during a recent visit to the unit’s training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA.

“What are other ways we can employ [this technology] to be able to support the commander and the commander’s ability to made decisions better,” he said.

By looking at how special operations forces have employed systems in the past, “it kind of opens the aperture of ‘we can do this,’” Nocchi said,. He added that for the SFAB, it might be a melding of special operations and conventional uses.

As an example, he said typically the Nett Warrior, a dismounted handheld system that provides the location of friendly forces and other mapping data, was fielded with 154A Rifleman radios. Now the Army is exploring radios that provide additional capabilities.

“That’s kind of a one trick radio,” he said, “We were looking at what is something else that can do that - and can do more - so we went after other radios.”

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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