Digital Warrior: The Warfighter as a Connected Platform

Enabling the Internet of Battlefield Things

Increasing situational awareness for rapid decision making is central to the digital battlespace, our concept of future warfare that will help the Department of Defense (DOD) maintain its advantage over future competitors. For close-combat teams, our vision unfolds as a suite of Digital Warrior solutions that bring the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) to the tactical edge.

Networked warfighters can be empowered to receive real-time intelligence and take fast action using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), edge computing, and integrated sensors for human-machine teaming.

Why Providing Intelligent Services Is a Challenge

The military is working on high-tech capabilities, yet focusing on each enhancement individually can lead to stovepiped systems bringing problems such as:

  • Increased vulnerabilities – Disconnected equipment development makes it difficult to create and act on a unified, tactical picture, which lessens the comparative lethality of the squad. Cyber vulnerabilities are also heightened when each piece of equipment is an attack surface due to varying security standards.
  • Unprepared teams – Warfighters need to continuously train using realistic environments. Immersive technologies leverage private-sector augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and analytics for interactive scenarios and actionable metrics.
  • Disjointed acquisition process – The dismounted warrior’s kit has evolved with different power sources, interfaces, standards, and connectors. Bringing common data and physical interfaces to this equipment would decrease the mobile warfighter’s physical and mental load.

“As an Army infantry officer in combat, my soldiers and I had to carry multiple pieces of kit to accomplish our missions. I’m working to give a properly architected, lightweight, and connected technical advantage to future military teams.”

Integration Is the Answer for High-Speed Military Operations

The future operating environment will require an interoperable joint force that operates with common architectures, solutions, training, and human performance monitoring. This requires a connected, flexible, interoperable framework that connects sensors and tactical communications platforms.

Characteristics of Digital Warrior Solutions 

Read our report to learn more about leading-tech solutions and their essential characteristics:

Open – Government-owned open architectures will allow the military to create a flexible data fabric connecting stakeholders and missions.

Smart – A suite of enabling technologies can continually evolve—for example:

  • Wearable analytics software for fast processing and analysis
  • Heads-up displays for hands-free situational awareness
  • Biometric sensors to maximize warfighters’ well-being and monitor performance
  • Immersive technologies using augmented reality and virtual reality to transform training

At the edge – Connectivity will be practical even in denied and degraded environments with a digital battlefield network.  

Secure – Cybersecurity and resilience are a life-or-death essential at the tactical edge, so security must be integrated across the acquisition lifecycle.

Reaping the Benefits of Digital Warrior Solutions

Providing frontline warriors with unmatched situational awareness and communication abilities will transform close-combat warfare. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Increased survivability and lethality – Close-combat teams will be able to share information securely, make decisions rapidly, and take fast, effective action.
  • Greater situational awareness – Smart analytics through a reliable wireless tactical network connected to long-range networks will allow frontline forces to receive and process information from multiple sources.
  • Human-machine partnering – Warfighters will gain the bird’s-eye view of a drone, the close-up vision of a mobile ground robot, the watchful intelligence of an AI asset, and the power of a long-range missile.
  • Lightweight tech – Squads will move faster with user-friendly tech that make a shared power source practical—a way to simplify operations and prioritize critical equipment.
  • Increased readiness – Open-source integration opens up a path of continual improvement, allowing teams to incorporate new technologies and adapt to constant change.

Digital Warrior solutions will make frontline teams ready, resilient, and harder for near-peer enemies to target—all while increasing the lethality of U.S. forces. It’s a paradigm DOD can begin to implement now.

Warfighters will gain the bird’s-eye view of a drone, the close-up vision of a mobile ground robot, the watchful intelligence of an AI asset, and the power of a long-range missile.

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Digital Warrior Solutions—The Warfighter as a Connected Platform

Discover how to increase situational awareness and bring transformational capabilities to warfighters on the front lines.