US Army Developing Android Apps for Smartphone Use in Battle

US Army Developing Android Apps for Smartphone Use in Battle

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After seeing the effectiveness of smartphone use by insurgents and the Taliban, the US Army is developing a suite of applications based on Android for use in tactical situation.

Remember all the stuff that Jack Bauer from 24 could do with his "PDA" or all the times you have had to snap photos of things in videogames to send back to HQ? Well now, that will become a reality. The American Army is currently developing a software suite called the Joint Battle Command-Platform, or JBC-P Handheld. JBC-P uses Google's Android operating system to run on phones that the Army would provide to soldiers in the field in Afghanistan and Iraq. Example applications for use in real battle include marking enemy locations on a GPS map for other soldiers to see, and sending pictures of wounds to medical staff for first aid instructions or possible treatment preparation. The inspiration to move forward with this program - which the Army hopes to roll out in 2013 - was witnessing enemy combatants using their own smartphones to cause American casualties.

"One of the most significant feedbacks you get from soldiers in theater is they look at their Afghan army compatriots or the Taliban guy, who has a cell phone," said Lt. Gen. Michael Vane. "We want to deny that capability to our own soldiers even through the enemy is using them?"

Crowdsourcing is not something that the US. Military is known for, but even that is changing. The Army plans on deploying a development kit for third party software designers to create applications that the military hasn't yet considered. "Using the Mobile /Handheld CE Product Developers Kit, we're going to allow the third-party developers to actually develop capabilities that aren't stovepiped," said Lt. Col. Mark Daniels, referring to the way intelligence information is funneled up the chain of command.

The US Army already uses sophisticated communication and tactical computer systems effectively in battle, but carrying a device as versatile as a modern smartphone would replace a lot of proprietary technology. I'm impressed that the guys in the Pentagon would consider ditching custom-made computers and just let the soldier use what the commercial market has deemed the most effective way to collect and share intelligence information - the smartphone.

I'm just glad they are using the Android OS. I don't think I could bear my country being defended by soldiers holding iPhones with white earbuds coming out of them.

Source: IB Times

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Wasnt this covered a few months ago?

gigastar:
Wasnt this covered a few months ago?

i was just gonna say, i remember the first time this was an article here.

I don't know why, but I feel kinda bad that my first thought was "pls 2 snd air suport" after reading that.

I'm pretty sure I've heard about this before, and while neat in concept, I think the idea is pretty stupid to be honest. We have a huge problem keeping phone systems secure as it is, and the last thing we need is for our soldiers to be relying on a communications network that even kids can exploit.

On top of this, consider that our next major war is likely to be against someone like China. Look at what's going on right no with the allegations that China has been knocking out US information networks over the last few days with their hacker corps. due to some kind of disagreement with a human rights group over a petition that snowballed. Whether that's true or not, the point is that e all know the possibility for this kind of hacking exists. The last thing we need is for our troops to be trained to rely on an information network that is that easily exploited. After all, someone could hack into these phone networks and provide bad information about enemy locations and so on, and cause all kinds of problems.

To be honest, I think our big problem has never been lack of a technological edge, so much as it has been too much morality in our engagement doctrine. Enemies could use Cell Phones to gain a bit of an advantage, largely because our own combat doctrine at the moment allows them to. We wind up in a serious war against a group that has similar tech to us, and can get into those systems, then having all our troops wired into them is going to be a liability.

I think we actually need to spend more time focusing on getting our troops ready to fight without all the fancy technology, not that they shouldn't know how to use it, but the last thing we need is everyone to be carrying a Smartphone. Should we go to war with China, or more to the point WHEN we go to war with China, this is a nation that has already been working on ways to blind and counter our satellites using things like ground based laser systems (I've posted links before, they have had that since like 2006). In the end, we're going to have to be ready to get the job done without pretending our soldiers are Batman.

For some reason the first thing that popped up in my mind after reading the title was soldiers twittering on the battlefield: I just freaking headshotted that afgan!

does that make me a bad person :D

Veloxe:
I don't know why, but I feel kinda bad that my first thought was "pls 2 snd air suport" after reading that.

You shouldn't, it's a lot better than "OMG newbfags r flanked us. Fucking campers"

I actually read the beginning of the title "US Army Developing Android" and got SUPER excited, but then the rest of the sentence crushed any hopes I had of the US Army turning super cool.

Soldier 1: "They're advancing, open fire!"
Soldier 2: "Hey Jimmy what are you doing? Put away the phone and fire your rifle!"
Soldier 3: "Hold on, I'm reading this thread on the Escapist Forums. Just one more paragraph!"

Finally, the Android vs. iPhone debate has a winner:

My Android can blow up your iPhone.

Rule of thumb: If they say they are then they already have.

I know soldiers who already use smartphones for a number of uses.

And I was hoping the US Army had invented the T-800.

 

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