Coming Soon. Smart Device For Every Soldier

Smart device for every soldier

The following Army Times article reveals how far and how quickly the ideology of technology and soldier usage has come. When we started Kopis Mobile four and half years ago, there were very few early advocates let alone adopters of a smart device in the hands of every soldier.

In fact, if you were to ask someone in the Department of Defense  at that time if smart devices would ever become prevalent;  80% said “No”,  10%  said “they are in use to a certain degree” and the final 10% said, “The use of mobile devices and mobile apps within DoD is happening and will only grow.” We gambled and started the company on that final 10%.

Fast-forward four and a half years and our gamble is no longer a “gamble” per say, but more a confirmation of what we knew to be true back then.  Below is an excerpt from an article in the Army Times.

Meghann Myers is a senior reporter at Army Times

Between the hours soldiers have to spend online for professional military education and the possibilities a handheld, touchscreen device could hold downrange, the Army is taking a step toward developing a standard-issue device for every soldier.

The team at PEO Soldier has come up with a prototype that they recently presented to the Army’s top enlisted soldier, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey said Tuesday.

“I’m an advocate of, every soldier has a device,” Dailey said.

 The prototype is a large tablet-like device, he added.
 

“Operationally, they can use it while they’re on the battlefield,” Dailey said. “It could have a number of apps that would assist them in their capabilities with land navigation, communication, [and] … I asked for the capability to extend that resource to be able to use it for institutional reasons as well.”

That would include being able to do professional military education courses and tests on the device with a Common Access Card reader.

“That’s how civilian education works,” Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Davenport, the senior enlisted soldier at Training and Doctrine Command, added. “These young people are all on smart phones and tablets.”

Details on if and when to issue a device will have to be hammered out, but Davenport said that some pilots have already taken place, with soldiers bringing in their own hardware.

Keeping a small business running is always tough. Coupled with the government space we are in and dealing with those who had the 80% mind set, it is even tougher. All of that aside, we are super proud to be ranked 384 on this year’s Inc. 5000 list.

We achieved this honor by listening to soldier and first responder problems. We then quickly acknowledged and devised solutions to those problems with simple to use, mobile solutions. So here’s to many more years of Kopis Mobile’s listening, forward thinking and more than a touch of tenacity.

 

 

Battle Of Mogadishu: 03 October 1993

Memorial for those lost
Memorial for those lost

Long before we started Kopis Mobile, on 03 October 1993, I was out in the California desert participating in land warfare training. Back in the those days, training cell still consisted of Vietnam vets. I remember being on a lunch break when we turned on the news and saw what was going on in a little country called Somalia.

I frankly had never really heard of the place. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Crashed helicopters, dead American bodies, locals dragging bodies through the streets, and word of an American pilot being held hostage.

So many lessons learned came out of the battle and the acts of heroism were numerous. Never let the Battle of Mogadishu be forgotten nor the men who lost their lives there.

Below is credited to a National Geographic article.

In October 1993, a contingent of 160 U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force operators—some of America’s most elite, highly-trained and skilled military forces—ventured in helicopters and armed vehicles into the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, on a mission to capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and other leaders of his militia. But the raid went disastrously wrong.

Two U.S. helicopters were shot down, and a lengthy urban battle ensued in which in which 18 Americans were killed and 73 wounded, and helicopter pilot Michael Durant was seized by an angry mob. Hundreds of Somalis lost their lives as well.

It’s not easy to make sense of the Battle of Mogadishu, and not just because of the fog of war. Here’s some historical background that will help you to understand the complex combination of factors that made Somalia into such a violent, dangerous place on that fateful day.

Somalia, a Texas-sized nation of 10.6 million along the eastern horn of Africa, for a long time has been one of the world’s most impoverished, chaotic, and violent places.

It is a hot, dry place with few natural resources except for pastureland, and for much of Somalia’s history, its people were mostly nomadic clans who raised cattle. But Somalia’s strategic location along the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean was coveted by bigger, stronger countries such as France, Britain and Italy, and it was under foreign domination from the mid-1880s until finally gaining independence in 1960.

But nine years after that, a strongman named Muhammad Siad Barre took power in a coup, and his military regime nationalized much of Somalia’s meager economy in an effort to establish what he called “scientific socialism.” But that failed experiment—coupled with starvation caused by punishing droughts and an ill-conceived war with neighboring Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s—only made Somalia weaker and poorer.

In 1991, Barre finally was ousted. As clans led by warlords began to fight among themselves for control, Somalia collapsed into chaos. As journalist Mark Bowden described Mogadishu in his 1999 nonfiction bestseller “Black Hawk Down,” the Somali capital of Mogadishu was “the world capital of things-gone-completely-to-hell,” a place where streets were filled with mountains of trash and the rusted hulks of burned out vehicles, and starving refugees huddled in shanties built from rags and scavenged wood, and lit campfires inside abandoned government buildings.

U.S. troops were sent to Somalia in 1992 by then-President George H.W. Bush, as part of a United Nations humanitarian operation that also included 13,000 soldiers from other nations. The original purpose was restore enough order so that starving Somalis could be fed.

According to a 1995 Congressional investigation, however, the U.S. forces increasingly bore the brunt of taking on the violent warlords and their militias, who threatened the UN’s efforts. After Aidid’s militia ambushed Pakistani peacekeeping forces in June 1993, the UN representative in Somalia, Jonathan Howe, ordered Aidid’s arrest. The job of capturing Aidid and his key lieutenants fell to U.S. forces, and led to the ill-fated assault in October 1993.

When the U.S. forces arrived at their target, two of Aidid’s top lieutenants were captured. Just when the team thought the raid was wrapping up, a militiaman armed with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher managed to shoot down one of the U.S. force’s Black Hawk helicopters, a Black Hawk known as Super 6-1.

The pilot and co-pilot were killed, and five soldiers were injured, including a Delta sniper who later died from his wounds. A rescue force managed to help the survivors escape, but shortly afterward, a second Black Hawk was shot down as well. Three crew members were killed, but pilot Michael Durant, who suffered a broken back and leg, survived and was taken prisoner.

Two Delta Force operators, Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. First Class Randall Shughart, who rushed into the fray in an effort to rescue Durant and were killed, were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1994.

Durant endured mistreatment from his captors, who eventually released him 11 days later, after negotiations led by U.S. diplomat Robert Oakley.

The disaster quickly had repercussions. Several days later, President Bill Clinton announced that all U.S. troops would leave Somalia within six months. In 1995, the UN mission in Somalia ended in failure.

As for the Somali warlord Aidid, any satisfaction that he got from vanquishing the Americans was short-lived. Less than three years later, he reportedly died of a heart attack after surgery for gunshot wounds.

Today, 24 years after the operation in Mogadishu, Somalia still is a troubled place. Though a new, internationally-backed government was installed in 2012, the impoverished nation faces a new threat from Al-Shabab, a terror group linked to Al-Qaeda.

America Will Persevere. We Always Do

George Patton

I have refrained, which hasn’t been easy, to keep current media events out of this blog. I won’t belabor on any of the junk we have blasted in our face on a 24/7 basis. America and the values it was built on are not going anywhere anytime soon regardless of what some try to do or say. You can try to erase this great country’s history. Hide your identity and throw rocks through a business window. Take a knee during our National Anthem. Use your status as a celebrity (by the way, the only person that thinks your famous is yourself) to push your views on others.

All of this is meaningless to those of us who have given everything to this country. The following is General George Patton’s speech to the Third Army. I figure we all could use some genuine American bad’assery about now. Turn off the news. Get off Facebook. Stop Tweeting. Go chug a beer. Spend time with your family and friends. Shoot a bunch of guns. Salute our flag. Say thanks to a veteran and first responder.

General Patton had a very “colorful” way of talking at times. This speech is one of those times. If you are easily offended and read out loud, cover your ears.

Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit.

Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.

You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else.

Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards.

Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he’s not, he’s a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are.

The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared.

Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He Men and they ARE He Men.

Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.

All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call ‘chicken shit drilling’. That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don’t give a fuck for a man who’s not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn’t be here. You are ready for what’s to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you’re not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sockful of shit!

There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.

An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking! We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we’re going up against. By God, I do.

My men don’t surrender, and I don’t want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back That’s not just bull shit either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!

All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.

What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn’t like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, ‘Hell, they won’t miss me, just one man in thousands.’ But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like?

No, Goddamnit, Americans don’t think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war.

The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn’t a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the ‘G.I. Shits’.

Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men.

One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, ‘Fixing the wire, Sir.’ I asked, ‘Isn’t that a little unhealthy right about now?’ He answered, ‘Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.’ I asked, ‘Don’t those planes strafing the road bother you?’ And he answered, ‘No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!’ Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds.

And you should have seen those trucks on the rode to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren’t combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.

Don’t forget, you men don’t know that I’m here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this Army. I’m not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Some day I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, ‘Jesus Christ, it’s the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton’. We want to get the hell over there.’ The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.

Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!

When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don’t dig foxholes. I don’t want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don’t give the enemy time to dig one either. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have.

We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cock suckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You’ve got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it’s the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you’ll know what to do!

I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!

From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don’t give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.

There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON’T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, ‘Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!'”

Life Is Tough. You Can’t Let It Get You Down

Life is tough

I am not in the habit of paying attention to too much I see on social media, but I thought the following was pretty poignant.  A lot of things in life are tough. Trying to make and keep Kopis Mobile successful is tough. Raising kids is tough. Making ends meet is tough. It goes on and on. Hopefully, this post helps put some things into perspective.

Life is tough, no doubt! It’s a twisting and winding roller coaster of ups and downs, and sometimes it seems like as soon as you get up, you’re knocked down again.

Life can be difficult sometimes and i’m sure that I am preaching to the choir when I say that. Everyone knows life is tough, but nobody ever realizes just how tough it can get. When things start to tumble down around you it can make you feel hopeless. While you shouldn’t ever try to control the things that happen around you – because you can’t – it doesn’t mean you just have to sit there and take a beating. Get back up on your feet and fight back. When things start to crumble we tend to just dig the hole deeper for ourselves.

The more you beat yourself down the harder it gets to keep going, trust me. However, once you accept these brutal truths, it’ll help you get your shit together. We get so caught up in the worldly complications we create for ourselves that we forget some of the most concrete things! You can’t keep waiting for things to get better; you have to do it yourself. Accepting these things will really open your eyes to the importance of it.

1. You’re Dying

No matter how much time and money you spend on making your life good, and perfecting it, it will always end no matter what.

2. Everybody You Know Will Die

You can’t constantly obsess over losing people and death, but you also can’t take anyone for granted. Eventually, everyone you know will die, and you might not be the last one to go either.

3. Wealth Isn’t Happiness

No matter what amount of money you have it will never cause you to be happy. Happiness is within, no matter the riches.

4. Searching for Happiness Makes You Lose It

Happiness is right under your nose. If you are constantly searching for something to make you happy, you’ll never suffice your hunger. In order to be happy you have to be happy with what you already have.

5. Spend Time Not Money

Many people have the belief that you can’t enjoy yourself without spending money, but this is false. You don’t have to go out to dinner, to see a movie, or go to an amusement park to have fun.

6. You Can’t Please Everyone

Trying to please everyone around you is exhausting. You just can’t do it, so stop trying.

7. Accept Your Feelings

Stop trying to deny yourself of emotions. You have feelings and you can’t get past them without admitting you have them to begin with.

8. When You’re Gone, You’re Gone

Don’t even worry about trying to leave a legacy because you probably won’t be able to. There are 7 billion of us, there’s just not enough you can do to make people remember you.

9. Be Responsible

Nobody is responsible for your actions except for you. Regardless of what influences you, you are the ultimate decider in your fate. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

10. Stop Trying to Be Perfect

None of us are perfect, and although we all try to be, we never will be. Perfection is an imaginary tale of fairies. Stop trying to live up to some non-existent standard and love yourself.

11. Don’t Waste Talent

If you have a talent put it to use! Don’t let a god given ability go to waste!

12. Live in the Now

As much as we try to plan out and control our lives, we ultimately don’t control anything. You can try to predict the future and prepare for it, but it’ll never work out the way you think it will. Stop trying to perfect the future and stop dwelling on the past and you will achieve happiness.

13. Nobody Cares How Hard Your life Is

Life is hard for everyone. It throws us all twists and turns, so stop thinking you’re the only one it happens to. Stop going on and on trying to make everyone believe your life is harder than theirs. It’s a never ending piss contest.

14. Share Your Knowledge

Learning things is useless unless you share it with the people around you! Knowledge is only of help if we share it with each other. If you learn something the hard way, help your neighbor out by warning them.

15. Invest in Yourself

If you don’t spend time on yourself life is pointless! You don’t get to live as anyone else, so take the time to really make yourself the best version there is.

16. When Things Suck, Don’t react

Life might always throw us curveballs, but it ultimately comes down to the way you react to it. If you believe it is the end of the world it will really feel like it. However, keep your chin up and remain positive and you’ll see that things aren’t half bad.

17. Quit Dreaming and Do the Work

Dreams are for the birds, you have to make your biggest wishes come true. There are no wish granting genies even though we all still hope one will show up for us. It’s time to stop expecting things to change and change them for yourself. Want to be an actor? Go be an actor. Stop wishing and do it

18. Time is More Valuable than Money

We are so obsessed with money that we forget about the real terms of currency in life; time. We literally exchange 40 hours of our lives per week in exchange for cash. You have to realize that time is much more valuable than money. You can do a bunch more with it too.

19. Be Grateful

No matter how bad you think you might have it, there is always someone who has it worse. Be happy and be grateful for the things you do have instead of wishing for the things you don’t! It takes the joy and value out of everything if you don’t appreciate it!

20. Donate Time

You should donate time to making your community better, not just money. The only way to get the ball moving on improving our society is by actually doing something about it. Step up and donate some time to the community!

21. Don’t Lose Yourself

It’s important to never lose your true sense of self throughout the journey of life. Always remember what is important to you and keep a sense of your priorities!

22. You Can’t Take Money with you When You Die

You might be a millionaire in this world, but you certainly can’t take it with you when you move on. We all die eventually, so don’t get too caught up in your own finances. There are more important things in life.

Army Tests New Tactical Vehicles For Future Conflicts

The Hunter (right) and Killer vehicles drive up a road toward the experimentation area of the Maneuver Fires Integrated Exercise (MFIX), April 3, at Fort Sill. (Photo by Monica K. Guthrie)

Although we don’t do much with vehicles, we do like to post information on cool stuff. Polaris manufactures some really great vehicles. We bump into some of their guys at various trade shows from time to time. This is an article from Autoblog.

Two dune buggies crest a hill at Fort Sill, Okla. These aren’t recreational 4x4s, but military prototypes with a definite job: to help the U.S. Army develop a next-generation fighting vehicle. They are Polaris MRZRs, outfitted with radar domes, electronic jamming equipment, video monitors and various sizes and styles of antennae that sprout from the grille, rear bumper and seatbacks.

As befitting such cutting-edge military machines, the Army testers have dubbed these “Hunter” and the other “Killer.” They are being put through the paces at an Army exercise called the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX), held last spring.

The 10-day event involves scores of real-world tests of new technologies that the Army says it needs to keep up with the modernizing militaries of China, Iran and Russia.

Hunter and Killer provide a glimpse into what future battles might look like, and what combat vehicles will be asked to do. The lessons learned now will be applied to vehicles the Army hopes to field in 2020, Army officials tell Autoblog.

The first thing that becomes obvious when examining these machines is that the Army is not counting on infantry troops to be able to drop close to their mission targets. “We’ve all grown used to an environment where we’ve enjoyed air superiority,” says Maj. Andrew Forney, branch chief of the Maneuver, Aviation, Soldier Division, Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Sill. “We’re having a lot of discussions on what we do if we can’t rely on that.”

Modern antiaircraft missiles made by Russia and China have increasingly long ranges, so infantry parachuting into combat will have to travel farther to get to the fight. That means small off-road vehicles will have to be dropped with them, to help ferry the soldiers and the 80 pounds of gear they each carry closer to the action.

It’s no coincidence that Polaris ATVs are being used for this test. They have a pedigree within the military because of their use by Special Operations forces. The company even has a division called Polaris Defense to focus on this market. Special Operations forces also use the General Dynamics’ Flyer as an off-road vehicle of choice.

New tactical vehicle

However familiar, the Army cannot just adopt these militarized dune buggies since Special Operations Command has some specific uses and requirements for their ATVs that the Army doesn’t share.

SpecOps vehicles carry six soldiers, not the nine needed to transport an entire squad of infantry. SpecOps also demands a vehicle that the troops (called operators) can use as a fighting platform, so they have weapons mounts.

They carry extra, secret communications equipment. And while some Army helicopters can carry these vehicles, the versions fielded today aren’t designed to be dropped from airplanes.

Neither Hunter nor Killer are the final design that will appear in the field in 2020. A large-scale acquisition program will settle that in the future. But the gear that the vehicle has to carry, and the rules that govern how frontline soldiers use it, are being developed now.

Let’s get back to that hypothetical airdrop. The Army troops have landed, stowed their parachutes and loaded up their 4x4s. They are now ready to move toward the enemy’s position. To get there unnoticed — and to be “noticed” means being targeted by lethal barrages of enemy artillery — requires air defenses targeted at enemy drones.

Russia used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to spot Ukrainian forces during their recent conflict, a grim lesson that U.S. military planners took to heart. Knocking down UAVs is now a cottage industry, and more than a dozen drone-killing systems tested at MIFIX 2017 proved this interest is still strong.

The system that got the most attention was a 5-kilowatt laser mounted on a Stryker vehicle, which officials say torched more than 12 drones during the exercises. A 10-kW version is to be tested in November.

But the laser is too big for the buggies needed to drop into combat with airborne forces. For scale, the Army says Hunter/Killer has a maximum load of 1,500 pounds — compare that to the Army’s current Stryker vehicle weighing almost 20 tons. So these small vehicles need something else to counter snooping unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Killer vehicle has specialized radar and a laser range finder that soldiers can use to detect and track drones as they get close. Some of these systems have been adapted from equipment developed to track incoming mortar rounds.

The system is largely automated. When the drone is spotted, the soldiers can jam the communications between a UAV and its operator, a bit of electronic warfare pushed out to the front line of a battle.

Giving a commander the tools in hand to make a quick decision could be the key to victory, or even survival. “What we’re excited about is that these platforms allow these capabilities to be pushed down to the tactical level,” says Michael Murray, battle operations software suite team program lead for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.

The main mission of these light, air-dropped forces is to find the enemy and direct long-range attacks against their air defenses. That could mean missions such as disabling GPS signal jamming, directing long-range cruise missile attacks against command centers, seizing airports or crippling antiaircraft missile batteries. These actions will open up the skies to warplanes, friendly drones and closer airdrops of reinforcements or supplies.

This is the art of what the military calls “precision fires.” Army troops need to be able to direct long-distance attacks from their own branch, or from the Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps. At MFIX 2017, the Hunter vehicle was kitted out with an automated system that can ease the process of asking for this support.

The soldiers in the vehicle also had a live video feed showing them what U.S. drones were seeing. This kind of tech is already standard at headquarters and is becoming standard in many large vehicles, but is also needed by those close to the action — airborne divisions.

“After previous exercises, we heard, ‘We love these capabilities, but it’d be great if they were on a vehicle that is suited for a light division,” says Murray. “We want to arm that young leader with things that let him operate decentralized, with all the tools and situational awareness he needs to make decisions in real time, at the tactical edge and not at divisional HQ.”

NGAUS Conference 2017

NGAUS 2017 Conference and Expo

8-10 September, Kopis Mobile will have a booth at The National Guard Association of the United States Expo (NGUAS) in Louisville, Ky. We will have a multi-faceted display set up in booth 506.

During the show, we are dedicating efforts on our FastForm Readiness System. The system is designed to cut time wasting paperwork by 50%. It focuses on tracking a Guard Unit’s medical, dental and Officer Efficiency Reports / Non Commissioned Officer Efficiency Reports.

Example Only. Not real personal data

The FastForm Readiness System was designed with the National Guard in mind. We learned from multiple interviews that tracking all of this individual information is a nightmare.

With a simple swipe of an ID card, updated information is available in less than 10 seconds. One of the best features of the system is it all happens on a mobile tablet. An email can be generated directly from the tablet to a specific unit member alerting them of a deficiency. It tells them what the problem is, how to fix the problem and what happens if they don’t fix the problem.

Currently, National Guard Units from across the country are being deployed to assist in recovery operations from Hurricane Harvey. Now, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on the East Coast. Without doubt, the National Guard will be deployed to the worst effected areas.

At the NGUAS show, we will be introducing our latest addition to the Readiness System. It focuses on critical qualifications held by Guard members that would be most needed during a natural disaster. Things like bulldozer driver, construction worker, plumber, or electrician.

So if you are in the Louisville area September 8th-10th or you are already attending the conference, please stop in at booth 506. We want to hear your ideas. We developed FastForm by listening to military members didn’t have an easy solution to their problem. The more we know, the better we are at making the lives of those that make us safe better.

National Guard Steps Forward In A Time Of Need

In A Time Of Need
National Guard Steps Up

It has taken a hurricane of biblical proportions to bring our country together and no one comes together like the citizens of Texas. Although people are obviously suffering, it restores one’s hope to see how our country has responded.

More than 30,000 National Guard and active duty troops were on standby Tuesday to assist overwhelmed Texas authorities in coping with the “historic” national disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey and the torrential rains and flooding that came in its wake.

At least 10 persons are believed to have died in Harvey’s aftermath, and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced Tuesday the first death of an officer assigned to disaster relief. Acevedo said Officer Steve Perez, a 34-year veteran, drowned in a flooded-out underpass as he tried to reach his duty station.

Acevedo said Perez’ wife told him that she pleaded with her husband not to go, but he told her

“We’ve got work to do” in rescuing thousands of city residents stranded by the floods and getting them to shelter.

Harvey, now downgraded from a Category 4 Hurricane to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 45 mph, was meandering off the Gulf Coast and was expected to take aim at southwest Louisiana as it came back ashore on a path to the vicinity of Shreveport, Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.

On Monday, President Donald Trump issued a federal emergency declaration for five parishes in southwest Louisiana: Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vermillion.

The Weather Service warned of another storm surge along the coast, with “a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland.”

Hard rains were still falling and rivers were still rising across wide swaths of Texas, and a broken levee and controlled releases from overflowing dams added to the flooding that has made escape routes impassable.

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, called Harvey and its aftermath “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced.”

Abbott was on hand under clear skies in Corpus Christi, Texas, on the Gulf Coast Tuesday morning to meet President Donald Trump, who arrived on Air Force One with First Lady Melania Trump to survey the damage and show support for first responders.

At the Annaville Fire Department, Trump heard reports from Coast Guardofficers and Federal Emergency Management Administrator Brock Long. “All eyes are on Houston, and so are mine,” Long said. “We’ve got a long time to go. We’re still in a life-saving, life-sustaining mission.”

Trump said the storms and flooding were “of epic proportion. No one has ever seen anything like this.” He told Abbott: “You have been terrific and you have been effective.”

Trump, wearing a windbreaker and a white “USA” ballcap, later stopped to address a crowd of several hundred supporters who had gathered nearby chanting “U.S.A! U.S.A.!” He said “This is epic, but you know what, this is Texas and Texas can handle anything.”

“I love you, you are special. We’re here to take care of you. It’s going well,” Trump said. “What a crowd, what a turnout,” he said. “We are going to get you back and operating immediately.”

Trump later went to Austin for more briefings on the response and the recovery efforts once the skies clear. He also made a reference to the long-term costs. “There’s probably never been anything so expensive in our country’s history,” he said.

Trump arrived in Texas on the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and led to widespread criticism of then-President George W. Bush over the federal response. For Katrina, 50,000 National Guard and 20,000 active-duty forces were mobilized.

Abbott called up about 900 from the Texas Army and Air National Guard before Harvey hit on Friday, and on Sunday he said about 3,000 had been mobilized. On Monday, Abbott said that all 12,000 in the Texas National Guard had been activated.

At the Pentagon Tuesday, Maj. Gen. James Witham, the National Guard Bureau’s Director of Domestic Operations, said there were actually 19,000 members of the Texas Guard, but 12,000 were currently available. He said the rest were either activated or other duties, were in training, or were unavailable.

Witham said that on Tuesday about 3,000 members of the Texas Guard were actively involved in rescue and recovery and he expected that number to grow to 4,000.

The Texas Guard had 200 high-ride vehicles in operation, with another 200 in reserve, Witham said. About 30 Texas Guard helicopters were active, and 24 more have been requested, Witham said. “We could grow up to 100 helicopters” before the storms subside, he said.

The Texas Guard alone thus far has rescued about 3,500 people stranded by the storms and flooding, including about 300 by helicopter hoist, Witham said.

The U.S. Coast Guard, which operates under Department of Homeland Security, had at least 20 helicopters operating Tuesday in the Houston area and reported that air and ground teams had rescued more than 1,450 people.

The National Guard was preparing to deploy 20,000-30,000 more troops to Texas in anticipation that Abbott makes a formal request for them, Witham said.

“I would like to emphasize that our response to this hurricane has been different to anything we’ve experienced before and we expect it to be much longer in terms of the response phase in terms of what we could normally see with a hurricane,” Witham said.

In addition to the Guard troops, active-duty air, ground and naval assets were on standby to respond in Texas but were also awaiting Abbott’s request, Witham said at a Pentagon briefing. “It depends on the governor and the state to ask for assistance,” he said. “Texas just hasn’t asked for them yet” but “we are leaning as far forward as we possibly can.”

When asked if Abbott had been too slow to ask for additional Guard and active-duty help, Witham said “Well, that’s debatable.”

“In many cases, the request for assistance not only for the National Guard but federal forces may not have been anticipated quick enough but we are providing everything we can as quickly as the state asks for it,” he said.

However, Witham said, “There are federal forces involved in the response now,” possibly under the dual-status command for Guard and Reserve, and active-duty that can be designated by Defense Secretary James Mattis with a governor’s permission.

Witham said that Abbott on Sunday signed a memo agreeing to have a dual status commander take charge of the Guard and active duty response. Mattis immediately named Brig. Gen. Patrick Hamilton of the Texas Army National Guard to be the dual-status commander, Witham said.

As the apparent result, Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicles began appearing in Galveston, Texas, on Tuesday.

2nd Lt. Stephanie Leguizamon, a spokeswoman for Marine Forces Reserve, said 56 Marines and sailors from Charlie Company, Assault Amphibian Battalion, were currently assisting the Galveston, Texas, Fire Department with search-and-rescue missions.

The amphibious assault ship Kearsarge also reportedly was preparing to leave Norfolk, Virginia, with more Navy and Marine assets to aid in the Harvey recovery.

At a briefing Monday, Army Col. Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said that Randolph-Seguin auxiliary airfield at Joint Base San Antonio has been designated as a forward staging area for the distribution of supplies and equipment in anticipation that active-duty troops would be headed to Texas.

The Pentagon also sent to Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth a search-and-rescue unit with nine rotary-wing aircraft, two fixed-wing aircraft, para-rescue teams and planners, Manning said.

The Defense Department was also pre-positioning troops, search and rescue units, aircraft, vehicles, equipment and supplies to staging areas near the worst of the flooding to await Abbott’s request for assistance, Manning said.

“As of now, all Guard personnel providing assistance are on Title 32, or state orders. Active-duty units are enroute to the staging area in anticipation of a possible request,” Manning said, but “here has been no formal tasking of Title 10 DoD units,” meaning active-duty forces.

Late Friday, U.S. Northern Command said several actions underway in Texas at the request of Abbott for specific units and in support of FEMA.

In a statement, NorthCom said nine helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft, along with pararescue teams and associated command and control elements, were operating out of Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas.

NorthCom said those Navy and Air Force search-and-rescue (SAR) assets were flying missions that resulted in more than 225 rescues. In addition, five Zodiak rescue boat crews were assisting with rescues.

NorthCom also said that about 100 light and medium tactical vehicles were on the move from the Army post at Fort Hood, Texas, to Katy, Texas, to support the Red Cross in moving patients and residents out of flooded areas in Houston.

Richard Sisk for Military.com

From us at Kopis Mobile, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone. Given most of our employees lived through Hurricane Katrina, we know the long road those folks have ahead of them. They will endure and will rebuild.

Emergency Medical Tech (EMT) For Over Thirty Years

Howard Elkins 30 years of service

In the current age of fake news, negative news, and bad news, Kopis Mobile would like to post something positive. Doing anything for 30 years is tough, being an EMT for 30 years is even tougher. One can only imagine what Howard Elkins has witnessed over his long years of service.

In First Responders we meet Metro Ambulance paramedic and crew chief Howard Elkins. Elkins has been involved in helping others for nearly thirty years.

“I like taking care of people who truly need it. It makes the job fun and exciting,” Elkins says.

Howard Elkins has been with Metro for 13 years. He started his career in public service as a volunteer firefighter in Scott County.

“I was an EMT with the fire department and some of my friends, Teddy Derrick being one of them, were going to paramedic school and gave me a call to do it. Now, here we are,” Elkins says.

Elkins says there are many downsides to the job. They include working on children and seeing them injured.

“Over the years I’ve worked several of those who have been seriously injured. Some of them fatally injured. It’s just hard when you have kinds of your own to deal with that. To continue going through the process, even though you’re looking at this child thinking it could be yours,” Elkins says.

Elkins says the rewarding moments of being a paramedic come when he sees someone he has helped in the past.

“Week or a month later you see them out at Walmart or somewhere else. They walk up to you and say, ‘Hey, you were that guy that pulled me out of that car that night.’ Or, ‘got me out of the house when I had that stroke and I’m doing great!’ Stuff like that makes it worth it,” Elkins says.

Elkins has four daughters. He says they all have some interest in helping others.

“I have a pharmacist, a nurse, one planning to become a doctor and another one in middle school,” Elkins says.

Elkins says he plans on continuing a career as a paramedic for as long as he can.

“We try to treat people with respect and dignity. A lot of times we don’t get that in return. We strive really hard to do the best we can,” Elkins says.

Please keep this article in mind when you see an EMT or law enforcement officer during the course of your busy day. Take a few seconds to say “Thank you” or buy them a cup of coffee. I guarantee, they will appreciate the effort.

KOPIS MOBILE RANKED #384 ON THE “INC. 5000 LIST”

inc5000

Kopis Mobile is excited to announce that we have been ranked #384 in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. This is truly an honor for the Kopis Mobile team. Additionally, we ranked third in the Computer Hardware category nationwide and we are the second fastest growing company in Mississippi. This honor could not be achieved without all of the hard work, dedication, late nights and lots of travel done by Team Kopis. When I say Team Kopis, it’s not just the men and women who come into the offices every day, it also includes our employee’s families. Our folks missed a lot of family events and quality time with their kids over the years. 

This honor solidifies our endeavor to develop and deliver the best products to those that keep us safe! It fuels us to work even harder to improve their efficiency, safety and awareness.

Congrats Team Kopis on a job well done!

Cellular Network For First Responders Set To Launch

First Responder Network

We have been hearing about a first responder cellular network for over two years now. During the attacks on September 11, 2001, the cellular network in and around New York City was completely over taxed. It took 11 years for Congress to establish a first responder specific network. It would seem it has taken another 6 years to finally make it a reality.

After years of discussion and planning, a nationwide cellular network for police, firefighters and other first responders is set to launch.

The FirstNet broadband network will allow public safety workers to communicate directly through voice, text, data and video. In emergency situations when cell towers are overloaded, communication to and from emergency personnel will take priority over calls from the public.

As the Washington Post describes it, paramedics in the back of an ambulance will be able to send video ahead to the emergency room, firefighters can stream video of an incident to their commanders, and police who aren’t near a computer will be able to access criminal records. The network will also track the locations of safety workers.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) was established by Congress in 2012 in response to the communication problems after the Sept. 11 attacks, but the plan to create a broadband network didn’t move forward until this year, when a major carrier signed on as a partner.

In March, FirstNet announced that it had awarded AT&T the wireless spectrum for the project. AT&T has agreed to invest $40 billion to build out the network and secure it.

The network is expected to launch this coming March. 

States Signing On

States and territories must sign on to the project individually. In June, FirstNet and AT&T released customized plans for each state outlining the coverage, features and capabilities of FirstNet.

Since 2013, FirstNet has worked with states, territories, public safety officials and federal authorities to collect input on how the network could best meet their communication needs.

“When we announced our public-private partnership in March, we committed to begin building this unprecedented network and technology ecosystem for public safety later this year,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president of AT&T – FirstNet, said in a June 19 statement. “Later begins now. States, territories and public safety have expressed their desire to move quickly.”

As of Friday, 10 states had opted in: Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. The U.S. Virgin Islands territory has signed on as well.

According to the Washington Post report, FirstNet has set a series of deadlines for states that began Friday, which was the cutoff to provide comments or ask questions. In mid-September, FirstNet will notify states that they have 90 days left to make a decision. Mid-December is the final deadline to opt in. 

Promises and Concerns

FirstNet is not intended to replace traditional radio dispatching, but due to bandwidth shortages, it is viewed by many as a much-needed supplement that will offer more reliable communication and new methods of communicating, aside from just voice.

Network security will be paramount, due to the private and sensitive nature of some emergency communications. AT&T has pledged to create “the most secure network on Earth” – one that is as bulletproof as possible with security centers that are dedicated solely to monitoring it.

Still, some first responders have reservations. The Washington Post article pointed to concerns about the cost of purchasing phones for officers and firefighters – many of whom do not have department-issued smartphones now – and paying for the subscription plans. Thus far, AT&T has not released plan or pricing details.

Some agencies also have reservations because they’ve purchased wireless service plans from other carriers. Joining FirstNet would require committing time and money to switch.

Partners and Integrators

AT&T certainly won’t be alone in getting the network off the ground. Partners like Motorola, for one, have signed on to provide mobile apps, software and services for FirstNet as part of AT&T’s team.

A slew of developers are expected to begin creating apps for the network’s smartphones now that the launch is imminent.

FirstNet has compiled a list of hundreds of vendors that have expressed interest in subcontracting or partnering on project requests for proposals (RFPs). Although the deadline to get on the list has passed, being on the list is not a requirement to submit a proposal or participate in an RFP related to the the project.

A cellular network like this is long over due. First responders have to be able to communicate during a crisis. Hopefully, all the other states in the country get on board with this ASAP.