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Save Lives Series 2: GSatMicro for Blue Force Tracking

Save Lives

Save Lives Series

The Save Lives Series shines a spotlight on the ways in which GSE products can be used to identify opportunities to augment worksite safety. The purpose of this series is to help both managers and employees analyze regular business operations through the lens of risk assessment and mitigation, then use real business intelligence to make policy changes or address unsafe behavior patterns with workers. To see more Save Time Series articles, please use the linkbase in the introductory article.

Saving Lives with the GSatMicro Series in the Military Sector

Identifying Unsafe Practices

Three major sources of safety risk in the Military sector are:

  • Risk of “Fratricide”- accidental killing of one’s own forces in war
  • Risk of inaccurate intelligence
  • Risk of intelligence-gathering equipment failure

One of the most important capabilities of a Command and Control Information System (C2IS) is Blue Force Tracking (BFT), also known as Friendly Force Tracking (FFT). Providing commanders at all levels with the exact location of their forces and any coalition forces within their operations is vital to significantly reduce the risk of “fratricide” – the accidental killing of one’s own forces in war. To maximize survivability, commanders aim to reduce the cognitive burden on Soldiers by creating a smart, fast, secure, and intuitive network. This article explains how the GSatMicro series devices can be used to provide more accurate blue force tracking during missions that carry a greater risk of fratricide.

Risk of Fratricide

Understanding the Problem

Maintaining situational awareness under chaotic operational conditions is most critical, and can become a huge challenge if the tracking terminal is not technologically advanced. Under swift and extreme distress, stopping to increase reporting intervals out in the field becomes impossible. As a result, commanders have less accurate knowledge of real-time locations of their soldiers, which reduces strategic awareness of the positions of their forces, as well as the position of any coalition forces in their areas, putting soldiers at extreme risk. In the event that one team of soldiers has to retreat from a location that is under siege by another team, it is important to know the location of friendly forces.

Understanding the Solution

Reduce Cognitive Burden on Soldiers

The ability for commanders to change reporting configurations over the air and on-the-fly significantly increases commanders' strategic awareness of the forces and reduces the cognitive burden on the soldiers, thus increasing the safety of the soldiers and increasing strategic command and control of missions on hand. Providing commanders the freedom to truly understand the behavior of the soldiers' movements and why the device is reporting is a major step toward complete strategic awareness. Not only will the position of the soldiers be more accurate, the commander can gather critical insights and properly assess what next steps to take to effectively and safely manage the soldiers.

Achieving the Solution with the GSatMicro Series

Alert Mode

By activating alert mode on a GSatMicro handheld device, the soldier’s positions are transmitted on the “alert” sleep interval instead of the “normal” sleep interval, ramping the transmission of location data and informing the remote commander that there is cause for alert. Those responsible for tracking can then change the reporting configuration of every GSatMicro terminal known to be in the area to the maximum frequency using a simple over the air scripting change in real time. This allows two way communication with friendly forces moving in risk of unexpected encounters with one another, reducing the risk of unnecessary engagement and fratricide.

More About The GSatMicro

Part of The GSatMicro Series, the GSatMicro handheld is the smallest self-contained Iridium tracker in the world. The GSatMicro combines the powerful OEM unit with a small and rugged handheld form factor that can be mounted or carried anywhere. With IP67 environmental ratings and pole-to-pole Iridium network connectivity, the GSatMicro is ready for deployment and reliable use in harsh environments around the world. GSE's public and private sector clients have trusted the GSatMicro to provide lone worker support and telematics intelligence since the product was introduced in 2014.

All GSatMicro units are DISA-EMSS approved, and transmit AES-256 encrypted messages over the Iridium SBD network.

About the Author
Abby Kennedy
Government Business Development

Abby Kennedy has spent over 17 years developing business in the government sector having directly contracted over 55 million in IT related solutions the first five years, then dedicating the following 12 years consulting and guiding companies in how to align their solution capabilities for contracting success. GSE is pleased to have Abby join our team to lead the development of our strategic government business.

Contact Abby Kennedy at

More Information

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