Preventing friendly fire

The Defense Department has been working for years on technologies that can distinguish friendly troops from noncombatants and enemy soldiers to prevent friendly fire incidents. Here are some technologies currently in development for this purpose:

n Soldier Integrated Multi-function Laser System uses lasers on soldiers' rifles and sensors attached to soldiers' uniforms to determine if they are friendly.

n Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below provides location information and uses chat capabilities and route mapping that can be shared with an entire command.

n Blue Force Tracking will consist of Global Positioning System applications, logistics and supply, communications — most likely through the Joint Tactical Radio System — and tactical overlays.

n The Army Battle Command System is a nine-year, $20 billion initiative to integrate 11 Army command and control systems, enabling troops to access warfighting information.

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