Cell Phones on the Battlefield

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 7:11pm

FORT BLISS, TX- Cell phone apps are used for everything from listening to music to figuring out the tip. But the U.S. military sees a different sort of potential for the programs.

Bullets and guns have long been the backbone of the soldier's arsenal. But a possible new addition is a bit more technical.

"We're testing the implications of smart phones for the use of every single soldier in the military," said Staff Sergeant Reag Wood.

Specialist Michael Torrez and Staff Sergeant Wood are part of a unit out of Fort Bliss testing smart phones in the field.

The Army thinks cell phone applications can make soldiers more aware of what's going on around them.

"You have to know where your men are, you have to know where the enemy is, and you have to know what type of terrain you're working with," Staff Sergeant Wood.

And there's an app for that. It's called Sit-Aware, and shows where soldiers are on the field of battle.

Sergeant Wood says knowing where his men can help him win a firefight. Several other apps caught our attention, including one that helped soldiers immediately report hidden explosives.

Specialist Torrez told us about one that helps separates civilians from enemies. The app takes a picture of a suspect's face.

Facial recognition software scans the face, and tells the soldier if the person is a bad guy.

The goal of the program is to help the soldier in the field, providing useful tools and streamlining intelligence.

Sergeant Wood says kinks still need to be worked out before he'd rely on apps in combat. He told us the potential, however, is there.

"After having these for a few months, i can see people adapting. I think they are going to have a huge impact," said Staff Sergeant Wood.

The project has yet to be given an official green light from the Army, so for now it's just being tested.

But sources close to the project says Army brass likes the idea, and could put phones on the battlefield as early as next spring.

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