Congress Wants More Control of Special Ops Iron Man Suit

Iron Man Suit 3Lawmakers today moved to tighten congressional control over U.S. Special Operations Command’s new “Iron Man” battle suit, expressing concerns that program officials are already mishandling the complex effort.

SOCOM recently launched a new website to promote its vision of elite commandos outfitted in futuristic, battle suits like those depicted in Hollywood blockbusters such as Marvel’s Iron Man series.

The Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit effort, known as TALOS, would provide operators with full-body ballistic protection and increased physical performance. It would also feature embedded antennas and computers designed to give operators increased situation awareness. It’s even supposed to keep the wearer cool in hot weather and warm in cold climates.

Despite “aggressive marketing efforts by USSOCOM,” members of the House Armed Services Committee want to know more about the program before funding is approved.

“The committee understands that present efforts are being used to survey current technologies and to better inform future requirements documents, and that USSOCOM intends to deliver a fully functional prototype assault suit by August 2018,” according to language in the Fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Bill released by the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities.

“The committee is concerned that these requirements are not being properly coordinated with related or complementary efforts at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Command.”

The bill’s language includes guidelines to go with SOCOM’S $17.5 million budget request to support TALOS.

“The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to brief the congressional defense committees by August 1, 2014, on the TALOS project and similar efforts to include:

— The overall TALOS requirement for U.S. Special Operations Forces, including requirements validation;

— A list of funded activities for fiscal years 2013-14, as well as planned activities for fiscal year 2015 and beyond, including efforts through DARPA, Natick Soldier Systems Command, the other military services, the Rapid Innovation Fund, and industry;

— Coordination efforts undertaken with USSOCOM, DARPA, Natick Soldier Systems Command and other similar ongoing research and development activities;

— Project timelines including the development of prototypes and anticipated funding;

— Any other developmental efforts underway that could satisfy USSOCOM TALOS-like requirements;

— Any other items the Secretary of Defense deems appropriate.”

The TALOS team plans on partnering with industry and academia to help overcome some of the huge, financial hurdles involved with developing such complex, multi-component technology.

USSOCOM intends to funnel $80 million into research and development for the four-year effort.

Defense industry officials maintain that the program will likely cost hundreds of millions more to perfect the sophisticated technology.

The U.S. Army $500 million over 10 years on Land Warrior, the first generation of wearable, computerized command-and-control technology, before the system’s reliability problems with solved in 2006.

“While USSOCOM is the proper authority to define Special Operations Forces peculiar requirements, it may not be the appropriate entity to lead such developmental technology efforts, like TALOS,” the bill’s language states.

“While the committee understands that Natick Soldier Systems Command is currently developing and partially funding one of the two Generation-I prototypes for USSOCOM, the committee is concerned that USSOCOM is also funding outside private sector research, and that overall efforts lack proper coordination and oversight, systems integration and collaboration, and prototype evaluation.”

49 Comments on "Congress Wants More Control of Special Ops Iron Man Suit"

  1. Based on this example:

    The U.S. Army $500 million over 10 years on Land Warrior, the first generation of wearable, computerized command-and-control technology, before the system’s reliability problems with solved in 2006.

    “While USSOCOM is the proper authority to define Special Operations Forces peculiar requirements, it may not be the appropriate entity to lead such developmental technology efforts, like TALOS,” the bill’s language states
    /End Quote/

    It may be safe to say the Army hasn't had an easy time of this task, perhaps a smaller, very focused, quick reaction service might have more success at a lower cost…

    They've proven the ability to provide successful, operational, high tech systems in some cases before the public even knows they exist…

  2. This will likely result in SOCOM cannibalizing DARPA and Natick for their researchers.

  3. Very cool if it works, but I have a feeling you’ll plan to buy 10,000 but end up stopping the production run at 10.

  4. Although now Congress is involved, it’ll probably be fine.

  5. Everyone that trusts a congress with a 15% approval rating to have authority over this tech please raise ypour hand—-what a bunch of bull–

  6. "Lawmakers today moved to tighten congressional control… expressing concerns that program officials are already mishandling the complex effort."

    I wonder how many of said lawmakers were actually soldiers, scientists or engineers. Because you know… politics always makes things run more smoothly.

  7. so what they are really saying is congress wants more control over this program so they can figureout how to get paid on this…..

  8. but is it stealth?….the air farce wants to know ;-P

  9. stephen russell | April 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Reply

    I say Use off the shelf for TALOS alone to cut costs but keep in program as planned for Field Use. Might lower costs IF use offshelf systems etc alone.
    Dont need Congress overseeing this suit, then Id go No place.

  10. Will they stop a .50 Cal or an RPG?

  11. Because we all know the US Congress are experts at "efficiency" and "cost-savings"…

  12. August 2018 my ass. If congress is this interested theres already a team operating with at least one full suit.

  13. Wait, this isn't TALOS "Lightning II" or something, right?

  14. Who ever heard of a Congressman having a brain? So how could they vote on this? The only people who should vote on this, are the people will be wearing this stuff. Not like that garbage that they gave us in Vietnam. The bullet went into your chest, and came out of your back.

  15. Then just need a mid sized hover drone to drop off,resupply and pick up these units. If physical strength enough, may want to adapt shielding. Whether it be a bulletproof Riot shield or smaller to be determined by that. Some may argue it is not needed. Think of the suits vulnerabilities and a shield would be protective for support units & reduce counter sniper line of fire. Which brings on a concept of Sparta 300 … Iron men with shields would form the most fortified platoon outside of armoured vehicles, in existence.

  16. Can I rent one of these? My neighbor likes to mow the lawn at 7:00am. Your gonna need a breakthrough in power sources. A Marine can run all day on a can of beans and a canteen of water.

  17. Since when has involvement from Congress ever made anything better?

  18. The rats are just fighting over the dwindling defense budget.

    SOCOM is carving out a niche for itself in the MIC so naturally it need the wasteful projects and slush funds that the other services have. But it needs to be careful not to be too Hollywood – that is the marines last remaining role in the world.

  19. "expressing concerns that program officials are already mishandling the complex effort…"
    Imposing congressional oversight on this program, which they say is being mishandled, is less than inspiring given the congress has a lower popularity rating than EBOLA. And thats besides the point that this congress has earned the dubious distinction of worst performing HoR in US history – by a large margin.

    I'd rather see them fixing the revenue/income problems (realistically), and getting on with the nations business.

  20. So, reading between the lines, basically what this says is "We the members of Congress are concerned that our 'constituents' (read: corporate "sponsors") aren't getting a slice of the Talos pie, and we want to make sure that our guys get to have their share of the defense dollars and rather than doing the intelligent thing to minimize overhead on the project by keeping the number of parties involved to a minimum, we're going to make sure that you need to buy bolts made in Kansas to go with the screws made in Maine, to hold the armor plates manufactured in arizona to the hydraulic frame made in california with an electronics package from new jersey… oh, and the entire thing is going to be assembled in hawaii, because fuck you."

  21. How about testing a robot on these suites for Seal real live assignment?

  22. Wait a minute, didn't congress try this in "Iron Man 2" movie?…Tony Stark didn't like that at all.

  23. Called a waste of money BIG time most of all we don't need bulky heavy and unrealistic suits like this. Some General watched too much Iron Man and thinks it a real life story. That again is just sad.

  24. When I saw this article’s title the first thing I thought of was: “…I tried to play ball with these a$$ clowns… (Iron Man 2).

  25. what congress really wants is a piece of the money pie for every ones home state. This is another reason we are falling behind the rest of the world in military technology. Too many greedy hands to be greased.

  26. High tech can always ultimately be defeated by low tech. We're leaving Afghanistan, as did the Russians, after throwing everything at it besides a clean slate type attack. The Taliban are still there, again. We could have just obliterated Kabul on 9-12 and sent a message that any more terrorist attacks on US soil and Medina is gone next, then Mecca after that, done. That is how we won WWII, utter destruction of the enemy and their home.

    So what? We dump these "iron men" into a remote area, kill a few terrorists, then what? 5 more radical muslims replace each of the dead ones the next day. High tech won't defeat that ideology.

  27. Whose districts and which large defense contractors were left out in the cold on this expedited project?

  28. Remember everyone – when they get elected to Congress they think thier IQ automatically jumps up by 100 points !!!!
    But how does that really help us when they have an IQ of 2 before getting elected

  29. One word explains all of this:


    You can bet OUR (collective) bottom dollar that lobbyists for the military industrial complex (LM, Raytheon, GenDynam, BAE, etc.) are pushing for control of this project with PAC contributions to our venerable and oh so noble representatives.

    Follow the money.

  30. TheBlackPiper | April 30, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Reply

    The military procurement process leaves a lot to be desired (among other things, the whole Stryker fiasco comes to mind), particularly because of the incestuous relationship between the military and the defense industry (which hires the retired flag officers to "represent" their interests). However, the solution is sure as hell NOT to let Congress meddle in the process because (1) they have not demonstrated the ability to manage anything including themselves and (2) they view any procurement program as a vote buying piggy bank without any regard to the consequences.

  31. Congress smells money.

  32. Congress doesn't even have 'control' of itself. They must not be allowed to meddle.

  33. FASnipeHT2 | May 1, 2014 at 9:07 am | Reply

    One of the worst Congress in history is ready to help out! So far the best things that have come from these programs is better tech for wounded vets.

  34. Sounds like service jealousy that SOCOM using it's Title 10 authority for accelerated acquisition is moving out to get something done quicker than the services can. GLS

  35. Just what SOCOM needs……to have the procurement effort overseen by a bunch of congressional idiots that have no concept of what the warfighter actually does or might actually need. The record for congressional oversight of ANY procurement effort is, at best, pathetic. The reason that SOCOM is proceeding in this manner is because of all of the "help" they have received from congress in the past. Congressional oversight will be a sure recipe for getting this effort over budget, late, and ineffective in meeting the warfighter's needs. Coordination with the Army might not be a bad idea and working with DARPA could be helpful, but keep congressional interference limited if possible. Congress is the proverbial cub bear with boxing gloves on picking fly crap out of pepper.

  36. Mr. Stark was quotes saying to Congress "I've successfully privatized world peace".

  37. SOCOM is going after an Iron Man Suit, Congress is going to manage the program and we still haven't found overmatch to the AK-47 and RPG. The Military Industrial Complex / civilian DOD work force and too many General Officers military are getting rich off the taxpayer and the blood sweat and tears of our most precious resource ……young men and women in uniform…….embarrassing

  38. Vietvet1968 | May 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Reply

    Every time the present sitting Congress gets their hands into the military programs, it becomes a cluster f–k. There is no need for these greedy SOB's to stick their BS noses where they do not belong.

  39. Reminds me of the "Future Warrior" program of the 80's. Millions of dollars, laptops that didnt work in the field. When all is said and done with the grunts it's soldier, rifle, boots, uniform, body armor and kevlar. Bunch of old azz Sergeant Majors talking "Tanks, Brads, Helicopters, Horses, it doesnt matter how you get there, it's what you do when you get there". "SINGARS, Freq Hopping, Digital, two cups with string between them? Who gives a ******* as long as you can call the rounds in, dustoff in and maneuver". "If there is a new body armor, in a short time there will be a round that will defeat it". All the whizbang gadgetry in the world will not prevent Murphy's Law of Combat Number 1.

  40. Millions of dollars and you still look like a tool wearing this suit.

  41. We need something to protect against blast overpressure, which seems to be doing a lot of the killing and maiming.

  42. First Last | May 5, 2014 at 4:01 am | Reply

    You should all be concerned with AGENDA21 when looking at a news like this.I suggest you do your homework and start feeling concerned with all your money thrown at something that sooner or later will be used against you.Cause your government has been overtaken a while ago by the U.N. and in fact your army IS used by them to attain their goal which is world domination by the elite.Whish us the best but im not too optimistic looking around.

  43. Why not just have a Telsa coil in the back of a truck that can be deployed to power the suits?

  44. Capt K. A. Phillips | May 11, 2014 at 9:46 am | Reply

    Congress wants to release our current well trained forces to put illegal aliens in their place, so the 12 million illegals will help America. Then, we have elite special forces who cannot communicate with the rest of the forces, because they (forces) don't speak English. Then, we are putting the illegals in 17.5 million dollar iron man suits, which will be immediately sent to Mexico. Two weeks after being issued, the drug cartels will have 500 of them. Is Congress smart or what?

  45. Ear Marks are coming back is the word coming out of the congress, this is a good a pork project as any and you can smell the fat frying now……..

  46. Yeah we did have garbage in Nam looking at the soldier today!
    But times, and ways of wars change,we still did our best in Nam,

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  49. NotoriousBRT | July 16, 2014 at 1:53 am | Reply

    "You want my property? You can't have it. But I did you a big favor, I have successfully privatized world peace!" That's all I could think of when I read this article, lol.

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