8:08 pm, May 25, 2015

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  • 1

  • When COTS is not COTS
    deployed decoy
    Remember to be a Commercial off the shelf thingy, said thingy actually needs used by commercial industry. One example I like to give is the QUALCOMM commercial QTRACS long haul trucking satellite tracking system. Used commercially by around 90% of all over the road big rigs in the USA. We used this for panic messaging, routine messaging when we got out of range of UHF radio or cell towers, when I was with the BLM during the sage brush rebellion years. DOD and DOE use it to this day when shipping nuclear material, called DTTS tracking, inside the USA. We used this in Kosovo and the early stages of OIF Ver 2.0 in 2003. But all good things must come to an end. The QUALCOMM system cost around $1,700 per vehicle, the satellite footprint covering basically the arctic circle to northern Africa, east to include most of Afghanistan was around $3.5M a year. Someone way up the food chain in Army ordered the QUALCOMM system revoked and replaced with Movement Tracking System. The company that provided MTS went from a penny stock to $35 per share in weeks, circa 2004. MTS has never been used in the commercial world, although it is billed formally as a COTS system. The cost per vehicle system is closer to $26,000 each. The cost of the satellite footprint to cover the same area QUALCOMM did, Im guess here because this is impossible to do with MTS frequencies (since the EU does not consider it a commercial platform), would be $100,000,000 a year. The different frequencies used between the two also limit MTS from operation in some battlefield applications, while the QUALCOMM system worked in every situation and military environment it was subjected to. I honestly believe US Government insiders (well maybe the spouse or brother in law) made millions on MTS stock prior to the initial contract publically released. The cost was so expensive fielding was good enough at 20% of the fleet in the war zone. You go to war with the Army you can afford. The US Army Europe willfully violated the German Govt and activated MTS on restricted and disapproved Host Nation Civil Defense frequencies, had the USA been busted, the fines would have exceeded $50,000,000.00 for just one 90 day period. Need I degrees more about what is wrong with DOD contracting out goods, services and work.
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