Blue Force Tracking - TK

Blue Force Tracking
ACSC Research Topic

March 2005

Compiled by Bibliography Branch
Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center
Maxwell AFB, AL


The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Air Force of this web site or the information, products, or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation sites, the U.S. Air Force does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD web site.

Some materials listed below require access to subscription databases.  If you cannot gain access, contact your local library for availability. AU students and faculty can contact  AUL's  Web Maintainer for a password.

All sites listed were last accessed on March 29, 2005.

Internet Resources

Rider, Timothy L. Blue Force Tracking to Expand Across Force. Army AL&T Magazine. Ft. Belvoir, VA, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, September-October 2004 p 1-5.
Available online at:

Singer, Jeremy. C4ISR Journal U.S. Army Seeks Common Blue Force Tracking Displays., November 4, 2004.
Available online at:
Now that a relatively new family of devices designed to keep U.S. forces from firing on one another have proven themselves on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military is looking to make improvements with an emphasis on interoperability.

Tiboni, Frank. Joint Blue Force In the Works. FCW.COM, Federal Computer Week, 9 November 2004.
Available online at:
Officials in the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon will review the framework for a system that will provide a common land battlefield picture for warfighters in the Army and the Marine Corps.

Tiboni, Frank French Matthew. Blue Force Tracking Gains Ground. FCW.COM, Federal Computer Week, March 22, 2004.
Available online at:
Ten years after its conception by Army officials, the Blue Force Tracking system proved its mettle in battle, allowing advancing forces to communicate with leaders and one another. The digital system for tracking troop movement also gave policy-makers, commanders and troops an up-to-date battlefield picture, whether they were sitting at the Pentagon, watching in command headquarters in Kuwait or driving a Bradley vehicle in Iraq.


Baddeley, Adam. BFT Lifts the Fog of War. Military Technology vol. 29, no. 2:43-48 2005.
Operation "Iraqi Freedom" pushed Blue Force Tracking (BFT) to the fore of military and civilian minds. It enabled the rapid movement of forces across the battlespace while reducing losses from the ever-present danger of fratricide by providing accurate plotting of friendly forces on a computer display. Buoyed by the success of BFT, but acutely aware of the limitations in the systems deployed in Iraq, the US Department of Defense is moving forward with improvements that will eliminate stovepipes, fill inter-operability gaps between services and ease wider inclusion of Coalition members and allies with a common BFT network.
Also available online at:

Cahlink, George. Better Blue Force Tracking. Air Force Magazine 87:66-69 June 2004.
Also available online at:

Conaster, James and St. Clair, Thane. Blue Force Tracking--Combat Proven. Armor 112:20-23 September-October 2003.
Also available online at:

Dervarics, Charles. Broadening Blue Force Tracking: Pentagon Seeks Standards for Battle Network. Defense News 19:30 October 11, 2004.
Also available online at:

Dittmer, Kurt. Blue Force Tracking. Military Review 84:38-40 September-October 2004.
Also available online at:,ip,url,uid&db=aph&an=14796656

Eisman, Dale. U.S. Forces Still Struggle to Tell Friend From Foe. The Virginian-Pilot p. A1 May 1, 2004.
Today, a full year after President Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Conway called friendly fire "probably my biggest disappointment of the war," the large scale deployment of fratricide prevention technologies remains years away.
You can find an electronic copy of this article by using the AU Library subscription database Lexis/Nexis Academic Universe. After connecting, click on Sources at the top of the page; type Virginian-Pilot in the search box; click on "search this title"; type in keywords and date to find article.
Also available online at:

Erwin, Sandra I. Army to Upgrade Land Warrior System With Blue Force Tracker. National Defense 89:36-38 February 2004.
Also available online at:

Goure, Daniel. Standardized Blue Force Tracking. Defense News November 8, 2004.
Also available online at:

Guenther, Otto J. Blue Force Tracking. Army 54:13-15 April 2004.
In the instant analysis of Operation Iraqi Freedom, smart bombs and killer drones got most of the ink, but one of the truly transformational systems in the field in Iraq was an automotive upgrade bolted into coalition battlewagons called blue force tracking, a communications system linking satellites, sensors, vehicles and weapons into a single, seamless, digital network. Guenther details the several features of the blue force tracking, and discusses its important role on combat operations.
Also available online at:

JFCOM Itemizes Iraq's Lessons Learned. Air Force Magazine 86:15 December 2003.
Reports that a U.S. Joint Forces Command evaluation of Operation Iraqi Freedom has determined that the prevention of fratricide is the Defense Department's area of greatest need. Elements of fratricide prevention; Blue force tracking capabilities; Success of OIF.
Scroll down the page to the 3rd gray box.
Also available online at:

Kucera, Joshua. 'Red Force' Tracking Advances. Jane's Defence Weekly 42:8 March 9, 2005.
Reports on the partnership between the United States Army and the Marine Corps in enhancing capabilities of the Blue Force Tracking Systems under the Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) to monitor the movement of enemy forces on the battlefield. Software upgrade to the JBC-P; Significance of the move to units of the Army's Fourth Infantry Division.

Kucera, Joshua. U.S. Army, Marines to Forge 'Blue on Blue' ID Networks. Jane's Defence Weekly 41:7 July 7, 2004.
Reports that the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) have developed a plan to merge the two services' systems for tracking their forces and to speed efforts to translate between such systems in use by the U.S. and its allies. Launch of the systems known as Blue Force Tracking during Operation Iraqi Freedom; Army's leadership of development of the system for commanders at the brigade level and below and for vehicles; Marines' development of the system for commanders at the battalion level and above and for command posts.

Kucera, Joshua. U.S. Surveillance Link-up Will Boost Ability to Track the Enemy. Jane's Defence Weekly 41:30-31 March 24, 2004.
The United States Army's system for tracking friendly forces is linking up with the air force's surveillance and targeting system to create a system that will be able to track enemy forces as well. By itself, the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), the army's blue-force tracking system, can only track enemy forces when an operator manually inputs data on an enemy force into the system. Movement then cannot be tracked until a new position is keyed in. The United States Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System E-8C aircraft, on the other hand, can track the movement of objects on the ground but does not have any information about them.

Lawlor, Mary Ann. Keeping Track of the Blue Force. Signal 57:37-39 July 2003.
Lawlor examines the many benefits brought about by several sophisticated tracking and communications capabilities, employed on military platforms, particularly the Blue Tracking Systems, which was attributed to the success of the operation Iraqi Freedom. Derived from the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below program, the Blue Force Tracking systems provided information about the locations of friendly and enemy forces, terrain, and danger zones and supported several aspects of the mission using the situational awareness information.
Also available online at:

Lubold, Gordon. Strike Restates Case for 'Blue Force Tracking'. Air Force Times 64:9 April 12, 2004.
Deals with the combat identification systems being developed by the Department of Defense to prevent accidental attacks in the U.S. Armed Forces. Comment from Lieutenant General Edward Hanlon of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, on the need for system compatibility of the trackers for military services in the country; Information on the Joint Tactical Common Operating Picture Workstation system; Details on the implementation of the tracking systems for Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
Also available online at:

McKenna, Ted. State the Password. Journal of Electronic Defense 27:44-49 April 2004.
Discusses technologies in the U.S. that could prevent fratricidal incidents or collateral damage. Identification-friend-or-foe devices; Blue Force Tracking system; Common causes of fratricidal attacks and friendly fires.
Also available online at:,ip,url,uid&db=aph&an=12802630

Scott, William B. Battle Space: Equipment Was 'Invaluable' But Had Glitches at Critical Junctures. Aviation Week and Space Technology 162:28-29 July 12, 2004.
Bomber crews, tank commanders, infantry officers and special operations troops who fought in Iraq during the past 16 months are telling leaders and defense contractors that space-related capabilities are invaluable during combat ops, but improvements are needed.
Also available online at:,ip,url,uid&db=aph&an=13939097

Scott, William B. Milspace Technology Coups. Aviation Week and Space Technology 160:417-418 January 19, 2004.
Tracking systems that display the locations of coalition troops may have been the defining space-related technology of last year's war in Iraq. U.S. Army commanders said the radio-frequency-based systems "were the GPS of Operation Iraqi Freedom," equating the impact of "blue-force" trackers to that of GPS navigation systems during the first gulf war, according to Colonel Kent Traylor, vice commander of the U.S. Air Force's Space Warfare Center (SWC). Traylor envisions spin-offs of the military systems being shared with wild land firefighters and non-governmental organizations, such as charitable food-distribution groups, in war zones or areas struck by natural disasters, for example.
Also available online at:,ip,url,uid&db=aph&an=12120684

Tiron, Roxana. Army's Blue Force Tracking Technology Was a Tough Sell. National Defense 88:20-21 December 2003.
Also available online at:

Watanabe, Nathan K. Blue Force Tracker and Army Aviation Operations in Afghanistan. Army Aviation 53:18+ March-April 2004.

Back Arrow Return to AUL's ACSC Specialized Studies Support Page

Back Arrow Return to Main Bibliography List