The U.S. military has spent millions of dollars on the standard Blue Force Tracking system to boost the situational awareness of warfighters downrange, but strap a reflective belt on an unmanned drone and bam: improved awareness at a fraction of the cost.

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Photo via DoD

For the last century, the armored vehicles that have trundled onto mine-laden battlefields have all faced the same inherent trade-off: A M1A2 Abrams tank crew can withstand blast after blast while surrounded by depleted uranium mesh-reinforced composite armor, but what they gain in protection they sacrifice in visibility.

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Photo via DoD

The U.S. Army is developing a brand new piece of technology ripped straight out of “Call of Duty” —  Tactical Augmented Reality, a heads-up display designed to enhance situational awareness under any conditions.

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Photo by Lance Cpl. Stuart Wegenka

“I am always on,” is a phrase I at times say to my civilian friends when I need them to understand that I am always aware of my surroundings. “Stay alert! Stay alive!” is a phrase on which I was raised, but not until my time in Iraq did I embrace and understand its true meaning.

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