Enhancing situational awareness with the AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin

Have you seen images of warfighters looking at chest-mounted smartphones or tablets, and wondered which application they’re using? Chances are, it’s ATAK.

The Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK)—also known as Android Tactical Assault Kit for military use—is a smartphone geospatial infrastructure and situational awareness application. It provides mapping, messaging, and geofencing capabilities to enable safe collaboration over geography.

ATAK users, referred to as operators, can view the location of other operators and potential hazards—a major advantage over relying on hand-held radio transmissions. While ATAK was initially designed for use in combat zones, the technology has been adapted to fit the missions of local, state, and federal agencies.

ATAK has over 400,000 US Department of Defense (DoD) operators—including members of the Air Force, Army, Special Operations, and National Guard—along with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and 32,000 nonfederal operators.

Using AWS Wickr with ATAK

ATAK operators can benefit from the advanced security and administrative controls AWS Wickr provides. AWS Wickr currently supports many agencies that use ATAK; however, until now, ATAK operators have had to leave the ATAK application in order to use AWS Wickr, which creates operational risk.

AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin

AWS Wickr has developed a plugin that enhances ATAK with secure communications features. ATAK operators are provided with a Wickr Enterprise or AWS Wickr account, so they can use AWS Wickr within ATAK for secure messaging, calling, and file transfer. This helps reduce interruptions, and the complexity of configuration with ATAK chat features.

The plugin helps military units, law enforcement, and first responders make informed decisions through secure collaboration, and the ability to initiate communications by location.


The military uses ATAK for blue force tracking to locate team members, red force tracking to locate enemies, terrain and weather analysis, and to visually communicate their movements to friendly forces.

The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin enhances the ability of military personnel to maintain the situational awareness ATAK provides, while quickly receiving and reacting to Wickr communications. Ephemeral messaging options allow unit leaders to send mission plans, GPS points of interest, and set burn-on-read and expiration timers. Information can be deleted from the device, while being selectively logged to a customer-controlled data store to help meet compliance requirements, and facilitate the creation of after-action reports.

Law enforcement

ATAK is a powerful tool for team tracking and mission planning that supports a safer and better response to critical law enforcement and public-safety events.

The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin adds to the capabilities of ATAK by supporting secure communications between tactical, negotiation, and investigative teams.

First responders

ATAK aids in search-and-rescue and multi-jurisdictional natural disaster responses, such as hurricane relief.

The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin provides secure, uninterrupted communication between all levels of first responders to help them get oriented quickly, and support complex coordination efforts without the need to gather contact information in advance.

Getting started

AWS customers can sign up to use AWS Wickr at no cost during the preview period. For more information about the AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin, email wickr-interest@amazon.com.

Contact us today to learn how AWS Wickr can help your organization secure its sensitive communications.