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SIGNAL Blogs

Recent Tragedies Illustrate Role of Information Fusion Centers

March 10, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, government agencies came under widespread criticism for failing to share information and "connect the dots." By contrast, law enforcement agencies were almost universally praised following the Boston Marathon bombing and the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., both of which took place last year.

Customs and Border Protection Not Interested in Mobility for Mobility's Sake

March 10, 2014
George I. Seffers

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is only interested in mobile communication if it allows the agency to perform functions it could not perform otherwise, Mark Borkowski, component acquisition executive and assistant commissioner with the CBP Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition, told the audience at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

World Complexity Creates Greatest Challenge

March 10, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The real challenge to keeping the homeland secure is dealing with the world's increasing complexity, Adm. Thad Allen, USCG, (Ret.), executive vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, told the audience at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday during his luncheon keynote address.

VIDEO: Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff Outlines Priorities

March 7, 2014
By Jim Sweeney

Gen. Tom Lawson, RCAF, chief of the Defence Staff, outlined four priorities for the Canadian Armed Forces in a speech last month at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The highest priority is delivering excellence in operations. That is followed, Gen. Lawson said, by preparing the armed forces for tomorrow’s challenges, providing warfighters with training and professional development, and caring for warfighters and their families.

Quadrennial Defense Review Faces Scrutiny

March 5, 2014
By Helen Mosher

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is requiring the U.S. Defense Department to rewrite and resubmit the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for 2014, saying that it "has more to do with politics than policy and is of little value to decision makers."

PaperShip App Helps Scientists Manage and Share Papers

March 4, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

For those working in academia, finding the best way to annotate, manage and share papers can be complicated. The PaperShip app for iPad and iPhone targets the scientific community and makes it easier to download, read and manage a personal library of research.

Help the GSA Track Travel Costs and Win Prizes

March 3, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is asking for the public’s help to create an online, interactive tool that uses federal travel data to increase government agencies’ budget transparency and accountability.

IARPA Challenge Puts Trust to the Test

February 27, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

What if an algorithm existed that could identify neural, psychological, physiological and behavioral signals to determine a person's trustworthiness? Thanks to a new competition from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), that could be possible.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology Provides Power to Port

February 27, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

The Port of Honolulu will host a demonstration of a portable hydrogen fuel cell unit in 2015 with the goal of developing a commercial-ready technology to provide sustainable power to ports worldwide.

CamMe App Uses Hand Gestures to Snap Photos from a Distance

February 25, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Like it or not, the act of taking a photo "selfie" has become a prominent part of the digital age. Oxford Dictionaries made selfie its 2013 word of the year, and even President Obama has been caught with his arm outstretched taking a photo with a smartphone. Since the selfie phenomenon isn't going anywhere, why not make it even easier?

AFCEA Answers: A Plan for Protecting the Nation's Infrastructure

February 24, 2014
By Max Cacas

It's important for the government, working with industry, to have a plan in place to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, according to Suzanne Spaulding, acting undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who spoke during a recent episode of AFCEA Answers.

Cybersecurity Framework Seeks to Help Industry Manage Critical Infrastructure Risks

February 24, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

The Obama administration has launched a voluntary Cybersecurity Framework, meant to serve as a how-to guide for industry to manage cyber risks. The framework, developed by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology during the past year with input from organizations and individuals from around the world, offers broad guidelines to strengthen “the security and resiliency of critical infrastructure in a model of public-private cooperation.”

Sometimes It Takes a Village

February 21, 2014
By George I. Seffers

When I first contacted the Pentagon public affairs office for an interview on the Better Buying Power initiative, I was willing to interview any subject matter expert they could line me up with. Shortly after I sent in my query, the government shut down, the public affairs source I was working with was furloughed and my query was going nowhere fast. 

Rewards Tracker Highlights Business Travel Benefits

February 18, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

If you travel frequently for business or for pleasure, chances are you're earning some kind of rewards—from frequent flyer miles to hotel and credit card points. But are you tracking all these loyalty programs and getting the most from your memberships?

STEM Teaching Program Expands

February 14, 2014
By Helen Mosher

Five universities have received funding to implement UTeach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) preparatory programs, thanks to a $22.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The UTeach program, supported by the National Math and Science Initiative, helps generate awareness of the need for STEM education among college students interested in these fields and prepares these students for successful teaching careers.

The Marines Need a Few Good Connectors

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Storming ashore from the sea is becoming increasingly difficult for the U.S. Marine Corps as it faces new missions on the heels of personnel cuts. The nature of Marine assault from the sea is changing, and its aging fleet of amphibious ships are losing their effectiveness both chronologically and evolutionarily.

The Coast Guard Needs Affordable Systems

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Coast Guard wants contractors to provide it with affordable systems instead of top-of-the-line technology solutions, said its commandant. Adm. Robert J .Papp Jr., USCG, told the audience at the West 2014 Thursday luncheon town hall in San Diego that everything the Coast Guard does is within a constrained environment, and it needs solutions that don’t strain its already tight financial resources.

The Navy Needs Innovation

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy will depend heavily on technology innovation to meet increasing operational demands on a fleet that is aging and suffering from budget constraints, according to the vice chief of naval operations. Adm. Mark E. Ferguson, USN, told the audience at the Thursday luncheon town hall that the Navy needs to work cooperatively with industry to develop the innovative technologies and capabilities it needs.

International Law Offers Peaceful Resolution of Chinese Issues

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The threat of armed conflict arising from China’s disputed assertions of territorial claims could be defused if all parties concerned agree to use international law institutions, said a U.S. Navy attorney. Capt Stuart Bell, USN, deputy assistant judge advocate general (international and operations law), told a Thursday panel audience at West 2014 in San Diego that the rule of law can be applied in most cases involving disputes between China and its neighbors to achieve a peaceful resolution.

Chinese Open-Source Material Takes a War Footing

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

China is pursuing a strategy of regional expansion into its neighbors’ territories that is spelled out in the country’s own open-source publications, according to a U.S. Navy China expert. The past year saw many provocative acts by the Chinese military and its government, and these fall in line with plans and policies enunciated by even English-language Chinese publications.

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