Search:  

 Blog     e-Newsletter       Resource Library      Directories      Webinars
AFCEA logo
 

SIGNAL Blogs

Open Data Initiative: Providing Fresh Ideas on Securely Sharing Information

August 30, 2013
By Paul Christman and Jamie Manuel

For years, the Defense department took a “do it alone” posture when it came to sharing information and protecting its networks and communication infrastructures from security attacks. Now in an interconnected world of reduced budgets and ever-increasing security risks, the DOD is fundamentally changing the way it approaches information sharing and cybersecurity. 

Army Shares with Air Force

August 29, 2013

The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have signed an architecture-sharing and modernization agreement, which enables the Air Force to take advantage of Army excess information technology capacity. The arrangement will help the Air Force save the approximately $1.2 billion it would have spent to upgrade to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) routers and regional security stacks.

Army force structure changes created the extra capacity. Simultaneously, the Air Force has been working toward modernizing its architecture to take advantage of the Joint Information Environment. The two services will have access to data from DISA-owned and -operated joint regional security stacks as a joint capability; their cyber components will continue to execute cyber defense on their own networks.

In addition to cost savings, the MPLS routers will increase backbone bandwidth to 10 gigabytes per second. Some current bandwidth speeds are operating at 650 megabytes per second. The larger-capacity routers also will help the Air Force and Army converge their enterprise network backbones and gain cost savings in other areas, Army officials say.

For information on the Joint Information Environment Enterprise Operations Center, watch DISA's video:

Cool App-titude: Pounce

August 27, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

From a print advertisement to an online purchase in one click, a new iOS app lets you pounce on products from your favorite brands. The free Pounce app uses image recognition to let users scan an item from newspapers or magazines. It securely stores shipping and billing information to automate the buying process. Just scan a product and click "Buy Now." The processing, packing and shipping are done directly from the retailer just like with a regular online purchase.

The app will recognize products from any retail partners, which currently include Target, Staples, Toys "R" Us and Ace Hardware, among others.

According to the app's FAQ page, developers are "working hard to make Pounce available for Android users soon."

Download the app from the iTunes App Store.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new Web sites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

Contest Seeks Creative Uses for Space Imagery

August 27, 2013

European Space Imaging is challenging innovators to propose new applications for 50-centimeter optical satellite imagery through its High-Res Challenge. The winner will receive €20,000 (more than $25,000) of imagery data to support the realization of the idea.

The competition only requires submission of an idea and not a prototype or finished product that uses high-resolution satellite data. Ideas must be easily implementable and sustainable as well as cut costs and create efficiencies. Last year’s challenge winner used the data package within Cerberus, an emergency mapping crowd sourcing game. Entry information is available online.

European Space Imaging’s challenge is part of Copernicus Masters 2013, a program to provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. Other challenges that are part of the program include GEO Illustration, Best Service and ESA App.

The deadline for entries is September 15, 2013.

Google Glass Through My Eyes

August 27, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

It’s not every day you get the chance to try on one of the most buzzed-about consumer technology advances in recent memory, so I jumped at the chance to try out Google Glass during a recent visit with Thermopylae Sciences and Technology.

Thermopylae, a defense contractor based in Arlington, Virginia, acquired the glasses through the Google Glass Foundry and Explorer programs and now is experimenting with how wearable computers could integrate with its current and future products. (Read more in "Google Glass Sharpens View of Wearable Computer Future.")

Having never seen or worn Google Glass, I anticipated an augmented-reality experience—staring through two glass lenses and seeing information projected over my view of the world. The reality of Google Glass is much different. The frames hook over your ears and rest on your nose like traditional glasses, but the viewing piece is raised to the right. When you stare straight ahead, you have an unobstructed view as you normally would. To actually see the Google Glass “screen,” you have to consciously look up and to the right.

The glasses are extremely light, and it’s easy to see how you could wear a pair for a prolonged period of time. John-Isaac Clark, chief innovation officer of Thermopylae, wears a pair all day and says he stopped noticing the glasses after about an hour, just like you might with regular glasses. But while you may not feel the glasses on your face, others will certainly take notice. Clark sums it up nicely: “It looks stupid.” Not my finest fashion hour.

Special Ops Hunts for Psyops Tool

August 26, 2013

The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is seeking radio broadcast systems that can search for and acquire every AM and FM radio station in a region and then broadcast a message across the specific area. This capability would be used to share information simultaneously with residents in locations where unrest or natural or manmade disasters make it difficult to communicate. The synchronous over-broadcast system must be lightweight, able to operate on multiple frequencies and demonstrated at a technology readiness level 8 or higher.

To propose their secure communications system, companies must submit a summary outline not to exceed five pages that describes the performance specifications. Submissions must include name, address, phone and fax numbers, and email address for all points of contact.

This is a sources sought announcement only. If SOCOM decides to acquire one of the proposed systems, a pre-award synopsis will be posted on FedBizOpps.gov to pursue procurement.

DISA’s Forge.mil Surpasses 1,000 Projects

August 26, 2013

The Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA's) Forge.mil has surpassed the 1,000-project mark with 798 software development works on SoftwareForge, 162 on ProjectForge and 42 on Forge SIPR (secure Internet protocol routing). Forge.mil is a family of enterprise services supporting the U.S. Defense Department’s technology community. It allows collaborative development and information technology project management through the full application life cycle. Projects on SoftwareForge are visible to all Forge.mil users, who also can browse ProjectForge for Defense Department public content made accessible within private undertakings. Visitors can go to the site to search and download software, report bugs, contribute change requests or request their own private project space in DISA’s fee-for-service offering. To access the Forge SIPR site, users must have a valid SIPR public key infrastructure software certificate or hardware token.

New Innovation Awards RESONATE at Resnick Sustainability Institute

August 21, 2013

 

The Resnick Sustainability Institute at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has established an award to honor cutting-edge work that addresses some of the most difficult problems in energy and sustainability. The award winners will be announced in the spring of 2014. The RESONATE Awards will focus on innovative, paradigm-shifting work from individuals at an early stage in their careers, whose ideas are worthy of significant, widespread recognition. The work can be from many fields, including science, technology, economics and public policy, among others. The intent is to draw attention to the innovators making significant strides in some of the grand challenges facing humanity within the context of achieving global sustainability. These include meeting the world’s energy needs, providing water and food for a growing world population, cleaning the environment and improving access to the natural resources people need to live a productive life.

The deadline for nominations is October 13, 2013. For additional information, email the Resnick Institute.

Cool App-titude: SugarSync

August 20, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

Looking for an easy way to sync your data across your devices and computer? Need mobile backup for your files, photos, videos and music? The free SugarSync mobile app gives you access to all your data from your smartphone or tablet.

With the app, you can access any files from your computer, share privately with select people, upload from your mobile device to your computer and edit documents. Send files remotely from your phone or tablet even if your computer is off.

SugarSync has mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian devices. The app is free with 5 GB and the option of an in-app purchase of $49.99 for 30 GB.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new Web sites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

Calling All Radio Suppliers

August 21, 2013

 

The U.S. Army is conducting a full and open competition to acquire more quantities of the Rifleman Radio and also will soon open competition for purchasing additional Manpack radios. The draft request for proposals (RFP) seeking solutions from all industry partners for the Rifleman is now available, and an informational industry day will be followed by the release of the formal RFP.

The goal of the new competitions is to decrease costs, increase overall system functionality and reduce the size, weight and power requirements of the radios. One key component is to enable soldiers to communicate from the small unit level to the individual dismounted warfighter. The full and open competition includes technical and field tests of the solutions that current and new industry partners propose.

An indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a five-year ordering period is expected to be awarded to a single vendor for the Rifleman Radio, Army officials say. The service plans to conduct a follow-on competition within the next three to five years for the next generation of the radio, they add.

Contract awards for both radios are scheduled for fiscal year 2014.

Navy Surfs the Crowd

August 20, 2013

 

The U.S. Navy is turning to crowdsourcing as a possible situational awareness aid during disasters and social unrest. Data from eyewitnesses or participants would be fused with information from other sources to provide timely understanding and appreciation of an environment or location to response teams.

During the first phase of the Crowdsourcing Situational Awareness (Crowd-SA) project, a technical approach is being developed and prototype software will be demonstrated using simulated data. The goal is to design text analysis tools that extract events and entities in context, using language and patterns typically found in social media settings. This data would then be adjusted to improve fusion with information from non-crowdsourcing resources by using distributed cloud-based computing methods for processing the disparate data simultaneously.

Modus Operandi is developing the phase one software under a Small Business Innovation Research contract.

Tech Transfer Thrives

August 20, 2013

 

Investors, integrators and information technology companies this week will see eight government-developed emerging cybersecurity technologies ready for transition into the commercial sector. Capabilities to be unveiled include intrusion detection, removable media protection, software assurance and malware forensics. The technology demonstration day, which takes place in San José, California, on August 22, gives investors and the business sector the opportunity to view laboratory prototypes of the cybersecurity products in action.

Michael Pozmantier, program manager, Transition-to-Practice, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and technology developers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories will be on hand to discuss the capabilities and their potential.

Transition-to-Practice events are held several times a year at locations around the United States.

DeVries: A New Definition for Enterprise Services

August 16, 2013
By Max Cacas

Now that the Joint Information Environment  (JIE) has become one of the top priorities for the Department of Defense information technology officials (see Gaining Consensus on the JIE, June 2013), it is more important than ever to make sure that this new paradigm of extending voice, data and multimedia to the warfighter integrate well with existing enterprise services within the military.  That’s according to David DeVries, the deputy chief information officer for information enterprise with the Defense Department, speaking on a recent edition of the AFCEA Answers  radio program.

“The Joint Information Environment is about moving to more enterprise level things.  But just because I start to consolidate, and I reduce the number of my data centers, and I may reduce the number of my databases, I’m gong to rely more and more on the technology technology innovation to help me to achieve the economies of scale and size,” he says.  In one example, he explains that the challenge is to take existing databases used to support military mission requirements, adapt them to operate in a cloud computing environment, which in turn would allow the database to be used for other, related purposes.

NSA and University to Create Big Data Laboratory

August 16, 2013

 

North Carolina (NC) State University has announced a new partnership with the National Security Agency (NSA) to create the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS) on the university’s Centennial Campus. The lab will bring together personnel from government, academia and industry to address the most challenging big data problems and will be a cornerstone of the emerging advanced data innovation hub at NC State.

NC State researchers will assist NSA scientists in establishing priorities and conducting research for the LAS. A key goal of the LAS is to promote new advances in the science of analysis through innovative collaborations between industry, academia and government.

The NSA grant funding of the LAS is the largest sponsored research contract in the university’s history.

Group to Review Intelligence and Communications Technologies

August 14, 2013

 

James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, revealed this week plans to form a high-level group of outside experts to examine the U.S. government's signals-intelligence collection and surveillance capabilities. The announcement follows guidance from President Barack Obama, who said new technologies that give governments unprecedented capabilities to monitor communications must be discussed. The review group will "consider how we can maintain the trust of the people," ensuring no abuse of surveillance technologies and assessing surveillance impacts on foreign policy.

Once established, the group will brief interim findings to the president within 60 days with a final report due no later than December 15.

Cool App-titude: hōrd

August 13, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

The new hōrd app for iPhone is "opening up the world of government contracting." Developed by GovTribe Incorporated, the app lets users subscribe to and track project solicitations on the go. Search for federal contracting notices and awards or a contractor's name and receive alerts when information is updated.

Information is pushed to the app in real time, letting users evaluate opportunities and keep tabs on competitors. Navigate new opportunities, gain intel and see what's popular among other users.

Download the free app from the iTunes App Store.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new Web sites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

Emerging Space Program Investments Reach $1.8 Billion in 2013

August 13, 2013

 

Twenty-seven countries have begun investing this year in space programs estimated to be valued at $1.8 billion, according to an executive brief, Trends & Prospects for Emerging Space Programs, published by Euroconsult, a Paris-based consulting firm. The report includes projects, development models, lessons learned and perspectives of countries starting their first or second generation satellite programs. Investments are more than two times what they were in the company’s 2007 estimate. Of the 29 countries assessed in the report, 27 have begun investing in a space program, including $1.4 billion in satellite procurement. Seventeen of those countries have reported funding for a satellite communications program for a combined value of $950 million, and 18 countries are undertaking an Earth observation program with associated budgets of more than $500 million by 2015.

Incentivizing Companies to Manage Cyber Risks Better

August 9, 2013

 

The White House is developing a core of practices to develop capabilities to manage cybersecurity risk. This Cybersecurity Framework will be available in draft form in October and finalized in February 2014. At that time, officials will create the Voluntary Program to encourage critical infrastructure companies to adopt the framework. Until then, the government is looking at ways to incentivize companies to participate. Some recommended incentives can be adopted quickly while others will require legislative action and additional work. The White House is collaborating with appropriate agencies now to move forward and to prioritize incentive areas including cybersecurity insurance, grants, process preference, liability limitation, streamlined regulations, public recognition, rate recovery for price regulated industry and cybersecurity research. For more detailed information, visit the White House Blog

 

 

Carter Calls for Cuts

August 6, 2013

 

At the direction of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter, deputy secretary of defense, has ordered a 20 percent reduction in headquarters management spending throughout the U.S. Defense Department. The cuts apply to all higher headquarters staff, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense Principal Staff Assistants (PSAs) and their defense agency staffs, the Joint Staff, and Service Secretary and Service Chief staffs.

The 20 percent decrease applies to civilian personnel working at headquarters and associated costs, including contract services, facilities and information technology. While military personnel are not part of headquarters budgets, organizations have been directed to strive for a goal of 20 percent decrease in military personnel billets on headquarters staffs. Carter encouraged senior managers to ensure that cuts are made “aggressively and as soon as possible” to eliminate uncertainty for employees and contractors. When possible, some reductions should be made in fiscal year 2014; however, the guideline is to make them proportionately beginning with a fifth of the cut occurring in fiscal year 2015.

Carter has asked that departments submit their reduction plans with their Program Objective Memorandum, which are due on September 23, 2013.

 

JIE Reaches Initial Operational Capability

August 6, 2013

 

The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Environment (JIE) achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on July 31. The JIE is the largest restructuring of information technology management in the military’s history. At the end of the project, personnel will have access to a secure joint environment made up of a shared information technology infrastructure, a single security architecture and enterprise services.

The environment is now available across U.S. European and Africa commands and is managed by the first Enterprise Operations Center, Stuttgart, Germany. The IOC is a validation of the processes and relationships the department will use to support center operations as the environment matures.

 

Pages

Subscribe to SIGNAL Blogs