The U.S. Navy’s technology plans are moving away from systems to focus on capabilities. Changes aim to ensure that the fleet has the functionality to be operationally ready at all times.
Rear Adm. Christian “Boris” Becker, USN, program executive officer (PEO) Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) and PEO Space Systems, explains that the mission of his organizations is to develop, acquire, deploy and sustain in the most effective manner possible the naval information dominance capabilities warfighters need to accomplish their missions, including coordinating all Department of the Navy space research, development and acquisition activities. The current fiscal environment demands that work be carried out with affordability as a key consideration along with providing required support. “It’s about warfighting capability for the fleet,” Adm. Becker states. “That’s where our priorities begin and that’s where our priorities end: getting capabilities to the fleet.”
Looking out long term, the Navy needs to understand how to improve the warfighting readiness of deployed systems. The admiral explains that capabilities must be provided in a way that allows for modernization; part of that effort involves commonality and interoperability in products. “Capabilities evolve for their own purposes and their own mission,” he says. “It’s time for us to take a more holistic view.”
The United Nations is running an Asia-Pacific technology transfer program that puts necessary capabilities in the hands of developing countries while improving international relations in the region. Efforts assist large and small states to harness the potential of technology to create a better future for their citizens.
Established in 1977 and headquartered in New Dehli, the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) is one of five regional institutions of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). The center creates an enabling environment to assist the commission’s members by strengthening their capabilities to develop and manage national innovation systems; develop, transfer, adapt and apply technology; improve the terms of transfer of technology; and identify and promote the development and transfer of technologies relevant to the region. A total of 53 member states and nine associate members make up UN ESCAP and are part of the center. “The role for technology innovation in the Asia-Pacific region is quite enormous,” Michael Williamson, head of the APCTT, explains. Applications include the deterrence of climate change, food security, energy, sanitation and clean water. “For all of these challenges, we need new and innovative technologies,” Williamson says.
In 2013, the center developed a strategic plan with three main goals: science, technology and innovation (STI); technology transfer; and technology intelligence. The APCTT assists member countries by strengthening those fields, including by cooperating with small and medium enterprises that can help. The organization is not a technology hub but a resource to help countries manage the technology transfer process.
The Department of Homeland Security’s SAFETY Act is finding a new application as it may serve to protect against the potential for lawsuits arising from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. Lawyers are answering questions from clients about possible legal actions, and the department and institute are working together to ensure developers work with confidence.
The U.S. Army officially activated its Cyber Protection Brigade earlier this month, marking the first time the service has had such a unit. As the defensive operations enabled by the brigade ramp up, the Army now also has a cyber branch operating provisionally, which will change the way soldiers are assigned to cyber career fields.
The intelligence community is striving to determine how it can work with industry early, before requirements for capabilities are confirmed, to get out ahead of challenges.