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Robert K. Ackerman

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Robert K. Ackerman
Editor in Chief
Robert K. Ackerman has been the editor in chief of SIGNAL Magazine for more than a dozen years. A seasoned technology journalist, Ackerman also has served as a war correspondent covering the Iraq War embedded with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

A journalist by training, Ackerman also minored in political science in university. His journalism career dates back more than three decades, beginning with stints as a radio reporter covering the Republican and Democratic parties’ political conventions during the 1976 elections. Following those conventions, he served as a media advisor or a press secretary for candidates in state and presidential campaigns.

Most of his journalism work over the years has been in print journalism. His writings have covered a range of issues involving technology, politics and international security.

Prior to becoming SIGNAL’s editor in chief, Ackerman served as the magazine’s senior editor. He has been with SIGNAL Magazine for more than two decades, during which he has written hundreds of feature articles and authored more than 300 columns and commentaries. His areas of coverage have spanned topics such as military information systems, foreign affairs, intelligence, laboratory research and development, space technologies, international security, terrorism and information operations. He has won or shared in journalism awards from the Aviation Writers Association; APEX; the American Copy Editors Society; PRSA; the Society for Technical Communication; and the American Society of Association Executives.

My Recent Content:

Identifying Malaysian Airline Shootdown Source May Be Difficult
July 17, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The missile system claimed by a Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser to be responsible for the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine is manufactured in Ukraine and is in use by both Ukrainian and Russian military forces. If the missile system is confirmed as the cause of the crash, determining which side fired it could be difficult.

Army, Navy Hardware Influence Air Force Satellite Links
July 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

When the U.S. Air Force needed a new secure satellite communications system, one company was able to show up at the starting line with an 80 percent solution based on an existing product line serving the Army and the Navy.

Necessity Drives Joint Information Environment
July 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The shrinking military cannot achieve mission success without the advances promised by the Joint Information Environment, U.S. Defense Department leaders say. Yet the effort itself depends on innovative advances that may lead to changes in doctrine and operations if—and when—they are incorporated into the force.

No clear technology or architecture has emerged to define the JIE. While the military has a goal in mind, it also recognizes that information technologies and capabilities are evolving faster than planners can predict. The commercial sector, which could serve as a fount of ideas for defense networking, itself is structuring its strategies to accommodate unforeseen changes. Different parts of the defense and intelligence communities have their own nonnegotiable requirements for JIE participation.

Different organizations and disciplines strive to break down silos and give the Defense Department its JIE. Leading defense communicators agree that the force cannot prevail in future operations without a single information environment, but they must ensure that it does not ignore the specific needs of some individual elements within the defense community.

Many of these issues were discussed at AFCEA’s three-day JIE Mission Partner Symposium held May 12-14 in Baltimore. Overflow crowds heard speakers and panelists from government, the military and industry discuss the need for the JIE and the challenges that stand in the way of its implementation.

U.S. military forces will not be able to pursue operational goals successfully unless the JIE is implemented, according to a member of the Joint Staff. Lt. Gen. Mark S. Bowman, J-6, The Joint Staff, was unambiguous in his assessment of the JIE’s importance.

Cyber Not Ready for Service Designation
June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The growing call for an independent U.S. cyber service along the lines of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps is not likely to gain followers among policy makers, say a number of service cyber officers.

Defense Department Looks for Youth Movement in Cyber
June 25, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The acting chief information officer (CIO) for the U.S. Defense Department is promoting a diversity movement for information technology. He wants to see a younger work force that includes people who have come of age in the digital era.


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