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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:

Manportable Radio System Combines Night Sight and Sound
April 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Warfighters on foot equipped with night vision systems now can give their commanders a real-time glimpse of what they’re seeing in the field. A new system that combines a portable radio with night vision goggles allows the optical imagery to be captured and sent across the same radio channels used for voice and data communications.

Each piece of hardware—the portable radio and the night vision system—is in service with the armed forces of several countries around the world. Engineers basically combined the two functions to produce a single system that allows commanders to remotely view a night scene from the warfighter’s eye view accompanied with geolocation information.

Known as the Individual Soldier System (ISS) and manufactured by Exelis Incorporated, the new system combines a software suite with existing hardware. These three major subsystems generate a two-way imaging capability that also allows the warfighter to view imagery relayed by headquarters.

The i-Aware Tactical Mobility Night Vision Goggle (TM-NVG) optical system features an overlay display that enables mobility information to be viewed by its wearer. It weighs less than 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) and can run on one lithium AA battery. An intensified camera inside the goggle set allows command and control personnel to view live imagery from the field.

The company’s SpearNet team member radio serves as the transmission device for the TM-NVG. The 1.5-pound radio operates in the 1.2-1.4 gigahertz band, and it can network with satellite communications and long-range radio systems. Information from the TM-NVG system can be sent across the SpearNet self-healing mesh network, which in turn can display visual tactical information such as maps and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) video.

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 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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