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News Briefs

January 15, 2008

Army Deploys Cyber Warriors
The U.S. Army’s European Command has launched its first cyber-intelligence units to counter growing online threats. The Army’s 5th Signal Command in Mannheim, Germany, is operating a component-level cyber cell consisting of three experienced intelligence and computer experts. The specialists will observe potentially harmful data passing from the Internet into friendly networks, identify attack patterns, analyze data and advise network operators so they can take preventative action to ensure the security of the command’s systems. Another cell responsibility is to prevent military users from engaging in “digital fratricide”—accidentally blocking or deleting vital communications.

Grants for Real ID
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is offering states two grant programs to assist with Real ID implementation. Under the Real ID Demonstration Grant Program, a total of $31.3 million is available to states for projects that check motor vehicle records in other states to verify that applicants do not hold multiple licenses and that compare applicant information against data on file in federal records. States competing for this grant should submit proposals that demonstrate how other states could use, modify or transfer a personal identification verification system or established architecture designed and developed with federal funding. The Real ID Vital Events Verification State Project Grant dedicates a total of $4 million to projects that verify vital records such as birth records.

GSA Names Alliant Award Winners
The U.S. General Services Administration has chosen the 62 firms that are now eligible to receive business from government agencies under the Alliant Small Business contract. The contract is the first small business set-aside governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC). One of the goals of the award, valued at up to $15 billion, is to provide agencies with a global, centralized source for acquiring integrated information technology solutions. The contract streamlines purchasing management and technical support services processes, making it easier for government agencies to meet their small business contracting goals.

Tiny Flying Machines Go Into Production
A small, lightweight micro air vehicle (MAV) has been approved for full-rate production and deployment to U.S. military forces. The Wasp III MAV, which features a 29-inch wingspan and weighs one pound, is part of the U.S. Air Force’s Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle (BATMAV) program. It carries interchangeable targeting payload modules, including an infrared camera and two integrated color cameras to transmit streaming video directly to a handheld ground controller. Under the BATMAV program, the U.S. Marine Corps will use Wasp MAVs at the platoon level to complement the Raven small, unmanned aerial systems currently deployed at the company and battalion levels.

Bringing Lasers Down to Size
The U.S. Air Force is funding a project that is creating fiber-lasers as thin as a human hair. Researchers at the Arizona Center for Mathematical Sciences have developed the technology, and the service believes additional development of the ultra-fast laser will provide compact and cost-effective solutions applicable for use in a number of its technologies. The research team already has developed technologies that facilitate the integration of laser-active ions into fully functional fiber-laser devices. It is now exploring new military applications in the areas of material processing, nonlinear optics and terahertz remote sensing.

Venue Announced for Wearable Power Competition
The U.S. Defense Department will hold the inaugural $1.75 million Wearable Power Prize competition at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) in Twentynine Palms, California. The contest will take place between September 22 and October 4, and the purpose is to gather and test wearable power-generating methods and techniques. The goal of the overall program is to reduce the weight of power systems that warfighters must carry to operate their radios, navigation equipment and other gear.

System Matches Experts to Position Openings
Functional area managers and personnel specialists in the U.S. Air Force now have a tool that enables commanders to measure how staff cuts and force-shaping personnel reductions impact warfighting. The posturing analysis tool matches data from the Deliberate Crisis Action Planning and Execution Segments with unit manpower document authorizations from the Manpower Programming and Execution System. Maj. Gen. Anthony Przybyslawski, USAF, commander, Air Force Personnel Center, describes the tool as a way “of balancing our capabilities checkbook.” Authorized personnel can download the tool at the Air Force Functional Area Manager’s Community of Practice.

Information-Sharing Benefits Wounded Warriors
Military health care databases are being enhanced so the U.S. Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs can both access mutual patients’ information. The Bidirectional Health Information Exchange and the Clinical Data Repository/Health Data Repository interfaces will facilitate interoperability and improve continuity of patient care by synchronizing data such as clinic visits, medical procedures performed and health problems. In addition, the interfaces will allow the departments to access combat zone data from the Theater Medical Data Store.

Submit information for consideration in News Briefs to signalnews@afcea.org.