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News Briefs Archive

July 15, 2009
SIGNAL Staff

August 2009
Data Upgrades for Old Warbirds
The U.S. Air Force’s venerable fleet of B-52 Stratofortress bombers is joining the network-centric force. They are being outfitted with the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system, which will provide the aircraft with enhanced situational awareness and mission flexibility. The CONECT modification involves the installation of a digital communications infrastructure into the B-52 that enables the aircraft to link to the Air Force’s digital communications network and contact command and control centers, ground forces and other platforms. The first aircraft to receive the equipment is undergoing fight tests. All 76 aircraft in the fleet will receive CONECT after the flight test program is complete.

Multinational Maritime Security Experiments Underway
Trident Warrior 09 (TW09) and the associated Operational Level Command and Control (OLC2) experiments officially begin today. Among the issues the events are examining are maritime situational awareness, information operations, sea basing and collaboration between maritime operation centers. The annual FORCEnet sea trial examines technologies and refines, develops, tests and explores capabilities to close gaps between maritime operations centers’ core operational level of command and control. This is the first time the OLC2 is being integrated within the Trident Warrior construct. The two experiments currently underway are the third in a spiral process.

NSPS Review Group Announces Public Meetings
The Defense Business Board task group created to review the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) will hold public meetings at the Hyatt-Arlington in Arlington, Virginia. The first is scheduled for June 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; the second on June 26 from 9 a.m. to noon, resuming from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The group will invite experts who have testified before Congress on the NSPS to the first event and will listen to select members of the public for additional information about previously submitted written comments at the second. The public can attend and provide comments until June 26, but those received after June 18 may not arrive in time for consideration.

Royal Navy Answers Siren Call
British Royal Navy submarines recently demonstrated the ability to communicate in real time while submerged and at depth. The vessels tested the Deep Siren Tactical Paging (DSTP) system, which consists of expendable buoys that link to the Iridium satellite network and allow long-range underwater communications through acoustic signals. The trial validated that the DSTP, which was developed by an industry team that includes the Raytheon Company, can communicate with submerged submarines at ranges in excess of 100 nautical miles. The U.S. Navy successfully tested the technology in 2008.

Service Halts Expansion
The U.S. Army has cancelled its plan to build three additional brigade combat teams (BCTs). As a result of the decision, the Army will be able to maximize its ability to deploy brigades for contingency operations and major exercises; to take advantage of access to training facilities, battle command centers and training support centers; and to improve quality of life for troops. The decision does not affect the restationing of the two heavy BCTs, which are scheduled to return from Europe in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, an action that is being examined as part of the Quadrennial Defense Review. Army officials say the service still will reach its target of 45 BCTs in fiscal year 2010. The teams were scheduled to be located at Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Fort Stewart, Georgia.

German Forces Acquire Advanced Radar
The German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement has accepted for evaluation two system demonstrators of Bodenüberwachungsradar (BÜR), a ground surveillance radar that precisely detects ground and low-altitude movements. Developer EADS Defence and Security will begin delivering approximately 80 systems in 2012. The radar should close the German Armed Forces’ gap in capabilities in intelligence gathering and reconnaissance. The BÜR can perform multiple reconnaissance tasks simultaneously, and each can assume the work of several conventional radars. A modified version of the radar is under development for civil applications. BÜR is suitable for mobile use on the DINGO 2 armored vehicle.

DHS Tests Biometric Exit Procedures
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented biometric exit procedure tests at Hartsfield-JacksonAtlantaInternationalAirport and DetroitMetropolitanWayneCountyAirport as part of the US-VISIT program. Within the next year, the DHS will begin implementing the procedures at other locations. Officials are collecting digital fingerprints from non-U.S. citizens departing the country at these locations as part of a pilot program. Since 2004, the United States has collected biometrics from most foreign citizens applying for visas or arriving at U.S. ports of entry. US-VISIT simultaneously has worked to create the automated biometric exit capability.

Contract Associated With Presidential Helicopter Cancelled
Following the U.S. Defense Department’s decision to cancel the presidential helicopter replacement program last month, the U.S. Navy is terminating the VH-71 system development and demonstration (SDD) program contract. Initial plans called for the VH-71 to replace both the VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft, which currently conduct presidential support missions. According to the Defense Department, the Navy’s contract and associated work with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration–Owego for the SDD was terminated for the convenience of the government.

Visa System Undergoes Overhaul
The visa processing system for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is being streamlined. Existing legacy visa software will be consolidated into one processing system that features a new integrated suite of applications. The system aims at lowering risk, cost and complexity while enhancing productivity, accountability and security. In addition, it focuses on improving visa operations domestically and at international embassies, and it allows for the flexibility that is needed to meet new legislative mandates efficiently.

New Standard for Federal Records Management
A new guideline for government records management will enable organizations to better meet federal data record keeping requirements. The Records Management Services (RMS) Technical Specification is a new global standard that ensures federal agencies can fulfill their obligations in the areas of federal records management, open government and transparency. The RMS involves the reuse of enterprise Web services that can address the full record life cycle from creation through archiving. It will be the basis for the first U.S. governmentwide specification for records management services meeting the requirements of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office.

July 2009
First Flight Shooting of High-Power Laser
Personnel from the 413th Test Squadron and Boeing Company have fired the high-power laser for the first time during flight aboard the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, demonstrating that an airborne system can deliver laser beam energy to a ground target. More tests are planned to showcase the ATL’s military utility. The system is designed to damage, disable or destroy targets with little or no collateral damage. The demonstrations support systems for battlefield missions and urban operations. The ATL is equipped with a chemical laser, a beam control system and weapon-systems consoles. 

Service Explores Wikis for TTP Revisions
The U.S. Army is testing the viability of allowing soldiers and leaders to update the service’s tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) using a wiki environment. The Combined Arms Center is using a milWiki platform, which is available only to Army Knowledge Online members, and will compare the speed of revising TTPs to the typical time frame required to staff and update field manuals (FMs), which is generally three to five years. Seven FMs have been selected for the test, but more than 200 additional FMs may be part of the capability in the future.

Navy Developing Long-Range Attack Capabilities
The U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have launched a joint effort to develop a smart next-generation antiship weapon. The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile program seeks to reduce the Navy’s reliance on precision intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, datalinks, and global positioning systems by using advanced onboard sensing and processing capabilities. The goal is to engage moving ships precisely with only coarse, initial target cuing from ranges beyond direct enemy counter-fire threats. The program is now in its initial analysis, design and risk reduction phase.

Combatant Command Adopts Web 2.0 Technologies
The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube to communicate information about operations and activity in its area of operations (AOR). Members of the command’s Digital Engagement Team plan to expand its Facebook presence by publishing information in the AOR’s predominant languages, including Arabic and Farsi. According to CENTCOM officials, the team is receiving feedback from its followers and is using Twitter to follow others and to respond to questions.

Small Robot Submarine Deploys
An autonomous robot submarine soon will be helping warfighters patrol harbors, ports and other confined areas for underwater threats. The Talisman L can conduct searches with its high-definition forward- and sideways-looking sonar and multiview cameras. Designed for maneuverability, the submarine can turn within its own length and can operate at depths of up to 300 feet for up to 12 hours. It can be deployed from a variety of vessels such as rigid inflatable boats. Although autonomous, operators can take control at any time. The Talisman L also can become the payload for the much larger Talisman M unmanned submarine.

Army Evolves Combat Team Modernization Efforts
The U.S. Army is conducting high-tech network and equipment verification tests as part of its brigade combat team modernization, updating the teams with the latest networked intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and lethality capabilities. In the technical field test, soldiers are evaluating the performance of unmanned air and ground vehicles, unattended sensors, an unattended munitions delivery system and the network that supports them. Data gathered from this test will assist network and product development improvements, culminating in a limited user test in fiscal year 2010.

United States and Spain Expand Cooperation
The Department of Homeland Security and the Spanish Interior Ministry have signed a Letter of Intent to expand science and technology cooperation that enhances security and combats transnational threats. The letter promotes collaboration of research, development, testing, evaluations and operations between the countries to benefit their capabilities to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters. The countries also signed the Agreement to Prevent and Combat Serious Crimes, which allows the exchange of fingerprints and other data of known terrorists and criminals while protecting privacy. The U.S. government has signed similar agreements with 10 international partners in the last several months.

Eyes in Disguise to Boost Situational Awareness
A daylight-readable, see-through, low-profile eyewear display is being developed as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness and Visualization program. The goal of the program is to deliver a soldier-worn system that would provide non-line-of-sight command and control information to soldiers on the ground to increase situational awareness in urban environments through a head-up display of information. Microvision Incorporated is developing the eyewear display, which could enable dismounted warfighters to see information such as visual commands, georegistered iconic representations and other full-color image content overlaid in the user’s field of view in operational environments.

Italy Acquires Optical Memory Card IDs
The Italian national police force, known as the Carabinieri, will be issued secure identification credential cards that include data such as employment, biometric identification and health information. The memory card will feature tamperproof and counterfeit-resistant optical memory technology. It integrates multiple technologies, including optical stripe, covert and overt security features, and a contactless chip and antenna. The police force’s card will be compatible with the national standards set for Italy’s Citizen ID Card and will be designed to operate seamlessly within the planned national ID infrastructure.

June 2009
Data Upgrades for Old Warbirds
The U.S. Air Force’s venerable fleet of B-52 Stratofortress bombers is joining the network-centric force. They are being outfitted with the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system, which will provide the aircraft with enhanced situational awareness and mission flexibility. The CONECT modification involves the installation of a digital communications infrastructure into the B-52 that enables the aircraft to link to the Air Force’s digital communications network and contact command and control centers, ground forces and other platforms. The first aircraft to receive the equipment is undergoing fight tests. All 76 aircraft in the fleet will receive CONECT after the flight test program is complete.

Multinational Maritime Security Experiments Underway
Trident Warrior 09 (TW09) and the associated Operational Level Command and Control (OLC2) experiments officially begin today. Among the issues the events are examining are maritime situational awareness, information operations, sea basing and collaboration between maritime operation centers. The annual FORCEnet sea trial examines technologies and refines, develops, tests and explores capabilities to close gaps between maritime operations centers’ core operational level of command and control. This is the first time the OLC2 is being integrated within the Trident Warrior construct. The two experiments currently underway are the third in a spiral process.

NSPS Review Group Announces Public Meetings
The Defense Business Board task group created to review the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) will hold public meetings at the Hyatt-Arlington in Arlington, Virginia. The first is scheduled for June 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; the second on June 26 from 9 a.m. to noon, resuming from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The group will invite experts who have testified before Congress on the NSPS to the first event and will listen to select members of the public for additional information about previously submitted written comments at the second. The public can attend and provide comments until June 26, but those received after June 18 may not arrive in time for consideration.

Royal Navy Answers Siren Call
British Royal Navy submarines recently demonstrated the ability to communicate in real time while submerged and at depth. The vessels tested the Deep Siren Tactical Paging (DSTP) system, which consists of expendable buoys that link to the Iridium satellite network and allow long-range underwater communications through acoustic signals. The trial validated that the DSTP, which was developed by an industry team that includes the Raytheon Company, can communicate with submerged submarines at ranges in excess of 100 nautical miles. The U.S. Navy successfully tested the technology in 2008.

Service Halts Expansion
The U.S. Army has cancelled its plan to build three additional brigade combat teams (BCTs). As a result of the decision, the Army will be able to maximize its ability to deploy brigades for contingency operations and major exercises; to take advantage of access to training facilities, battle command centers and training support centers; and to improve quality of life for troops. The decision does not affect the restationing of the two heavy BCTs, which are scheduled to return from Europe in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, an action that is being examined as part of the Quadrennial Defense Review. Army officials say the service still will reach its target of 45 BCTs in fiscal year 2010. The teams were scheduled to be located at Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Fort Stewart, Georgia.

German Forces Acquire Advanced Radar
The German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement has accepted for evaluation two system demonstrators of Bodenüberwachungsradar (BÜR), a ground surveillance radar that precisely detects ground and low-altitude movements. Developer EADS Defence and Security will begin delivering approximately 80 systems in 2012. The radar should close the German Armed Forces’ gap in capabilities in intelligence gathering and reconnaissance. The BÜR can perform multiple reconnaissance tasks simultaneously, and each can assume the work of several conventional radars. A modified version of the radar is under development for civil applications. BÜR is suitable for mobile use on the DINGO 2 armored vehicle.

DHS Tests Biometric Exit Procedures
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented biometric exit procedure tests at Hartsfield-JacksonAtlantaInternationalAirport and DetroitMetropolitanWayneCountyAirport as part of the US-VISIT program. Within the next year, the DHS will begin implementing the procedures at other locations. Officials are collecting digital fingerprints from non-U.S. citizens departing the country at these locations as part of a pilot program. Since 2004, the United States has collected biometrics from most foreign citizens applying for visas or arriving at U.S. ports of entry. US-VISIT simultaneously has worked to create the automated biometric exit capability.

Contract Associated With Presidential Helicopter Cancelled
Following the U.S. Defense Department’s decision to cancel the presidential helicopter replacement program last month, the U.S. Navy is terminating the VH-71 system development and demonstration (SDD) program contract. Initial plans called for the VH-71 to replace both the VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft, which currently conduct presidential support missions. According to the Defense Department, the Navy’s contract and associated work with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration–Owego for the SDD was terminated for the convenience of the government.

Visa System Undergoes Overhaul
The visa processing system for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is being streamlined. Existing legacy visa software will be consolidated into one processing system that features a new integrated suite of applications. The system aims at lowering risk, cost and complexity while enhancing productivity, accountability and security. In addition, it focuses on improving visa operations domestically and at international embassies, and it allows for the flexibility that is needed to meet new legislative mandates efficiently.

New Standard for Federal Records Management
A new guideline for government records management will enable organizations to better meet federal data record keeping requirements. The Records Management Services (RMS) Technical Specification is a new global standard that ensures federal agencies can fulfill their obligations in the areas of federal records management, open government and transparency. The RMS involves the reuse of enterprise Web services that can address the full record life cycle from creation through archiving. It will be the basis for the first U.S. governmentwide specification for records management services meeting the requirements of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office.