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Question: Is It Appropriate for Defense Industry Companies to Earn a Profit?

April 1, 2014
By M. Thomas Davis

Over the past decade, I have participated nearly each year in the Association of the U.S. Army Industry Day at the United States Army War College. In the afternoon, an industry representative spends about three hours in each student seminar of about 20 officers. I have always participated in this seminar portion. One item that has emerged over the years in these meetings is that many who spend their professional careers in the public sector have an uncomfortable sentiment about the concept of profit.

Marines Exercise New Warfighting Strategy

April 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

To address a changing mission amid broader challenges, the U.S. Marines are implementing the service’s future warfighting strategy this year through training, war gaming and experimentation. The strategy calls for forces to be dispersed over wide areas and will require technologies that enhance warfighters’ effectiveness over greater distances.

The Corps Consolidates Key Capabilities

April 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Marine Corps has combined two signals intelligence programs as part of its efforts to drive efficiency and enhance expeditionary operations. Streamlining activities for manpackable and vehicle-borne versions of similar capabilities increases both flexibility and redundancy in the field for the users.

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.

Open Source Intelligence Offers Crystal Ball Capability

April 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Researchers working on behalf of the U.S. intelligence agencies can use reams of open source, anonymous data to foretell social turmoil such as disease outbreaks or international political unrest. Once fully developed, the capability to predict coming events may allow U.S. officials to more effectively respond to public health threats; to improve embassy security before an imminent attack; or to more quickly and effectively respond to humanitarian crises.

The Weaknesses of Unclassified Intelligence

April 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The open source domain has a set of vulnerabilities unique in the intelligence world in terms of both what enemies can misuse and critical pieces that might be absent. Because of the public nature of open source, some experts tend to discount its value, while that same feature means that patient malefactors can put together different sources of data leaking through various measures until they develop a comprehensive, damaging picture. Different technologies are helping to mitigate the dangers as the public and private sectors also work to educate their people on safer practices.

Exelis Provides Jammers for Jet Fighters

March 14, 2014

Exelis Inc., Clifton, N.J., is being awarded a $91,701,414 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-12-C-0002) to exercise an option for the manufacture and delivery of 42 AN/ALQ-214(V)4 on-board jammer (OBJ) systems. The AN/ALQ-214(V)4/5 is an OBJ component of the integrated defensive electronic counter measures system. It is a self-protection radio frequency (RF) countermeasures system used by Navy F/A-18C/D/E/F strike fighter aircraft against RF guided surface-to-air and air-to-air threats (missiles). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting.

Word of the Day: Partnership

March 12, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Officials from across the Homeland Security Department (DHS) stressed the need for strong partnerships during the third and final day of the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference, Washington, D.C.
 

 

Cybersecurity Tentacles Entwine Government

March 11, 2014
By George I. Seffers

It is not surprising that cybersecurity would dominate the discussion on the second day of the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C. But the depth and breadth and variety of topics surrounding cybersecurity and information protection in all its forms indicates the degree to which the information security mission has engulfed every department and agency at all levels of government.

Improving Information Sharing and Interoperability

March 10, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Homeland Security Conference Show Daily, Day 1

Information sharing and interoperability have come a long way since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but challenges still remain, agreed speakers and panelists on the first day of the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

Adm. Thad Allen, USCG, (Ret.), executive vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton and former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, kicked off the discussion as the day’s keynote luncheon speaker. Adm. Allen cited the ever-growing complexity of the modern world as the major challenge for keeping the homeland secure. Whether the complexity of climate change creating havoc during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, the growing complexity of technology wielded by foes or the complications associated with governments working together, the world has grown increasingly convoluted, Adm. Allen illustrated.

“We have to start learning how to raise leaders, operate and be successful in environments that have greater degrees of complexity,” he said. He cited climate change as one example. “You could have a tornadic event 100 years ago in Kansas, and it might be a catastrophic event and result in a loss of life. But looking at the critical infrastructure and population density that we have right now, it certainly takes on a greater degree of complexity, and therefore, the consequences associated with it are more extreme,” the admiral offered. “We’re at a point in this world where there is no significant challenge or crisis that can be handled by one particular agency, one private sector company, one entity, one faith-based organization, because the complexity of these situations demands resources and performance that exceeds traditional boundaries.”

That places a huge premium on being able to “cooperate, collaborate and work in new methods to actually produce results," he said.

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