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China Destroyer Consolidates Innovations, Other Ship Advances

December 1, 2013
By James C. Bussert

A new destroyer being deployed by China offers improvements in technology that rival those of the newest destroyers being built for the U.S. Navy. Its advances include phased array radars and improved missiles and launch systems. With room to grow, this ship seems destined to play a significant role in naval operations.

Nanowire Sensor Detects Minute Amounts of Explosives, Chemicals

December 1, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

A prototype nanotechnology-based sensor offers the possibility for ubiquitous, networked, real-time chemical agent detection and tracking. By using easily produced super-small components, the devices potentially can be installed in a variety of devices, such as smartphones, robots or commercial appliances.

Nanowire-Based Memory Technology Records Movement, Pressure

December 1, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

Physical movement stored as memory in a microchip could lead to advances in touch screens, robot control devices and medical implants. Researchers are arraying nanowires on a microchip to form a write-read memory cell as part of ongoing work that could convert motions, such as a hand in a glove or pressing a display, into memory. Moving or putting pressure on the nanowires creates an electrical current that can be read and recorded as memory. Arrays of such cells offer the potential for a variety of user interface applications and for new ways to convert mechanical or biological actions into electronic data.

Developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), the piezoelectrically modulated resistive memory (PRM) system relies on the piezoelectric effect, where some materials, in this case zinc oxide nanowires, will generate electrical current when they are put under pressure or moved, which causes them to temporarily bend or deform. Piezoelectric materials also create mechanical strain (movement) when they are exposed to an electric current. PRM technology allows the creation of a new type of transistor that is switched on or off through movement or mechanical activity, explains Zhong Lin Wang, regents professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Material Science and Engineering in Atlanta.

Current memory systems, such as flash memory, are mainly if not entirely electronic, Wang says. But PRM technology allows the direct writing of electrical or optical memory through physical means. “Once you introduce the piezoelectric effect into the memory, you talk about the memory of strain and stress,” Wang notes.

Nano Looms as the Next Pervasive Technology

December 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

Nanotechnology is the new cyber, according to several major leaders in the field. Just as cyber is entrenched across global society now, nano is poised to be the major capabilities enabler of the next decades. Expert members from the National Nanotechnology Initiative representing government and science disciplines say nano has great significance for the military and the general public.

According to the initiative, its aim is to move discoveries from the laboratory into products for commercial and public benefit; encourage students and teachers to become involved in nanotechnology education; create a skilled work force and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology; and support responsible development. The initiative involves more than two dozen government agencies, industry, academic partners and international participants.

Dr. Mihail Roco is the main architect and founding chair of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). In addition to that work, he sits on various committees and serves as the senior adviser for nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Having helped advance the field to its current point, he predicts that in the next five to 10 years the focus will shift to application. Because of improved tools for more accurate measurement and control at the nanoscale level, he foresees more economical development of nanotechnology. “We’ll be able to understand and build robust solutions,” he states. Most solutions now are based on assumptions and trial and error. For these reasons, they are still expensive, he adds.

Radioisotope Research 
May Revolutionize 
Battlefield Batteries

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Army researchers are developing batteries powered by radioisotopes that could last for decades, or longer. The long-lived power sources could lighten the logistics load on the battlefield and energize sensors and communications nodes for extended periods, offering enhanced situational awareness and opening up operational options for warfighters that do not exist today.

Navy Artificial Intelligence Aids Actionable Intelligence

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

To ease the load on weary warfighters inundated with too much information, U.S. Navy scientists are turning to artificial intelligence and cognitive reasoning technologies. Solutions that incorporate these capabilities could fill a broad array of roles, such as sounding the alarm when warfighters are about to make mistakes.

Littoral 
Combat Ship 
Loaded With 
Unmanned
 Systems

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy intends to deploy an arsenal of airborne, surface and underwater unmanned systems for its new shallow-water combat ship. The array of unmanned systems will extend the ship’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, enhancing awareness of enemy activities, and will reduce the number of sailors deployed to minefields, saving lives.

DISA to Roll Out Unclassified and Classified Mobile Capabilities, App Store

November 26, 2013
By Jim Sweeney

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) expects to have its Defense Department Mobile Unclassified Capability (DMUC) ready for initial operational capability in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. Dr. Jennifer Carter, DISA’s component acquisition executive, said she expects 100,000 users in fiscal 2014 and “well beyond” that number after 2014. The DMUC will support multiple devices and carriers, she noted.

Speaking at the Mobile Technologies Symposium of the AFCEA Washington, D.C., Chapter, Carter also said the initial operational capability of the Defense Department Mobile Classified Capability (DMCC) is expected to roll out in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. Currently, DISA has more than 200 users in a classified device pilot, she reported.

Defense mobile users also will have an app store available soon, likely in the second quarter of fiscal 2014. Carter said that DISA is working with the services on an app vetting process with the goal of not duplicating the approval process.

The agency has made progress in mobility programs in the past year, Carter noted, adding that it now supports 80,000 devices.

DISA also is looking at its options for Common Access Card enablement for mobile devices. Carter said this is an area where the agency needs more ideas and solutions from industry. The Defense Department requires solutions that simplify authentication and are user friendly while at the same time being secure and affordable. Carter added that DISA wants to streamline the review process for apps, hardware and operating systems.

Developmental UUVs Offer Offense, Defense From Anywhere

November 25, 2013
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Navy is expanding its autonomous subsurface fleet with the introduction of a platform designed for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as offensive capabilities.

Threat Grows for Cyber-Physical Systems

November 21, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The critical infrastructure must address cyberthreats in a manner different from that of conventional information technology systems.

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