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Start Thinking About Cloud and Spectrum Together

July 1, 2014
By Kent R. Schneider

Virtualization and cloud implementation are critical components of information technology planning, acquisition and management going forward. Cloud implementations are important to security, efficiency, effectiveness, cost savings and more pervasive information sharing, particularly among enterprises.

Be Advised

July 1, 2014
By Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, USA (Ret.)

You don’t hear much old-school military radio traffic anymore. Except for a few front-line radio nets, most radio chatter has been replaced by the endless, silent interplay of text messages, emails and Web postings. With that shift, we have lost an entire dialect of martial radio-speak.

Ask the Expert: Government and Industry Support for STEM

July 1, 2014
By Adam Clayton Powell III

Q: Why is it important for government and industry to advance K-12 STEM education innovations in the United States 
today, and what can they do to improve that education?

A: Industry and government support is crucial to help the United States become a leader in K-12 STEM education—and they can leverage a key tool that is already in hand.

There is consensus in the United States that we do not produce enough scientists and engineers. And there is consensus in the United States that this can be remedied by strengthening K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. But to upgrade STEM education—and to broaden its appeal to a larger number of students—government and industry must work together to upgrade our education system, which we agree is not working adequately.

The data is clear: American students do not perform as well in math and science as students in many other countries. For the present, the United States is remedying this weakness in part by attracting high-performing high school graduates from other countries to study at U.S. universities. Many of those students will stay in the United States after graduation, U.S. visa policy permitting, becoming a key part of the next generation of engineers, scientists and educators. But this de facto method of addressing our weakness in STEM education may not be sustainable in an era when governments, industries and universities in other parts of the world are making ever more attractive offers for their citizens to return home after earning their degrees here.

Strengthening K-12 education will meet several critical and urgent U.S. national goals:

It will meet the needs of the U.S. government, including and especially national security. From cybersecurity to intelligence, U.S. national security will become ever more reliant on expertise that only STEM fields can provide.

Military Seeks Industry Help to Manage Spectrum Use

July 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Department is putting crucial emphasis on fresh ideas from private industry as it shapes the task of better managing the electromagnetic spectrum needed to assemble mission-tailored capabilities to meet military leaders’ needs—all the while coming under federal pressure to possibly renounce valuable wireless frequencies for commercial use.

Defense Spectrum Community Aims for National Strategy

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Defense Department officials intend to complete a departmentwide spectrum strategy road map this month, which will make more frequencies available to warfighters, provide greater flexibility—especially for international operations—and ultimately allow warfighters to conduct their missions more effectively. At the same time, however, some are suggesting a nationwide strategy to allow for more innovative and effective spectrum management and sharing across government and industry.

The Defense Department released its spectrum strategy in February to address the ever-increasing demand for wireless spectrum to achieve national security goals. That strategy largely was written by personnel within the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Defense Spectrum Organization (DSO) in coordination with the office of the chief information officer for the Defense Department. Now, the two offices are working on a road map for implementing the strategy.

Concurrently, some are recommending development of a comprehensive, nationwide strategy for spectrum management affecting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and all other agencies as well as the commercial sector. “What we have is a spectrum structure within the United States that was first created by the Telecommunications Act of 1934. We have created a pretty rigid system. What we’re pushing for through our spectrum strategy are changes and innovative ways to operate spectrum,” says Stuart Timerman, DSO director. “We would like to see that adopted nationally to have a national spectrum strategy where the FCC, NTIA and all of the federal agencies and commercial industry would plan for the future.”

Military Trolls for Disruptive Technologies

July 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The next big breakthrough to affect the U.S. military might come from a different country or industry altogether, and discovering it in emerging stages could provide advantages. Developers with the Defense Department have launched a pilot system that aims to find these potential game changers before they become full-blown trends. Along the way, the research will explore what criteria are necessary to perform such a task.

This system rolled out earlier in the year as part of the advancement of the Technology Watch and Horizon Scanning programs—two complementary efforts designed to identify emerging technologies but from different angles. The former tracks key technology buzzwords while the latter looks for emerging scientific concepts and technology applications with disruptive potential. The capabilities these projects seek to detect might be outside the defense realm or might have been previously considered too immature to have much relevance to the technical landscape. The researchers for these programs look more at the science and technology facets of a project than at the application-space adaptation.

The initiatives, which began two years ago, aim to identify emerging technologies that improve the work force or infrastructure, or that have potential enough to lead the department to sponsor research in new areas. “I mean those systems that change or could potentially change the way we do business,” says Brian Beachkofski, director, Office of Technical Intelligence for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering. What the military wants are developments that could alter operational constructs, not upgrade plug-and-play capabilities, he adds.

Commercial Geospatial Processing Goes Underwater

July 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy submarine force is moving to use a commercial geospatial information product to provide an integrated data picture to its crew members. The undersea fleet is striving to implement Google Earth as a common geospatial foundation across all systems aboard its submarines.

Network Complexities Challenge Army, Force Structure Changes

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The complexities of the U.S. Army’s networks and spectrum allocation processes interfere with the need to reassign units to different tasks, creating major delays and presenting serious challenges.

A Eureka Moment Looms for Wearable Army Technology

July 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Army engineers and scientists are working to eventually equip dismounted soldiers with wearable computers such as Google Glass. The up-and-coming wearables technology is being touted by officials as one of the next game-changers for warriors.

Defense Strives to Find Breakthrough Technological Advantages

July 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Officials across the U.S. Defense Department are pushing to identify and develop the disruptive technologies that will offer orders-of-magnitude advantages on the battlefield. But while bringing such capabilities to fruition is difficult, even determining what qualifies as disruptive represents a challenge. As personnel wrestle with definitions, they are forging ahead with their creative ideas.

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