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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.

Navy to Expand Information Dominance Capabilities

March 6, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Navy is working to incorporate information dominance as a key part of its future warfighting tool kit. As a part of this ongoing effort, the sea service is standing up a new force dedicated to information dominance, which will tap into many cutting edge capabilities such as cyberwarfare and unmanned systems.

The seeds for the current undertaking began when the Navy merged its information dominance capabilities several years ago, said Vice Adm. Ted N. Branch, USN, deputy chief of naval operations and director of naval intelligence. Speaking at an event hosted by AFCEA’s Northern Virginia Chapter on February 21, he noted that the Navy’s advantage in this area comes from its communications and decision making systems—capabilities that help maximize military potential. “Information dominance is about warfighting. It’s about warfighting in the information age,” Adm. Branch shared.

Adm. Branch observed that many personnel in the military, especially those in information dominance roles, do not see themselves as warriors. “But we have many people [among them] who could kill you with a click,” he said.

The Navy is working on expanding its information dominance corps to help define new tactics and techniques for information warfare. But while this group holds promise, Adm. Branch notes that it is still a work in progress. “It’s not cooked yet,” he said.

As a part of these efforts, the Navy will stand up a dedicated information dominance force this October. The service will work with the information dominance board to plan out this process and to move more resources to this force, explained the admiral.

NIE Successes for Small Businesses

February 28, 2014
By Rita Boland

As the U.S. Army’s Network Integration Evaluation continues to build on its positives and address its challenges, progress is being made in acquiring more capability from small business through efforts at the event.

Looking Within and Looking Beyond the Far Horizon

February 14, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Internal change may be the key to managing external change as the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard enter a new era of limited budgets and unlimited global challenges. From research and development to acquisition, these services are looking toward changing methods and technologies to keep the force viable and accomplish their missions. Meanwhile, a range of adversaries continue striving to find and exploit weaknesses in U.S. capabilities and operations.

Technologies Offer Hope for Navy Operations

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is looking to technology to help it fulfill its mission obligations in a time of severe budget constraints. Commercial technologies may provide effective solutions at a fraction of their military counterparts; innovations promise to add advanced capabilities to existing platforms; and new readiness plans may help economize deployments while increasing effectiveness. However, a lot of plans must fall into place for these technologies to take their places in the force.

 

What’s In a Name? Quite a Bit.

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

In the second act of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, musing aloud, the heroine speaks that justly famous line: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” True enough—but The Tragedy of Fred and Juliet lacks a certain zing. Juliet’s lament aside, Shakespeare knew reality. We best remember those items rightly named.

That is as true in the military as any other line of work. And, it has more relevance today in an information age in which credibility often is suspect.

The proper term in Shakespeare’s day did not include operational code names. When the English marched to battle in France, it was known as the Agincourt expedition, or the advance of King Henry V, or the campaign of 1415, or what we did last summer. Of course, Henry’s command and control system consisted of an occasional meeting with a few dukes and a mantra of, “Do as I do.” When Henry moved, the English followed. When he stopped and held ground, his knights and archers did likewise.

But as militaries grew in size and scope—invigorated by messages first horse-borne, then telegraphed, then radioed and now tweeted—any old name for an operation would not do. With apologies to Shakespeare, by the time of the Great War of 1914-18, military plans gained code names—shorthand titles rapidly transmitted, quickly received, immediately understood by those who needed to know and at least potentially confusing to curious enemy listeners. Had it stayed there, all would have been fine.

Modern warfare, however, is not a sport of kings. Waging war today, especially for modern militaries such as the United States’, requires popular support and public funding. As Shakespeare knew well, to keep the audience interested names must do more than identify. You go with Hamlet, Lear and Romeo, not Bill, Joe and Fred. Names must resonate. They need to sell. They have to look good on T-shirts and websites.

Defense and Security In Europe Today

March 1, 2014
By Kent R. Schneider

Even though the Cold War has ended and the monolithic threat against the West has disappeared, the relationship between Europe and the United States remains vital. Europe includes some of the United States’ strongest coalition partners and alliances; the two economies are closely tied and interdependent; and defense and security in Europe are evolving rapidly, just as in the United States. AFCEA chapters and members outside the United States number the greatest in Europe.

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