It is hard to resist the Big Brother analogy to describe law enforcement agencies' use of new technologies for catching lawbreakers. From thermal scanners that monitor the amount of heat emanating from a suspect's house to hidden cameras that catch red-light runners to software that leads to the capture of cybercriminals, new capabilities have brought with them new privacy questions.
Unified military operations are leading to a redistribution of intelligence functions as the U.S. Defense Department transitions into a network-centric world. Sensors and shooters once belonged to the same family of operators. Now, sensing, analysis and dissemination of intelligence information are moving into a realm apart from the weapons delivery process.
Few things on Earth go unnoticed by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. So, when the landscape of national security changed in the 1990s, it saw the beginning of the end for a long-established corporate culture. The once highly secretive organization has since restructured itself by dramatically increasing its research and development efforts and aggressively enlisting services from the commercial sector. These changes reflect a general trend toward consolidating space-based observation assets within the intelligence community.
The U.S. Defense Department is seeking industry input on the design of the next generation of airborne signals intelligence systems. The joint effort, which involves the services, a defense agency and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, is known as the Joint Airborne Signals Intelligence Architecture Standards Working Group. It will build on past defense and industry successes to create the next version of the signals intelligence architecture document. The group is led by the National Security Agency and projects publication of version 2.0 in early 2002.
A fast-moving squad of government and industry computer security experts is preparing to swing into action. This computer-security-expert assist team is structured to support federal government agencies by providing ways to protect information technology systems and networks. The team's core will be industry members who are proficient in identifying and alleviating complex information system and infrastructure vulnerabilities.
Arms sales in Southeast Asia are returning to levels that existed prior to the region's 1997 financial crash. Procurement plans that had been frozen because of the economic turmoil have been reactivated as area nations seek to acquire items such as military aircraft, communications systems and warships. Although these purchases reflect steady improvement in a number of national economies, some countries remain gripped by fiscal and political crises.
Almost 50 years after the end of the Korean War, Korea remains one of the world's flash points-a place where the flames of the Cold War have yet to be fully extinguished. Although progress has been made during the recent North-South summit in Korea, North Korea still maintains one of the largest forward-deployed armies in the world. Its offensive posture, coupled with its recent development of ballistic missiles, lethal special operations forces and weapons of mass destruction, causes the Korean peninsula to be very volatile.
While various Internet consumer privacy protection bills steadily make their way through U.S. congressional committees, businesses are taking a stab at self-governance. The work is based on the premise that commercial relationships demand trust, and the best way to gain customers' trust is to assure consumers that the information they provide, both automatically and intentionally, will not be shared without their permission. However, unless Web site visitors read published privacy policies, they may not be aware of how much of their personal data can be shared or sold.
The decision to assume the helm of AFCEA International was one I made very easily. This is a prestigious organization with an honorable mission and an exciting future, both of which would present anyone with a strong sense of opportunity.