A new generation of autonomous, problem-solving robots will soon be entering commercial service. Recent advances in computer processing power have allowed researchers to design prototype machines that can navigate in unfamiliar surroundings unassisted. Using a variety of sensors, the robot creates a constantly updated three-dimensional map as it goes through its routine. It is this self-navigation that is finally placing mobile robotic systems on the verge of commercial viability, scientists say.
Ken Dahlberg sometimes likens his burgeoning high-technology business to a high-speed ride at a Disney theme park. No, he is not being sarcastic-far from it.
In just six years, Dahlberg's information systems and technology (IS&T) group at General Dynamics has become one of the largest and most respected outfits selling technology services to the nation's defense and civilian agencies.
U.S. Defense Department science and technology investment is transcending the requirements model of the past in a shift from threat-based to capabilities-based thinking. While researchers are examining areas such as avionics, materials and nanotechnology, military leaders are exploring how cutting-edge developments can move more quickly from the laboratory to the field.
During the past 18 months, the topic of security has been explored in the pages of SIGNAL Magazine in dozens of articles and in at least a half dozen commentaries. Security also has been a priority for AFCEANs worldwide whose responsibilities range from ensuring network security to offering professional training, to enforcing disciplines and compliance and investing in technology. We know that we must set the bar very high and demonstrate that intrusions or disruptions of our networks is not an option. As information technology professionals, we recognize that security is a social, legal, technical and cultural issue and are working hard to cover all the bases.
An increasing emphasis on information security is prompting experts in the technology industry to follow the lead of the medical and legal professions, which feature a system of specialties and subspecialties. One major accreditation organization is taking a closer look at the government sector and addressing the distinct circumstances of information security specialists in that arena. Once specific issues are identified, they could affect the certification process as well as influence public policy.
A review of U.S. Defense Department information systems using a code analysis process has found no evidence of deliberate infusion of vulnerabilities into applications, but it has found instances of bad coding practices and programmer shortcuts that have left systems open to attack. The vulnerabilities found would not have been easily detected by an outside source, but they were open doors for an insider who wished to exploit them. The systems were hosted on extremely critical networks where a breach could have catastrophic consequences.
One of the key factors inhibiting the growth of the wireless fidelity market is security. The attractive wireless technology that offers a wide range of applications also is generating a wave of uncertainty about the fidelity of its connectivity.
U.S. Army communications facilities in Okinawa, Japan, are using an automated alarm management system to monitor legacy equipment that is not interoperable. Consisting of an easily installed remote unit and management software, the system permits administrators to control multiple proprietary devices from a single on-screen interface.
Future U.S. Air Force combat missions will see the widespread use of nontraditional tactics designed to end a campaign quickly with a minimum of casualties and damage. By embracing these methods, the service moves toward effects-based operations where success is measured by an enemy's decreased warfighting capabilities or outright capitulation rather than by counting casualties and destroyed equipment.
New technologies that increase the ability to process and enhance text documents are giving a badly needed boost to intelligence experts fighting terrorists and their weapons of mass destruction. Many of these technologies are being employed overseas on the battlegrounds of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as in the pursuit of terrorists in other countries.