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Defense Department IG Launches Campaign on Whistleblower Rights for Contractors

July 17, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Department’s Office of the Inspector General launched Thursday a social media and poster campaign to spread the word of whistleblower protections afforded to defense contractors and subcontractors.

U.S. Marines Assess Robotic Systems in Jungle Environment

July 16, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab wraps up experiments testing multiple systems, including robots, radios and ship-to-shore transporters in Hawaii.

Software Programs Aid Intelligence Analysts In Hunt for the Enemy

July 16, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Where human analysis might fail in the intelligence community, technological solutions are at the ready to fill the void. Companies are ginning up software programs that can prove to be key for intelligence analysts as they track the bad guys—be they insider threats or an outside enemy.

Army, Navy Hardware Influence Air Force Satellite Links

July 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

When the U.S. Air Force needed a new secure satellite communications system, one company was able to show up at the starting line with an 80 percent solution based on an existing product line serving the Army and the Navy.

How the Marine Corps Uses Predictive Analysis and Modeling

August 1, 2014
By James Smerchansky

Q: How does the Marine Corps use predictive analysis and modeling to identify affordable technical alternatives throughout a program's life cycle?

A: The Marine Corps is using a model-based systems approach and a variety of technologies to improve the entire acquisition process.

Defense Department weapon systems typically have a large number of requirements with different and competing relationships. These relationships are often difficult to identify and may remain unknown before system development and integration. Modeling tools provide the department with the capability to better understand the relationships between cost, schedule, risk and performance before requirements are finalized and major costs are incurred. Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), as the Department of the Navy’s systems command for Marine Corps ground weapon and information technology system programs, is transitioning from a document-based, sequential systems-engineering approach to a model-based engineering approach to better understand and inform requirements prior to major milestones and contract awards. The foundation for this transformation has been the implementation of model-based systems engineering based on the application of the Systems Modeling Language (SysML). MCSC developed a unique SysML-based tool, the Framework for Assessing Cost and Technology (FACT), which allows concurrent tradespace analysis and incorporates the technological advantages of a model-based engineering approach to acquisition.

FACT is a government-owned, Web-based tool that provides the framework to integrate disparate data and models into a single-decision support environment that permits concurrent engineering and cost analysis. It allows for near real-time first- and second-order assessments of the impacts on cost of requirements, design and performance changes.

We Really Have a Failure to Communicate

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

Recent reverses in Iraq and Afghanistan have led some experts, both appointed and self-designated, to complain that the facts on the ground may be bad enough—and they are—but far worse is the ignorance of the U.S. citizenry on what supposedly is really at stake in sand-blasted Mesopotamia or on the stony heights of the Hindu Kush.

The Future of Modeling and Simulation for U.S. Army Tactical Networks


August 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center has created a system to streamline testing, rid unneeded and redundant analysis and even eliminate duplicative spending. The new system addresses the challenge of how technological advances to some Army tactical equipment have outpaced improvements program managers can use to test changes to equipment before fielding.

It is all part of the up-and-coming Modeling, Emulation, Simulation Tool for Analysis (MODESTA), touted by Army officials as a holistic tactical modeling and simulation program used to test the functionality and compatibility of future technologies either with each other or with legacy systems. It provides a large-scale, tactical network analysis environment so engineers and analysts can conduct realistic, operational scenarios on live hardware, such as tactical radios, routers or satellite dishes. “As all of these network nodes are moving around on the battlespace, it becomes quite complex,” says Dan Duvak, the division chief at the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). “So a system-of-systems approach, and an early systems engineering approach to tackling new technologies and how they work with existing technologies in the field, is really what we’re getting after.”

It Might Be Virtual, But It Is Not a Game

August 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Virtual training for U.S. Army soldiers advanced in both capability and fidelity recently with the release of Virtual Battle Space 3. Designed for units at the company level or below, its flexibility makes it applicable to the range of Army missions, reducing costs and logistics needs for users.

Tag Teaming Big Data

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Two closely related science and technology programs aim to improve image location and search capabilities, saving intelligence analysts significant time and effort.

Data Restrictions Cause Europe to Lag in Research Efforts

August 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Mining big data for salient information points presents a plethora of challenges, but in Europe a different issue with the action has emerged as a concern. Regulations prohibiting researchers and others from searching through the data in certain documents are putting countries on the continent at a competitive disadvantage in a number of fields, studies are revealing. With several economies there already in dire straits, the legal encumbrances could add to difficulties in improving financial situations.

The report, “Standardisation in the Area of Innovation and Technological Development, Notably in the Field of Text and Data Mining” lays out the problems of restricting mining in texts. It explains that because text- and data-mining technology is relatively affordable, it is available even to individual and small-organization researchers. The document was produced by an expert group appointed by the European Commission. That government body or its departments establish these groups to provide advice and expertise. They include at least six public- and/or private-sector members who meet more than once.

The personnel chosen for this particular task write in their report that “There is growing recognition that we are at the threshold of the mass automation of service industries (automation of thinking) comparable with the robotic automation of manufacturing production lines (automation of muscle) in an earlier era. [Text and data mining] will be widely used to provide insights in the redesign of this digital services economy. When it comes to the deployment of [text and data mining], there are worrying signs that European researchers may be falling behind, especially with regard to researchers in the United States.”

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