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CENTCOM Leader Outlines Problems and Solutions

March 5, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

TechNet Tampa 2009 wrapped up with a keynote address by Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood, USA, chief of staff, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). The general impressed upon the audience the importance of communications to all CENTCOM's efforts which involve work in almost all the countries in the command's area of operation, not only Iraq and Afghanistan. Communications are so necessary that to the command staff, a broken video teleconference connection is more of a problem than a broken rifle. Even the boots on the ground who use a rifle every day depend on reliable communications.

The general stated that one of his command's needs is to increase the ability of ground troops to communicate on the move and over the horizon. Small units especially need these capabilities. One way operators are handling the issue is through Netted Iridium. "The Iridium network is now being leveraged [for] push-to-talk radios," Gen. Hood said. Another major problem in the CENTCOM area is the lack of communications infrastructure. This hinders current communications, negatively affects CENTCOM's ability to develop host nation security forces that are interoperable with the United States and others, and decreases information sharing capabilities. Gen. Hood explained that the infrastructure leading to theater is better than what is in theater, but those pathways need to be improved as well. Progress is being made in places like Afghanistan, where investment in infrastructure has led to an increase from a few hundred cellular telephones in that country a few years ago to more than 8 million being used today.

DISA Director Has Two Hats and a No-Fail Mission

March 5, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Lt. Gen. Carroll F. Pollett, USA, the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) made sure at the beginning of his keynote address that listeners understood he holds a dual leadership role in his current position. In addition to leading DISA, he also is the commander of the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO). Gen. Pollett went on to explain that the two organizations he commands are linked, with DISA delivering enterprise capabilities and the JTF-GNO operating and defending the enterprise.

DISA and the JTF-GNO are working to operationalize  the cyberspace domain and empower warfighters to achieve information dominance. He explained that technology should not be looked at as a solution for leadership but as a way to enable the human element. The general also stated "I have a no-fail mission. I have no flexibility." To succeed in his endeavors, he is looking for a change from an application mentality to a service mentality, and he has no interest in proprietary systems.

One of the general's top priorities is command and control (C2). To enable C2 through information sharing he says programs such as Net-Enabled Command Capability and Net-Centric Enterprise Services are critical. The director is focused on becoming familiar with the requirements of all the programs at DISA, dedicating five hours a week to talking with his GS-15s and military colonels about their requirements and the operational aspects of their programs. Gen. Pollett's goal is to address senior leadership with requirement adjustments when there are problems or to find ways to deliver capabilities to warfighters when something works well.

Commission Assesses Cyberspace and Recommends Security Measures

March 5, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

This morning at TechNet Tampa 2009, Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege, Jr., USAF (Ret.), a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, presented findings and recommendations from the commission's report Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency, released last December.  The report had three major findings: cybersecurity is now a major national security problem for the United States; decisions and actions must respect privacy and personal liberties; and only a comprehensive national security strategy that embraces domestic and international aspects of cyberspace will improve the situation.

The commission made 25 recommendations for improving cyberspace operations, several of which Gen. Raduege discussed in his presentation. These include creating a Comprehensive National Security Strategy for Cyberspace; partnering with the private sector; regulating cybersecurity; using acquisition rules to improve security; revising the Federal Information Security Management Act; conducting training for cybereducation and workforce development; and conducting research and development.

Changes are necessary to improve the state of cyberspace today. Gen. Raduege said estimates put the loss of intellectual property in cyberspace each year at $1 trillion. Other problems incude the breach of 45,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees' information last month. In addition, cyberattacks against the United States and other countries continue to increase, resulting in sensitive information being stolen and comprised.

The commission's complete report can be downloaded at http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,5157/.

Intelligence Community Flattens Networks

March 5, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Leadership from the intelligence and special operations communities discussed flattening networks to better conduct operations today during an unclassified intelligence panel this morning. Moderator Konrad Trautman, director of intelligence (J2), U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), opened the discussion by emphasizing the importance of collaboration and reachback capabilities not only within the military intelligence community, but with partner organizations as well.

Raytheon Awarded $11 Million Option for Patriot Missile Facilities

March 6, 2009
By Katie Packard

Raytheon Company has been awarded $11.4 million to support Patriot missile facilities during 2009. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, issued the additional funding as an option under a three-year contract previously awarded to Raytheon. This add-on award brings the value of the contract to $35.5 million.

GIG 2.0 Provides Framework for One Global Network

March 4, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, USN, director, J6, The Joint Staff, provided an overview of Global Information Grid (GIG) 2.0, an effort to reduce barriers to information sharing. With cyber now an official warfighting domain, the military has to figure out how to navigate in that domain where networks are platforms and information is a payload. Adm. Brown says there are too many networks and GIG 2.0 is a framework to bring together service intranets to act as one global network.

Lt. Gen. Kearney Explains His Communications Frustrations

March 4, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney III, USA, deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, shared frustrations he has with communications during a speech at TechNet Tampa, and told industry members how they can help. His first frustration is the lack of data exposure capabilities, which he illustrated by explaining the problems inherent in military medical records. The U.S. Defense Department and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) use two different systems, making it impossible for the VA to access the active duty records of service members without someone bringing information in on a desk or on paper.

Gen. Kearney's second frustration is the inability for leaders to command and control from anywhere. Technology prevents decision makers from accessing the communications they need at any place, anytime. The third item on the general's list is the absence of a Global Sensor Network. In that, the general envisions a single network with redundant communications and a single workstation. This network will help make information on the ground more transparent  to operators.

The final two frustrations the general voiced are the need for permanent infrastructure in the U.S. Central Command area of operation and the impact of Web 2.0 on the military. The military should take better advantage of new media offerings, but security is still an obstacle. Gen. Kearney appealed to industry for assistance. "We're on the edge of change, but you have to help us," he said.  

Gen. Kearney said that industry partners can play an important role in improving military communications through their technical developments and through sharing knowledge they already possess with the military.

Military Needs to Break Communication Barriers

March 4, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The C4 Panel Session, "Breaking Down Barriers: Enabling a True Enterprise Network," addressed the ongoing efforts and need within the military to break down barriers in information sharing.

TechNet Tampa Matters for Troops and Their Families

March 4, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Senior Master Sgt. of the Army (Ret.) Jack Tilley opened TechNet Tampa in a manner that deviated from the norm. Instead of relying on people's intellects and addressing the what and how of actions, he appealed to attendees' feelings to address the why. The retired senior master sergeant told several stories about troops killed and injured in action during Vietnam as well as current operations, impressing upon listeners the importance of using their time at the conference well.

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