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What Challenges Does the Future Force Face?

June 18, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Attempting to look into a crystal ball to determine the challenges future joint forces will face, Wednesday morning's panelists discussed changing threats, changing enemies and the ways the joint force will have to change to address them. One major change has been the U.S. shift from supremacy in the battlefield and national security to the quest for dominance in these areas. While supremacy is designed, dominance may be the best we can achieve and will be enough, the panelists agreed.

Lt. Gen. Valcourt: Training and Recruitment Are Key

June 18, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

The first speaker today at the Joint Warfighting Conference shared insights with another packed crowd. Lt. Gen. David P. Valcourt, USA, deputy commanding general and chief of staff, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, talked about why the U.S. needs to become land dominant in warfighting once again. To do so will require a change in training. This already is going on as the land forces become trained not only in warfare but also in how to handle stability operations. This requires education about languages as well as cultures, the general stated.

How Can We Fix the Defense Acquisition Process?

June 18, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

The Honorable Jacques S. Gansler, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, opened the afternoon panel by identifying what he perceives as the problems facing the military's acquisition community. The top two identifiable problems, he said, were that IT systems cost too much and the acquisition process takes too long. A third issue is that the U.S. military is not what he considers "world class" in terms of logistics support. He complimented current military leadership for admitting that the services are buying last-century systems when it should be looking at systems 21st century missions.

Gansler also said that he believes the military will be facing a fiscal crisis during the next few years. "I would project a slight decline in the top number next year. How are we going to be able to solve that problem as the budgets shrink, as the supplementals disappear? That's the dilemma that I see happening," he said.

"Where do we start to fix this system?" Gansler asked. First, the military must think in terms of systems for requirements-joint and multinational. "We are not organized to do that. We are platform-oriented still, and it's still a service-oriented platform." The military must not only request but demand and implement spiral development, he added, saying that many in the commercial sector do not want to do business with the military because of all of its requirements.

Many panelists agreed that information technology itself may offer the solution to the acquisition problems the military faces. It can be used to introduce efficiencies into the process as well as document best practices from industry that can help the military address its key issues.

Listen to the panel session here (mp3 link):

Adm. Stavridis: Think, Read, Write and Publish

June 17, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN, commander, U.S. Southern Command, stepped away from the traditional IT conference speech after lunch today by talking about the need for everyone to think, read, write and publish. While it may be necessary during the 21st century to launch Tomahawk missiles, Adm. Stavridis proposed that it will be just as important for members of the military to launch some ideas.

How Do the Services Ensure They Are Dominant - Relevant - Ready in the Joint Domain?

June 17, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Members of the first panel of the morning presented their own service views about dominance, relevance and readiness in the joint domain. Several common themes emerged as areas that are challenging to each of the armed forces as well as the Coast Guard. All of the military leaders agreed that the level of complexity has increased significantly since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and operations began in the Global War on Terrorism.

DOD Capabilities for the 21st Century: Dominant - Relevant - Ready?

June 17, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Speaking to a packed room at the opening of the Joint Warfighting conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Lt. Gen. John R. Wood, USA, deputy commander, JFCOM, pointed out that the question posed by this conference is apropos. While the U.S. military has made much progress in bringing the joint force together, it is now time to take a serious look at how well the services are doing in this area.

Webinar July 16: Securing a Highly Available Infrastructure

June 14, 2008
By H. Mosher

SIGNAL continues its webinar series on July 16, 2008, 12 noon ET, with Securing a Highly Available Infrastructure. The webinar will feature William F. Clark, VP, Technical Sales and Public Sector CTO, CA, Inc., discussing how you build and operate a secure, federated, authenticated, connected world and still have a life? DoD IT organizations face an increasingly complex set of challenges around information sharing, security, SLAs, industry standards and mandates.

This Webinar will address two important and intertwined concepts:

1. Enabling secure access to critical applications, information, and services across disparate enterprises.
2. Providing a solid foundation for reliable federation and information exchange.

You'll hear about best practices and real-world examples from a federation expert and IT specialist who has 30 years of experience across multiple government and business sectors.

For more information and to register, click here.

Direct Hit Quotes for June

June 9, 2008
By H. Mosher

From June's SIGNAL Today, some interesting quotes from the June issue of SIGNAL Magazine.

"Going through one wall is not that bad, but a building is basically an RF hall of mirrors. You've got signals bouncing all over the place." - Dr. Edward J. Baranoski, Visibuilding program manager,
in Sensor Technology Opens New Horizons

"The Web is worse than the wild, wild West in terms of what's out there. At the rate things are going, we may lose the ability to have a networked world unless we develop tools for much better security."- Dave Bishop, chief technology officer and chief operating officer of LGS Innovations, in Innovators Imagine Communications Far Down the Road

"We truly see different types of attacks when we're doing our research. Sometimes we're really impressed with the sophistication that just indicates the talent on the other side."- Yuval Ben-Itzak, chief technology officer, Finjan Incorporated, in Web 2 the Danger Zone

Also from SIGNAL Today this month, our featured image of the month:

Joint tactics training exercise

U.S. Marine Maj. John Naylor, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Dibenepetto and U.S. Marine Master Sgt. Mark Cain work on sending data links of radar information to U.S. aircraft at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

CharityWorks Partners With Fisher House

June 6, 2008
By Rita Boland

CharityWorks, an organization in the Washington, D.C., area that fundraises for nonprofits, has partnered with Fisher House to raise money for the construction of the new Fisher House at the Washington, D.C., Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The house will have 16,000 square feet and 21 guest suites. The goal is to raise $2 million by the end of September. The selection of Fisher House as this year's charity marks the first time a partner was unanimously selected by the advisory board and membership of CharityWorks. The main fundraising event will be the CharityWorks Dream Ball on September 27 at the National Building Museum. Other funds come from personal and corporate donations. CharityWorks keeps administrative costs to a minimum, and 100 percent of all online donations go to the partner nonprofit. Computer Sciences Corporation is the host sponsor this year, and the chief executive officer of ManTech International and his wife are leading the fundraising campaign. Both organizations have made major contributions, have launched employee giving campaigns and are reaching out to industry peers. Other Honor Guard donors (those who pledge more than $100,000) include BAE Systems, Bearing Point, L-3 Communications, Fisher Brothers, Freddie Mac and Freddie Mac Foundation. CharityWorks also is hosting an invitation-only Housewarming Party for the new Fisher House at the Fisher Houses at Bethesda Naval Station Hospital in an effort to gather items needed for inside the facility. In addition, CharityWorks will have Booth 631 at the AFCEA Joint Warfighting Conference to raise awareness of the campaign for Fisher House and to invite participants to learn more about how they can support the effort.

IBM Research

June 10, 2008
By H. Mosher

A longtime leader in computer and electronics research, IBM is committed to furthering nanotechnology research. The goal of the company's work is to develop new atomic and molecular-scale structures and devices to enhance information technologies. The IBM home page offers links highlighting a number of projects such as bionanotechnology, materials characterization and tools, nanoelectronics, nanomaterials and self-assembly, nanomechanics, and quantum coherent systems. Two examples of the firm's research are self-organizing nanocrystals that can be formed into thin-films and organic thin-film transistors that can be used in applications such as electronic paper, print circuitry and displays.


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