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National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)

June 9, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

The NNI was launched in 2001 to coordinate the U.S. federal government's nanotechnology research and development. Its mission is to provide a guiding vision for the long term opportunities and benefits of nanotechnology and to serve as a center for communication, cooperation and collaboration between all the participating government agencies. The NNI's home page provides information about federal advisory groups such as the National Science and Technology Council and its Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology subcommittee. Visitors can download the NNI's fiscal year 2009 budget documents and a variety of papers, brochures and reports from the initiative's home page. The site also provides a list of NNI research centers such as the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Visit the site at

Professor Zhong L. Wang's Nano Research Group

June 3, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Nanostructures have a range of applications in electronics and materials research, but before they can be mass-produced, the processes to grow them consistently and accurately must be understood. A part of the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Materials Science, this research group focuses its work on the physical and chemical processes in nanomaterials growth, the unique properties of nanosystems, new measurement techniques and new applications for nanoscale objects. The group's home page features its research on a range of nanostructures such as nanogenerators, nanobows, nanopropellor arrays, nanowire bundles, nanosaws and nanorods. Information about these projects can be downloaded from the site.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

June 2, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

This academic institution is heavily involved in nanotechnology research and hosts the National Science Foundation's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center on its campus. The Institute is especially active with carbon nanotubes-tiny tubelike structures that possess unique physical, thermal and electrical properties. Visitors can learn about integrating nanotubes into electronics, incorporating nanotubes into composite materials for enhanced strength and forming nanotubes into tiny springs, rods and beams for nanomachines.

Visit the site at

Seizing the Future

June 2, 2008
By H. Mosher

This month, Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr. examines transition plans-his favorite, in particular, which is the 500-day plan. He discusses his experience using such a plan at CENTCOM and at DISA, and the benefits of doing so over, say, an 18-month plan or the "typical" five-year strategic plan favored by so many organizations. That leaves us with this month's Incoming question: What transition models are working for your agency or organization? How might the 500-day plan work for you?

Nanoscale Science Research Group (NSRG)

June 2, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Scientists need tools to study, measure and manipulate nanoscale objects. NSRG, a collection of research groups associated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is poised to develop these tools. The NSRG's work explores three areas: nanoscale sciences, biomedical research and tools research. Information is available on a number of the group's projects, such as work on carbon nanotube paddle oscillators-extremely small actuators for optical switching and sensing technologies. The group's biomedical work seeks to develop tiny tools capable of studying and manipulating individual viruses and bacteria. Researchers are also studying biomotors for use in nanostructures. Biomotors are naturally occurring structures in cells that are responsible for muscle contraction and cell division

Michael Yon

May 22, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Michael Yon is an independent journalist writing from Iraq and Afghanistan. Over several years, Yon has been embedded with a number of U.S. and coalition forces and produced riveting on-the-ground accounts of actions against insurgents. Supported entirely through contributions, the site features Yon's news dispatches and links to other news coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan, with the author's comments. The page also includes original articles written by soldiers serving in the region.

eMail Our Military

May 20, 2008
By Rita Boland

Members of the public eager to show troop support can do so through eMail Our Military (eMOM). The organization was created in response to the U.S. Defense Department's cancellation of the "Any Service Member" and "Operation Dear Abby" programs because of security concerns. By using e-mail instead of regular post, eMOM offers a secure method to continue the tradition of troop support with an even more personal touch. Military members sign up with the organization and are matched with civilian registrants. eMOM tries to match up correspondents based on age or interests, but because the goal of the program is to provide moral support to all troops who request it, sometimes those matches are not realized. Scout troop leaders can involve their scouts through a special account created for children. The youngsters can include their e-mail address in their signature block if they want to receive reply messages from deployed military members. Scout leaders should register their addresses because they act as guides for the program. All registrations-individual or group-require a one-time fee of $2. In addition to sending e-mails, eMOM offers other ways for civilians to take action for service members, including getting involved in military support projects, sending an e-message of support, purchasing eMOM's online products, promoting the program in a local area or simply telling a friend about the program. Information about these projects is available on the Web site. Just as eMOM is the next generation of soldier letter-writing programs, the organization is using a new breed of networking to spread the word about troop support.

Identity Assurance Webinar, May 21

May 7, 2008
By H. Mosher

Details have been announced for the next AFCEA Solutions Series webinar, which will be on May 21, 2008, 1-2 p.m. SIGNAL Editor-in-Chief Robert K. Ackerman will moderate the panel, which includes:

Robert Lentz, Director for Information Assurance, OASD NII

Mr. Lentz is the Director for Information Assurance (IA) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Networks and Information Integration/Chief Information Officer. He is the Chief Information Assurance Officer (CIAO) for the Department of Defense (DoD) and oversees the Defense-wide IA Program, which plans, monitors, coordinates, and integrates IA activities across DoD. Mr. Lentz has over 26 years of experience with the National Security Agency (NSA) in the areas of financial management and technical program management.

Mary Dixon, Director, Defense Manpower Data Center, DoD

A charter member of the Senior Executive Service, Ms. Dixon (aka Snavely-Dixon) currently serves as the Director for the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), a field activity reporting to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness).

Morris Hymes, Jr., Director, Program Management Office, DoD PKI

Mr. Hymes has served as the Director Department of Defense (DoD) Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Program Management Office (PMO) since May 2006. Prior to his present assignment, Mr. Hymes served as the Office Chief responsible for formulating Information Assurance Policy at the National Security Agency (NSA).

For more information and to register, click here.

Culture Must Promote Purpose

March 1, 2008
By H. Mosher

Tech-savvy younger workers from Generation Y are accustomed to easy, speedy access to information. In the not-too-distant future, late Boomers and even Generation X workers will have to adapt to the ways that work force culture is changing as a result of this incoming generation's influence. This month's Incoming column examines howrganizations are faced with the challenge to remain relevant, but must do so in a way that makes change a positive asset.

In the column, Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., USAF (Ret.), writes:

In coming years Generation Y will dominate the workplace, and its characteristics will influence and change the culture of the work force. Generation Y is considered a significant attribute to today's global economy-the most diverse and educated generation to date and generally very accepting of different races and ethnicities. This group enjoys opportunities to be creative, collaborative and innovative, and it seeks exciting and challenging experiences. This work force is naturally competitive but focused on meeting mission goals.

While only at the cusp of the advancing technological era, members of Generation Y are "tech savvy," expect access to information and want it with speed and accuracy. This generation is not satisfied with the passive attributes of information sharing. Its members proactively obtain information based on their emergent knowledge and solution requirements. Generation Y also leverages technology to create social networks that embrace open communication. Information originates from vast networks and cyber "networks of networks" of people, most of whom will never meet in person.

Space Telescope Shielding

May 7, 2008
By H. Mosher

The preliminary design of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope sunshield has reached a major milestone. The five-layer shield is the size of a tennis court and is composed of specially coated reflective membranes and a support structure. It is designed to block solar heat to keep the telescope's instruments operating at cryogenic temperatures.

The Webb telescope will feature a mirror that is 21.3 feet in diameter. Because of the large size of the mirror and sunshield, the telescope will be folded to fit into a rocket and will be opened once in space. The telescope will reside in an orbit that is approximately 1 million miles from the Earth and used to explore distant galaxies as well as nearby planets and stars at the near- and mid-infrared wavelengths.

With the preliminary design review of the sunshield now complete, the work on the detailed engineering design of the instrument will now progress toward the scheduled launch in 2013. Northrop Grumman Corporation's space technology sector, prime contractor for the telescope, built the sunshield under a design and development contract from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.


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