Dramatic changes are swirling around tactical ground communications. These offer many opportunities, even as they are sure to leave frustrated soldiers in harm’s way carrying too much weight, with too little spectrum and not enough interoperability. Overcoming these obstacles is industry’s purview, and it can make a difference.
Tragedy can bring opportunity—in this case, to help save lives and reconstruct nations using the communications and information sharing tools that are the strengths of AFCEA’s members. Shame on us if we squander it.
Despite the suffering wrought by January’s earthquake in Haiti, the crisis showed how innovative knowledge sharing could dramatically improve public-private, whole-of-government and transnational performance in stressed environments. It is up to us to turn these into lasting effects.
The U.S. government is systematically missing opportunities to contribute to stability, reconstruction and development around the world. These goals are achievable by leveraging reliable communications, enabled by stable power, to provide capabilities and services that local populations value and can sustain with their own resources.
What does the United States need to make its efforts in Afghanistan successful? According to Dr. Linton Wells II, the answer is sharing unclassified information.
SIGNAL welcomes Dr. Linton Wells II as the new Incoming columnist.
Improving the way we share unclassified information is essential to the success of the president’s strategy for Afghanistan. The reason is straightforward: The United States and its coalition partners must engage effectively with the populations they are trying to influence to achieve the social, political and economic goals for which their military forces have been committed. In Afghanistan, these populations include governments at various levels, security forces, businesses and the Afghan people. Unclassified information is the path to most of these audiences. It also is a key channel for them to help us understand their needs and the knowledge they have.
Does the term "social media" turn people off from the power of these collaborative tools? Christopher Dorobek suggests so in this month's Incoming column, "The War on Social Media."
The intelligence community has been leading the government pack in its collaboration efforts. Christopher Dorobek points to 9/11 and other examples to show how government realized it needed a better way to collect, process and share intelligence data in this month's Incoming column, "The Intelligence Community Writes the Book on Collaboration."
Change is never easy, and that is particularly true in government. When it comes to collaboration, it is the intelligence community that has been evolving and testing its own boundaries.
The U.S. Defense Department's performance management system needs to be completely rebuilt, according to a task group assigned to evaluate the National Security Personnel System. Christopher Dorobek explains the problems with the NSPS in this month's Incoming column, Building a Better Government Personnel System.
If you think the health care debate has been controversial, just mention “pay-for-performance” in government circles. The government has made several attempts to develop a more modern pay system; a number of them have taken place in various agencies over the years. But there have been several big, high-profile pay-for-performance systems.
Transparency remains an issue for the Obama administration, writes Christopher Dorobek in this month's Incoming column, Contract Transparency Poised to Open Up, Dorobek observes that one of the biggest challenges the administration has faced in executing programs through the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year has been in oversight of the funds. Dorobek invites "debate, discussion, examination and solutions" on these challenges.
We are now nine months into the Obama administration. During that time, some answers have emerged to the many issues that have popped up, but nearly as many questions remain. One lingering question involves defining transparency.
What does it mean to be a leader?
At our core, we innately understand that leadership matters. I recently searched the book catalog on Amazon.com for books about leadership, and it probably will not surprise anyone that my search came up with 348,433 hits. So on one level, we understand it—leadership is important.
As Christopher Dorobek notes in this month's Incoming column, the role for federal CIOs is changing. There's been a lot of conversation about culture needing to change to get out of this "two-point-NO" mindset that many CIOs have. Our question for you is how does that change happen? How can we shape the culture so that government IT leaders can say "yes" to technology more often?
For federal chief information officers (CIOs), it is the best of times and the worst of times. The broader, less literary question is: Do CIOs matter?
Dorobek makes an excellent point when he says that e-mail really did revolutionize the way we communicate, but hasn't done much toward the effort to collaborate. But since we've gotten in the habit of using e-mail to collaborate, for lack of better tools in the '90s, we're still using e-mail to collaborate even though better tools are out there.
Many of us remember when we first got an e-mail account. If you were anything like me, you received a personal e-mail address and then later an AOL account—well before you had e-mail access at work. In a way, it was a very early indication of the world to come, where the consumer market truly leads the enterprise market. Today, most people will admit that they can do much more on their home computers than they can on their “clunky machines” at work.
... And Incoming author Christopher Dorobek would like you to know why in his May column. It's more than a buzzword, he writes: "No person can overestimate the complexities involved in implementing government transparency. It is a dramatic shift in the way we think about information, particularly in government."
It currently is difficult to make it through a day in government circles without somebody talking about transparency. It was an ongoing theme in then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and it was conspicuously the first executive order signed by President Obama on January 21. But the word is something akin to a Rorschach test—everybody sees transparency very differently. Each person has very different ways of defining what transparency means and how it can be implemented.