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Center Spotlights Critical Information

June 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

A U.S. Army organization is changing the way information is protected by embedding personnel and assessment processes into research and development programs. The center works with researchers to put security procedures in place by helping program managers identify and safeguard vital data. But protecting that information is challenging because it often is difficult to determine what is and is not sensitive material.

Guest Blog: Computers for Shooters

April 27, 2010
By Paul Strassmann

Two weeks ago, I listened to a U.S. Marine Corps brigadier general plead for a lightweight personal computer that shooters could use at the squad level. All of the talk he heard about net-centric networks was meaningless because network centricity did not reach where it was needed. If the civilians could walk around with BlackBerrys, why couldn't the U.S. Defense Department provide comparable services?

Cool App-titude: ASVAB Practice for Dummies

March 16, 2010
By Katie Packard

You don't have to be a dummy to need help preparing for a test. The ASVAB Practice for Dummies app helps future warfighters get the best score possible on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam. The application, which costs $9.99, offers three full-length practice tests; study tips; practice questions in several categories such as communication, technical skills and arithmetic; and more. For more information or to download the application, visit the Web site or iTunes. These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new Web sites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

Extraterrestrial System Sharpens Tactical Eyes on the Ground

March 2010
By Brig. Gen. Bernard K. Skoch, USAF (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

Ask any small unit deployed in theater, and troops will say their number one communications challenge is obtaining ready access to reliable, real-time voice and data connectivity. An innovative satellite-based tactical communications system featuring a unique multicast one-to-many architecture is helping warfighters solve that problem, and it works virtually anywhere, including the challenging terrain of Afghanistan.

Fighter Jets Provide Extra Eyes Over the Battlefield

Tuesday, February 02, 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon

A U.S. Air Force fighter jet recently performed as a reconnaissance platform by using a targeting sensor to detect radio emissions and then transmitting their type and location in near real time to commanders and troops on the ground. The demonstration at a military exercise highlighted the use of nontraditional aerial platforms, such as fast attack jets, for surveillance and reconnaissance.

Cool App-titude: U.S. Army iPhone App

January 19, 2010
By Katie Packard

Some people live and breathe the Army 24/7. Now anyone can be all Army, all the time with the U.S. Army iPhone app.

Reducing the Time Between Flash and Bang

December 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

A kaleidoscope of issues, priorities, methods and rules influences the decision-making process that provides warfighters with the equipment and technical capabilities they want and need in current operations. The challenges run deeper and wider than simply fixing the acquisition processes or building a new platform. They involve aligning just the right pieces of relevance, adaptability, scalability and affordability to promote significant change while smoothly tipping the mechanisms to develop at an ample rate.

U.S. Forces Korea Embraces Web 2.0 for C2

October 26, 2009
By Beverly Schaeffer

U.S. Forces Korea is recognizing the benefits of Web 2.0 capabilities and is using them to transform its decision-making processes.

Global Command and Control Rebooted

November 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

Upgrades to a major command and control system soon will provide U.S. commanders with better tools to coordinate theater- and strategic-level operations.

Army Innovation on the Edge

September 17, 2009
By H. Mosher

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, chief information officer (CIO)/G-6 policy, and Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice, USA, program executive officer, Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), had a lot to say about innovation in the U.S. Army at the Gov 2.0 Summit last week.

Panel moderator Dr. Linton Wells, Transformation Chair and distinguished research professor at National Defense University, asked them why pursue innovation on the edge. Gen. Sorenson took the opportunity to explain challenges faced by the military in today's enviroment. "If you look at warfare today, it has dramatically changed from when your father or grandfather fought it," he said. "We have to function in environments that are asymmetrical, where the enemy is not in uniform and may be in front, behind, around you." He made a distinction between strategic operations and tactical operations but noted that the two are no longer separate. "You now have tactical forces doing strategic operations," he explained. "They have to have the best situational awareness at that front edge. The only way to do that is to make sure that data [they need to complete the mission] is available accessible and accurate."

Gen. Justice had a different perspective on why innovation matters most on the front line. "It's all about money," he said. "If I can get my warfighters to solve my problems for me, then I don't have to go back to the Pentagon to ask for the money to address these capabilities."

Gen. Sorenson said that in his experience, he'd run across soldiers with intuitions or experience to discern what was needed. When that happens, he continued, "You get some magic." He is always astonished to find that warfighters are "using systems in ways that were never imagined when we wrote the requirements for it."

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