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Cyber, China Challenges Loom Large for U.S. Military

February 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 3

Quote of the Day: “Make no mistake: the PLAN is focused on war at sea and sinking an opposing fleet.”—Capt. Jim Fanell, USN, deputy chief of staff for intelligence and information operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Two separate issues, both on the rise, have become increasing concerns for U.S. military planners. The technology-oriented world of cyber and the geopolitical challenge of a growing Chinese military are dynamic issues that will be major focus points for the U.S. defense community in the foreseeable future.

Cyber security is becoming increasingly complex because of the plethora of new information technologies and capabilities entering the force. Security planners must strike a balance between effectively protecting these new information systems and imposing constraints that would wipe out most of the gains they offer.

China, the world’s rising economic power, is evolving into a military power with a reach that extends increasingly beyond its littoral waters. The U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region is likely to enmesh U.S. military forces in local issues to a greater degree, and China’s steady growth in military strength will affect how international relations evolve in that vast region.

AFCEA Source Book Goes Mobile

January 15, 2013

The AFCEA 2013 Source Book is now available in both digital and app formats. The searchable digital version is available at www.afceasourcebookdirectory-digital.com. It includes corporate profiles for all AFCEA corporate members with all email addresses and company websites hyperlinked. The Source Book also includes descriptions of AFCEA chapters as well as functional and governing committees.

Mobile Device Management? There Will Be an App Store for That

October 30, 2012

Following the lead set by NASA, the Department of Veterans Affairs and several other federal agencies, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has posted a solicitation for an enterprisewide Mobile Device Management system and Mobile Application Store (MDM-MAS). As many as 260,000 devices could reach authorized security resources and data initially through the DISA app store, which could eventually expand to support the needs of the entire Defense Department. The app store solicitation calls for a system to ensure adherence to all security requirements for devices operating on the DISA network and, if needed, allow security officials to remotely wipe devices that are either lost or otherwise compromised by hackers. The MDM-MAS also could be used to push authorized applications to employees’ smartphones and tablets. DISA expects to keep the cost of the proposed app store manageable by using commercially available hardware and software.

 

Managing Change in the
 Intelligence Community

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new computing architecture emphasizes shared resources.

The nation’s intelligence community has embarked on a path toward a common computer desktop and a cloud computing environment designed to facilitate both timely sharing of information and cost savings. The implementation could result in budget savings of 20 to 25 percent over existing information technology spending within six years, but the ramifications could include large cultural changes that result both in lost jobs and business for industry partners.

Al Tarasiuk, chief intelligence officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), explains that the changes will be difficult. Agency employees, and the vendors who help operate and manage information technology for the 17 agencies composing the nation’s intelligence apparatus, will feel the effects of the cost cuts.

“Right now, technology is not our biggest risk. The culture change is our biggest risk, and that extends to our industry partners. We have a lot of industry employed in the community through service contracts and other things. They could help, or they could choose not to help,” Tarasiuk emphasizes, candidly describing the pivotal role of these firms in a transition that could spell the loss of both business and jobs. “They know, and I’ve been very open with them, that we’re not going to need the pool of resources of people that we have today to manage what we have in the future.”

DISA Strategic Plan Seeks to Eliminate Ambiguities

September 12, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The defense information technology realm is exploding with innovation—so much so, the organizations tasked with ensuring effective information systems run the risk of losing control of both the process and its capabilities. The Defense Information Systems Agency has issued a new strategic plan that outlines its approach to ensuring advanced technology implementation without reining in innovation.

 

Takai Stresses Need for Identity Management, Improved Efficiency

May 9, 2012
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Defense Department must move to a single identity management system, the department's chief information officer said today at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference. Teri Takai stated that enterprise email is a driver of that system but acknowledged that the bigger concern is the identity management rather than whether all the military services embrace the email migration. Despite arguments among members of a military chief information officer panel earlier in the day, Takai said she is glad the discussion came up because people need to understand that finding the right solution for identity management is difficult. The Army is scheduled to complete migration to enterprise email by March 2013 and Air Force migration will begin soon after. Neither the Navy nor the Marine Corps has plans to migrate. Takai has a similar attitude to mobile technology pilots currently underway in the services as she does to email migration. Instead of wanting to consolidate the 50 programs, she wants to encourage any development of capabilities. Her only concern is ensuring that the pilots don't result in the creation of separate infrastructures, resulting in the same interoperability issues common in current military communications technologies. Regardless of technologies tested, DISA has the responsibility to certify them for use on the network. The agency also is running its own mobile pilots. DISA additionally is exploring a single app store for the military where members of any service could come to find applications they need for their missions. Takai also addressed data center consolidation, saying that by the end of fiscal year 2012 the department will eliminate more than 100 data centers. The military services have individual budget goals for reducing their numbers.

Federal Agency Keys In to Secure Mobile Phones

November 4, 2011
By Beverly Schaeffer

The National Security Agency is working to develop its own secure mobile phone architecture-using commercial off-the-shelf technologies only.

Mobile Pushes Past Accreditation Challenges

July 22, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower

The effort to field mobile devices down to the squad level continues as the U.S. Defense Department certifies security credentials for the iPhone and Android operating systems. However, the arduous accreditation process still poses many hurdles for the military as it moves toward a more mobile communications environment.

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