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SIGNAL Connections

Homefront Help

October 15, 2009

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's Web site, when available.

American Freedom Festival
The American Freedom Foundation will host the 2009 American Freedom Festival November 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The event is a tribute to veterans to
honor them and to recognize the sacrifices members of the armed forces make every day. It raises money and awareness for veterans and their families whose lives have been affected by operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The 12th Sergeant Major of the Army, Sgt. Maj. Jack Tilley, USA (Ret.), is a co-chair of the festival.

Successful Leaders Share Wisdom Via Video

October 15, 2009
by Maryann Lawlor

Leadership, like language, is caught, not taught. By being around and hearing from successful leaders, young professionals catch on to the techniques that have helped them get where they are today. And while styles differ, the results of strong leadership are the same: steadily growing organizations comprising enthusiastic individuals who not only have the opportunity for personal growth but also feel appreciated.

Not all up-and-coming talented individuals have the chance to hear from the masters of leadership. But a program sponsored by AFCEA International and the AFCEA Educational Foundation has been bettering the odds for the past two years through its Leadership Forum series. Two dozen young professionals meet in a round-table setting once a month for six months with a recognized military, government or industry leader. Each session lasts one hour and is followed by the opportunity to network with each other and the “leader of the month.” Participants in the series must be nominated by their company or government agency to take part in the series.

Cloud Computing Offers Government Solutions

October 15, 2009
by Katie Packard

Cloud computing can solve many problems that state and federal governments are experiencing with traditional network-based systems. Through its cost-effective, flexible options, cloud computing enables organizations to move the burden of network management from their own staff to a host environment.

State and federal agencies are facing reduced technology budgets, a shortage of skilled technology staff members and a lack of a consistent and centralized information technology planning process, Teresa Bozzelli, vice president of government markets at Bozzelli Enterprises, says. These and other factors are driving organizations to seek the cost-effective solutions offered through cloud computing.

Bozelli and Kapil Bakshi, chief solution architect at Cisco Systems, were the guest speakers for “Why is Cloud Computing So Compelling for Government and Education?” The Digital Government Institute sponsored the webinar, which included definitions of cloud computing, discussions of the real and perspective barriers to cloud implementation, and an examination of cloud-computing architecture in relation to government and education needs.

The federal government has lengthy acquisition cycles, which increase costs to maintain legacy systems, Bozzelli notes. Bakshi says many organizations are looking for options that reduce cost and increase flexibility. Not only does cloud computing reduce complexity, cost and power, he shares, but it is more efficient and easier to operate than a network-based platform.

Reserve Employs Commercial Virtual Communications Tool

October 15, 2009
by Lt. Col. Ronald White, USAR

The U.S. Army Reserve is employing a commercial approach to increase collaboration among disparate soldiers. The use of the technology furthers the trend by the military to employ private-sector products for defense purposes. The technology’s ready availability saves U.S. taxpayers—including citizen soldiers—money and gives commanders the added advantage of seeing and hearing subordinates more often.

Members of the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC), one of the newly formed Army Reserve Sustainment Commands, recently tested a program called Defense Connect Online, which is similar to Adobe Acrobat Connect. The command had great success using the program to conduct its monthly Battle Assembly calls. Now, the 211th Regional Support Group (RSG) Hurricanes, currently deployed in Iraq, are using Acrobat Connect Pro, formerly Macromedia Breeze, to keep their personnel in theater better connected.

Employing commercial communications technology is nothing new in the military. Programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange have been installed on defense computers for years, and the military even has taken to using social media platforms such as Facebook to further its missions.

News Briefs Archive

July 15, 2009

August 2009
Data Upgrades for Old Warbirds
The U.S. Air Force’s venerable fleet of B-52 Stratofortress bombers is joining the network-centric force. They are being outfitted with the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system, which will provide the aircraft with enhanced situational awareness and mission flexibility. The CONECT modification involves the installation of a digital communications infrastructure into the B-52 that enables the aircraft to link to the Air Force’s digital communications network and contact command and control centers, ground forces and other platforms. The first aircraft to receive the equipment is undergoing fight tests. All 76 aircraft in the fleet will receive CONECT after the flight test program is complete.

Multinational Maritime Security Experiments Underway
Trident Warrior 09 (TW09) and the associated Operational Level Command and Control (OLC2) experiments officially begin today. Among the issues the events are examining are maritime situational awareness, information operations, sea basing and collaboration between maritime operation centers. The annual FORCEnet sea trial examines technologies and refines, develops, tests and explores capabilities to close gaps between maritime operations centers’ core operational level of command and control. This is the first time the OLC2 is being integrated within the Trident Warrior construct. The two experiments currently underway are the third in a spiral process.

Army Community Covenant

April 20, 2009
By Rita Boland

In the sphere of military community support, Army Community Covenant operates at the strategic level. The organization aims at raising awareness and encouraging businesses, agencies and groups at the local and state levels to create and foster state and community partnerships that assist service members. The first phase of the program is the signing of the Community Covenant. Each community determines its own wording for the document and decides on the number of signatories, usually between 16 and 20 people.

Iraqi Telecommunications Upgrades Impart Hard Lessons

January 15, 2008
by Robert Fonow

Iraq's technological telecommunications leap into the 21st century has left the country short on experts available to work in traditional communications areas. The success of reconstruction efforts in the country demonstrates that citizens are hungry to embrace mobile communications devices. But ushering a nation with little to no technology toward state-of-the-art telecommunications also revealed that introducing modern communications could be a misstep that winds up costing the United States millions of dollars.

The telecommunications sector in Iraq is considered to be a reconstruction success and a foundation of national stability. Iraq remains a broken country, but a rapidly developing telecommunications infrastructure enables food and fuel distribution, emergency services, health care and government coordination, often in hostile conditions. It is a growing source of jobs and careers for the numerous graduates of Iraq’s technical colleges and universities and the portal to the global Internet and social network communities for Iraq’s youth and the next generation of leadership.

Naval Intelligence Ramps up Activities

January 15, 2009
by Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is revamping its intelligence structure with a new set of priorities designed to rebuild naval intelligence as well as command upgrades, including a new maritime intelligence office.

In a departure from its recent efforts, U.S. naval intelligence has returned to the front burner of naval operations, in part due to the Global War on Terrorism and the uncertainties exhibited by several nations’ navies.

The Navy is upgrading the position of director of naval intelligence to vice admiral. Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, USN, the new director, describes naval intelligence as a community undergoing significant changes down to the nature of its mission.

Some changes have been long underway, including a growth in the civilian work force. But other major shifts are relatively new, and some operational architectures are still in the development stage.

The head of the Office of Naval Intelligence has been elevated from captain to rear admiral (upper half), and that office receives four new subordinate commands: the Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center, the Farragut Technical Analysis Center, the John F. Kennedy Irregular Warfare Center, and the Grace Hopper Information Services Center. These four centers will stand up around the end of this month.

Navy Missions Range Further Asea

January 15, 2009

Any maritime nation knows the importance of having an effective seagoing force; but as is the case with so many longtime assets, the navy tends to be taken for granted until it is desperately needed. Many Western militaries suffered that fate after the Cold War ended, and the U.S. Navy was no exception. Designed to ensure continued freedom of movement on the high seas—even in the face of massive Soviet submarine and surface vessel attacks—the Navy was downsized both quantitatively and qualitatively.

When called upon, it proved its worth—particularly in operations such as the 1991 Gulf War, in which sea-launched cruise missiles played a major role in the inaugural attack. But as time passed, the importance of the Navy began to fade into memory. The surface fleet shrank, some of its submarines were repurposed or retired, and new shipbuilding programs were cut back or cancelled. Even the Navy itself viewed its intelligence organization as a relic of the Cold War and downgraded its capabilities.

Now, the certainties of the Cold War have given way to the uncertainties of the 21st century. The threat to the Free World has not disappeared; it just has emerged in different forms from different sources. Where militaries could plan for likely war scenarios, they now must consider a wide range of possibilities that do not provide even the slightest degree of likelihood. Possibility now reigns in military planning.

Cybersecurity Suggestions for the new Administration

January 15, 2009
by Maryann Lawlor

President-elect Barack Obama faces many challenges after taking the oath of office next week, not the least of which is protecting the nation from an invisible menace. Attacks on the country’s information networks not only continue but also are increasing in cunning and effect. While experts in the corporate sector are predicting a new wave of threats with the growth of social networking, government experts are offering their recommendations for the next strategy to keep cybermarauders in check.

A report titled “Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency” outlines several steps that should be taken to better organize the U.S. government to protect and defend cyberspace. The report was created by a commission led by Rep. James R. Langevin (D-RI); Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX); Scott Charney, vice president for trustworthy computing, Microsoft Corporation; and Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, USAF (Ret.), chairman, Center for Network Innovation, Deloitte and Touche. The report was created under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).


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