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SIGNAL Connections

Department of Homeland Security Reaches Out to Small Businesses

January 15, 2009
by Maryann Lawlor

Small businesses interested in working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can meet one-on-one with representatives from several components of the department as well as with the agency’s partner corporations. The Vendor Outreach Sessions program offers small business owners or their representatives the opportunity to spend 15 minutes with up to four different DHS organizations. The time can be used to explain their capabilities or obtain more information about an upcoming contract. Each month, representatives from as many as 50 companies take advantage of this opportunity at absolutely no cost to them.

Kevin Boshears, director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, DHS, explains that the briefing opportunities program, which somewhat resembles speed dating, came with him when he moved from the U.S. Treasury Department. The department began the program in the 1990s and found it to be extremely successful, so he decided to implement it at DHS, he says.

Central Maryland Chapter Provides Specialized Outreach Through Women in Intelligence Group

January 15, 2009
by Katie Packard

Women who work in the intelligence community and who live in Maryland are finding support through an outreach effort of the Central Maryland Chapter. Approved by the chapter in October 2007, the Women in Intelligence Group (WIIG) was established to provide a forum for women who work in this field to collaborate, network and share the issues and challenges they experience. The group’s target audience includes Young AFCEANs, technical and nontechnical members of the intelligence community, and government, military and industry personnel.

 

Currently, the group has more than 180 participants. WIIG Chair Jennifer R. Walker, vice president of business operations, Pangia Technologies LLC, notes that as a result of WIIG programs and events, both chapter and Young AFCEAN Committee membership numbers have increased.

 

WIIG has continued to expand in part due to its successful mentoring program. Mentorship Circles comprise two mentors and 8 to 10 junior colleagues. The circles meet quarterly to discuss topics such as networking, professional growth and development, best practices and mentorship. The circles also address such issues as targeted skills development, work and life balance and women leaders. Currently, WIIG has six active mentor circles with more than 60 participants.

Latest Laptops Enhance Capabilities

November 17, 2008
by Katie Packard

This is where the article will go.

So You Want to Host a Webinar?

November 17, 2008
by Rita Boland

More than ever, businesses and other agencies are using the Internet to share information with clients, partners and stakeholders, and webinars are becoming a popular method to distribute news and ideas. Using these online presentations, organizations can invite people from around the world to attend the same event without requiring travel or large physical facilities. However, not all webinars are created equal, and just as in-person interactions mandate certain behaviors and rules, so do addresses in cyberspace. Luckily, by remembering and implementing some easy and almost basic practices, groups can attract an audience and host a successful online seminar.

Thomas Masotto, the vice president of product management and business development at ON24, explains that webcasts have gained popularity because they reach a dispersed crowd and are cost effective. His company assists organizations with hosting webinars. “They’re a good way to engage an audience and communicate a complex message,” he says. Webinars are akin to keynote addresses at large conferences; they offer a platform for distributing information and responding to direct questions from audience members. Of course, webinars are only effective if people attend.

Chertoff Kicks Off SOLUTIONS

November 17, 2008
SIGNAL Staff

The Honorable Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will set the tone for the fourth SOLUTIONS series event with a plenary speech on the first morning. “Cyberspace: Challenges and Solutions for National Security” is the focus of the conference, which takes place December 10-11 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C.

In addition to Chertoff, a number of high-ranking officials from the federal government as well as the military will offer their insights during the conference. Speakers include Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, USN, director of command, control, communications and computer systems, J-6, the Joint Staff; Vice Adm. James Winnefeld, USN, strategic plans and policy director, J-5, the Joint Staff; Lt. Gen. John Paxton Jr., USMC, operations director, J-3, the Joint Staff; Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, USAF, commander, Air Force Cyberspace Command (provisional); Brig. Gen. Steve Smith, USNR, chief cyber officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6, U.S. Army; and Melissa Hathaway, senior adviser for the Director of National Intelligence and cyber coordination executive.

Information Operations Multiply With the Value of Information

November 17, 2008
SIGNAL Staff

As information has increased in value with the dynamism of the information age, so too have operations against it. Information operations used to be the purview of the military, but now they have become an element of cyberspace in general. Thus, the threats that once were limited to the military realm now are appearing in civil government and commerce. As military-style information operations begin to wreak havoc in civilian cyberspace, military-style countermeasures will need to be deployed.

The flip side of this coin is that the military is making greater use of information technologies and capabilities drawn from the commercial sector. So, the vulnerabilities that have characterized civilian cyberspace now are moving into the military realm. This cries out for commercial solutions to protect both military and civilian information assets.

And the threats to cyberspace are becoming more sophisticated across the board. The melding of useful cyberspace capabilities has its match in information operations. Cybermarauders ranging from basement hackers to foreign governments are adopting increasingly similar methodologies. Information operations now are being waged by virtually anyone with malice of intent in cyberspace.

2009 Security Directory Update Underway

November 17, 2008
SIGNAL Staff

The community of companies doing business in the security arena is as large and diverse as the products and services they offer. Organizations may find it difficult to locate the company with the products and services matching their specific requirements.

To help readers compare and find solutions best suited to their needs, SIGNAL Magazine and AFCEA produce two security directories each year. The print version is published annually in the February issue of SIGNAL Magazine. The issue also will be distributed at the AFCEA Homeland Security conference, February 25-26, 2009, in Washington, D.C. Participation in the print version is open to any company that offers relevant products and services.

The AFCEA Online Security Directory will be available in early 2009. Inclusion in the electronic product is a free benefit of AFCEA corporate membership, and all corporate member companies that participate in the print directory are listed in the online directory automatically.

All companies must submit a new form each year for placement in either directory. Security Directory records are unrelated to AFCEA membership or Source Book records. Companies must update their information for the Security Directory separately.

Computing in the Clouds

November 17, 2008
by Maryann Lawlor

Organizations seeking ways to improve the bottom line may find their solution in the clouds—cloud computing, that is. The paradigm offers dynamic access to computer processing, network bandwidth and file storage on a pay-per-use basis. Companies as well as government agencies can take advantage of new technologies sooner while spreading their information technology expenditures over a longer period of time. This approach can be especially advantageous for small firms because it gives them access to cutting-edge technology without huge investments.

Cloud computing refers to assigning tasks to a combination of connections, software and services over a network. Through a thin client, users can access resources such as data or applications when they need them while benefiting from supercomputer power. Google’s Apps, Maps and Gmail are perhaps some of the most well-known cloud residents; other providers include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Flexiscale, GoGrid and Mosso.

Marines Take a Chomp Out of Multiple Radars

November 17, 2008
by Rita Boland

The Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) combines five U.S. Marine Corps legacy radars into one, offering enhanced capabilities and reduced operation and maintenance costs to the Corps. The system has a planar antenna and employs active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology. 

By using this type of state-of-the-art radar technology, the U.S. Marines Corps will have a highly mobile, multipurpose tool that will help commanders track threats in the air and on the ground. The device will address multiple asymmetric threats targeted at troops and offer capabilities necessary for the 21st century battlefield.

The Marine Corps will begin combating enemies with G/ATOR within the next decade, starting with an increment one rollout in 2012. The device’s most important role is air surveillance; the system will offer enhanced capabilities to detect, track and provide target-quality data to engage hostile aircraft, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), rockets, mortars and artillery. It also has air traffic control functions.

The various functions of G/ATOR combine through the Marines’ air and ground command and control (C2) nodes. The radar will detect its targets and send all the associated information to the C2 systems. The data from G/ATOR will be amalgamated with individual systems and can be integrated at a higher level with other services or passed directly to the joint battlefield. 

Experts Tackle Acquisition Woes

November 17, 2008
by Maryann Lawlor

Confusion abounds when it comes to the government acquisition process, and the general consensus is that the system is in serious need of repair. Experts in the acquisition field agree that some of the top priorities are additional training for the work force, a revamp of requirements approaches and adoption of a logical method for leveraging commercial products.

Two former government officials who dealt with acquisition issues on a daily basis offer valuable insights and possible solutions. One of these experts is the Honorable Jacques S. Gansler. Before he became a professor, Gansler was the U.S. Defense Department’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Last year, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren asked Gansler to head a commission to conduct an independent study of the U.S. Army’s acquisition and program management in expeditionary operations and offer recommendations for improvement. The review, now known as the Gansler Commission report, is a snapshot of acquisition issues that plague the federal government.

The commission noted that after the Cold War ended, the budget dropped drastically. The Defense Department decided to reduce acquisition personnel rather than reduce the number of warfighters, Gansler explains.

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