Cybersecurity

March 24, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. James Holmes, USAF, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements for the Air Force, gives the final keynote at AFCEA's TechNet Air symposium.

AFCEA TechNet Air 2016

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 3

Quote of the Day:
“We want to think deeply and thoughtfully about what is the right mix between combining what humans do best and what machines do best, not just in the combat arena … but in the process we use for command and control.”—Lt. Gen. James Holmes, USAF, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements for the Air Force

The changing world has produced a reemergence of great powers.

And the U.S. Air Force seeks to stop it.

March 22, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Deborah Lee James, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, addresses the inaugural AFCEA International’s three-day TechNet Air 2016 symposium in San Antonio.

AFCEA TechNet Air 2016

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:
"Our military's technological superiority is being challenged in ways that we've never experienced before, and we can't take these developments for granted. If we do, that could put American lives at risk in the not-too-distant future."—Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James

The secretary of the Air Force’s candid assessment of the U.S. military’s declining superiority was not anything that hasn’t been uttered before. And yet, her words rang eerily poignant and ominous, given today’s ever-increasing global instability.

March 23, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office speaks about the Defense Department's costliest program during AFCEA's TechNet Air 2016 symposium.

AFCEA TechNet Air 2016

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day:
“With the F-35, we're making it as flexible as we can to give it a long life so when the threat changes, whether it's a high-intensity conflict or an overfly to collect [human intelligence] data, the platform is going to be able to survive.”—Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office

Perception isn’t always reality, but that doesn’t make for the most compelling headlines, said Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office.

March 24, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force, discusses future programs at AFCEA's TechNet Air symposium.

Every military operation conducted around the world is enabled by space as well as cyber operations, domains closely linked and threatened alike. “As it is with cyber, and as the world is certainly witness to, our space domain is critically important,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force.

March 22, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Members of the Air Force's Task Force Cyber Secure talk about challenges to securing weapons systems during the TechNet Air symposium.

Cyber right now is the the cat’s meow—a notion sure to keep funding flowing for technological solutions, at least in the near term, to counter the emerging threats, according to Col. Gary Salmans, USAF, senior materiel leader of the Cryptologic and Cyber Systems Division within the Air Force Materiel Command.

March 15, 2016

Coming on the heels of Virginia's big push to reduce the number of commuters last week on area roads with Virginia Telework Week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is updating guidance to include the latest technology available to strengthen remote-access data security, especially as the number of teleworkers trends upward. 

March 10, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy leaders address C4ISR capability gaps and needs during an AFCEA DC Chapter breakfast. From l-r, Maj. Gen. Martin Whelan, USAF; Brig. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, USAF; Maj. Gen. Jody Daniels, USA; and Capt. Jeff “Caesar” Czerewko, USN. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Adversaries have caused less of a disruptive aftermath on some U.S. military operations than a homegrown technology solution: big data.

Once viewed as a tremendous asset, troops can now be mired in the vast amount of information collected from ever-improving sensors of all kinds, impeding some missions in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, better known as C4ISR. The quagmire drives leaders to seek solutions.

March 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

As the air superiority gap narrows between the U.S. military and its pursuing adversaries, airpower and information dominance will command center stage for discussions at this month’s TechNet Air 2016 symposium in Texas.

Air operations not only require accurate information and effective communications, coordination and security, but they must also be better than challengers campaigning to usurp the lead once commanded by the United States.

March 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
The Predator provides near-real-time infrared and color video to intelligence analysts and controllers on the ground and the ship. The U.S. Air Force chief scientist is leading two follow-up Autonomous Horizons studies examining the possibility of advancing autonomous technologies.

The U.S. Air Force science and technology community is returning to a proactive approach to developing transformational technologies. The shifting focus will provide a smoother transitional path for cutting-edge capabilities, get technologies into the hands of warfighters more quickly and help project air power around the globe.

February 25, 2016
By Joel Dolisy

OK, your New Year’s resolutions are probably distant memories, but resolutions to improve agency IT security should be yearlong endeavors. Before gearing up to move forward with implementing new fiscal year 2016 IT initiatives, it is a best practice to conduct a security audit to establish a baseline and serve as a comparison to start thinking about how the agency’s infrastructure and applications should change, and what impact that will have on IT security throughout the year.

It’s critical to maintain a consistent focus on security all year long. Security strategies, plans and tactics must be established and shared so that IT security teams are on the same page for the defensive endeavor.

February 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
A U.S. sailor of Coastal Riverine Squadron 10 mans a crew-served weapon aboard a patrol boat in the Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti. (U.S. Navy photo)

It has been less than smooth sailing of late for the U.S. Navy as the superiority gap the sea service once held over adversaries rapidly narrows, its top officer says.

The onus to secure the maritime domain, both in a militaristic approach as well as commercially, falls to the United States as it jockeys to fortify global sea-based activity in an increasingly complicated environment. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, USN, penned a strategy that directs renewed focus on how the Navy might outmaneuver and outsmart its competitors.

January 28, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Slide over cyber commands, the Defense Department could bear a new warfighting domain. The DOD is tinkering with the notion of recognizing the electromagnetic spectrum as a new warfare domain.

Such a policy change would come on the heels of the paramount decision in 2006 when the DOD added a fifth domain—cyberspace—to its arsenal. Though it has been a decade, cyber warfare is an area in which operators still wrestle with daunting guidelines to carry out warfare in the manmade field.

Given that, is the Pentagon ready for a sixth domain?

January 12, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
DISA officials present agency needs to industry during an AFCEA DC Chapter breakfast that included (l-r) Tony Montemarano, David Mihelcic, John Hickey and Alfred Rivera. Photo by Mike Carpenter.

Not all the news surrounding shrinking federal budgets is bad news. Dwindling coffers mean the government increasingly relies on ready-made products and services from private industry for solutions to both carry out day-to-day operations and prepare for the future.

January 12, 2016
By J. Wayne Lloyd

The season to hunt white-tailed deer draws to a close, and being an avid hunter, I’m already planning for the next season using information gleaned from this go-around in addition to maps, data from trail cameras, temperature input, moon phase and the movement patterns of game. While planning tools are plentiful, they mean little without automation on the back end to make sense of it all.

Deer hunting can be much like cyber hunting, the methodology organizations use when traditional security solutions fail to keep out intruders. 

November 10, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, commander of Joint Force Headquarters–DODIN and DISA, forecasts future requirements and needed solutions to protect the Defense Department from cyber attacks during an AFCEA D.C. Chapter event. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The cyber attack into a key unclassified email server of the U.S. Joint Chiefs in August helped indoctrinate and shape missions at the new centralized office erected to defend the Defense Department’s cyber networks, said Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, commander of Joint Force Headquarters–Department of Defense Information Networks (DODIN).

The nation-state-sponsored attack was a bit of a shock in its aggressiveness, said Gen. Lynn, who also serves as the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). “For three weeks, we went after this cyber event and worked it to figure out how we now work as this new command.”

November 5, 2015
By Bill Nolte
Courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The Institute of World Politics (IWP) in Washington, D.C., and our colleagues at the Intelligence National Security Alliance, or INSA, are collaborating this fall on a series of conversations on cyber intelligence, tackling key issues that surround the phenomenon that increasingly influences—if not yet dominates—our lives.

October 29, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, director of the NSA and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, warns of an increase in number and sophistication of cyber attacks during Thursday's SAP NS2 Solution Summit.

Securing the cyberspace will get worse before it gets any better, warned Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

“The very technical foundation of the world we’ve created with the Internet of Things is going to exacerbate [security vulnerabilities], not make it easier,” he said. Now, it’s not that the Internet of Things is bad, he pointed out. “As a private citizen, I love the convenience. But I also acknowledge it brings inherent challenges when we’re trying to defend something.”

October 27, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Senate passed the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) on Tuesday, paving the way for private companies to share cyberthreat information not just with each other, but with the government.

A salient point of the measure, S. 754, centers on the freedom companies would have to share what they deem to be cyber intelligence without fear of lawsuits. But a vocal opposition to the measure took to social media during the Senate’s debate, calling on lawmakers to defeat the bill because it will tantamount to sanctioned government spying on citizens.

October 15, 2015
By Maria C. Horton

Small businesses doing work for the U.S. Defense Department pose serious cybersecurity concerns, in part because of their limited resources to invest in technical and practiced security measures, according to a congressional oversight agency’s assessment.

October 15, 2015
By David Archer

In 1967, CIA operatives needed a way to spy on a Kremlin ally and sought to capitalize on a common place nuance: feral cats. The creators of Project Acoustic Kitty contrived to surgically implant a transmitter and microphone into a cat, postulating that they could slip “under the radar” on quiet paws. Although agents tested at least one Acoustic Kitty, officials determined that cats could not be adequately trained, and the program was—well, scratched.

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