Viewpoint

March 1, 2014
By George Kamis
Electrical transmission towers and lines carry power across Oregon from the Dalles Dam on the Columbia River. The nation’s critical infrastructure increasingly may be vulnerable to attack through supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

The nation’s critical infrastructure and industrial-control systems have become such potential high-value targets for terrorists that their vulnerability threatens the fabric of society. And, as they increase in both importance and vulnerability, these systems cannot be protected using conventional information security measures.

January 1, 2014
By Paul A. Strassmann

The U.S. Defense Department now is advancing into the third generation of information technologies. This progress is characterized by migration from an emphasis on server-based computing to a concentration on the management of huge amounts of data. It calls for technical innovation and the abandonment of primary dependence on a multiplicity of contractors.

November 1, 2013
By 1st Lt. 
Robert M. 
Lee, USAF

The U.S. Air Force cyber community is failing for a single fundamental reason: the community does not exist. In 2010, the communications community began to be identified as the cyber community. An operational cyberspace badge was created, and those who previously had been communications professionals now were seen as cyberwarriors. This change did not effectively take into account that cyber and communications are two distinct fields and should be entirely separate communities.

October 1, 2013
By Lewis Shepherd

What do modern intelligence agencies run on? They are internal combustion engines burning pipelines of data, and the more fuel they burn the better their mileage. Analysts and decision makers are the drivers of these vast engines; but to keep them from hoofing it, we need big data.
 

October 1, 2013
By Mark M. Lowenthal

Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, USAF (Ret.), once observed that one of the peculiar behaviors of the intelligence community is to erect totem poles to the latest fad, dance around them until exhaustion sets in, and then congratulate oneself on a job well done.
 

October 1, 2013

Another Overhyped Fad

By Mark M. Lowenthal

Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, USAF (Ret.), once observed that one of the peculiar behaviors of the intelligence community is to erect totem poles to the latest fad, dance around them until exhaustion sets in, and then congratulate oneself on a job well done.

April 1, 2013
By Capt. D. Mark Houff, USN

An established superpower is dealing with multiple threats to its interests around the world. An emerging global economic and military/naval power is making its presence felt throughout the world, particularly in Asia. The intelligence community is confronted with a complex environment punctuated by socio-economic power shifts and revolutions in communications, commerce and transportation. World intelligence organizations face internal and external terrorist and anarchist threats as well as exploding population growth and resource competition in strategically critical regions. Compounding these challenges are intelligence budgets that range from uncertain to non-existent.

October 1, 2012
By Capt. Charles A. Barton III, USAF

GPS vulnerabilities could be addressed with upgraded long-range navigation.

August 2012
By David J. Katz, SIGNAL Magazine

The United States and its allies have at their disposal an existing defense capability that can be employed as an effective weapon at the highest levels of conflict. The West's installed base of expertise in communications electronics can be harnessed as a strategic offensive weapon to constrain nation-states that seek to bypass the overwhelming superiority that the United States and its allies possess in conventional warfare.

June 2012
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

Today’s approach to the issue of cybersecurity is totally wrong. For years, experts have been propounding similar solutions to the problem of securing the virtual realm. Yet, that realm is less safe today than it was when the first calls for improved security achieved urgent status. The changes that define cyberspace—and what cyberspace in turn has wrought on society—cry out for a new approach rather than add-on measures to the same strategies that continue to prove unsuccessful over the long term.

April 2012
By Lt. Daniel T. Murphy, USN, SIGNAL Magazine

The next time U.S. forces fight in the littorals—whether it be in the Persian Gulf, Africa, Asia or elsewhere—adversaries, if they are smart, will adopt the land tactics that have made insurgents effective in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, if the U.S. military is smart, it will bring to the asymmetric maritime fight the same force-multiplying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools that have kept casualty rates surprisingly low in the ground fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

February 2012
By Lt. Col. Scott Harrison, USAR, SIGNAL Magazine

The path to achieving the vital goal of coalition interoperability may require abandoning longtime networking tenets in favor of a data-centric or knowledge management approach.

January 2012
By Dr. Paul Monticciolo, SIGNAL Magazine

It is undeniable that defense acquisition reform has ushered in a new reality for prime contractors. Firm-fixed-price contract awards, shorter time lines, open-system architectures, the demand for greater value—these are just a few of the game-changing challenges now facing primes.

November 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

The tight coupling that currently binds Defense Department architecture—the infrastructure, communications, databases, applications, security and desktops into more than 2,200 unique silos—must be separated. Right now, each silo is the consequence of contracts in which all software is assembled into a one-of-a-kind collection of codes. The resulting software is costly to maintain; applications are not interoperable; and lack of compatibility complicates the exchange of data.

September 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

One mandate of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 was creation of the Information Technology Architecture. In subsequent 1999 guidance, the Federal Chief Information Officers Council defined the Federal Enterprise Architecture as the process for developing, maintaining and facilitating the implementation of integrated systems.

July 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

The majority of the 2.5 million military, civilian or reserve personnel in the U.S. Defense Department do not care much about the technical details of computing. Users only wish to receive answers reliably and quickly. Requested information needs to be available regardless of the computing device they use. Responses must be secure. No restrictions should hamper access by certified users communicating from remote locations. Information has to be available for people authorized to make use of what they receive.

May 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

One would not transport a tribe from the Amazon jungle to an apartment house in Chicago and expect life to continue as before. One also would not lift thousands of applications that populate the U.S. Defense Department’s network and place them into clouds and expect no operations to be interrupted during the transition.

March 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

According to Vivek Kundra, the federal chief information officer, the U.S. Defense Department was operating 772 data centers as of July 30. 2010. The Office of Management and Budget defines a data center as any room that is greater than 500 square feet and is devoted to data processing. Kundra called for a 38 percent reduction in the number of data centers by 2015. Though such calls are driven by budget considerations, the metric of counting how many data centers can be eliminated is misleading. From a budget standpoint, only the reductions in the Defense Department’s $36.3 billion fiscal 2011 information technology expenses will matter.

January 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

Desktop virtualization offers extraordinary payoffs that could cut total U.S. Defense Department information technology spending by up to 12 percent. Depending on legacy configurations, numerous approaches are available to achieve that rapidly—it is not a “bridge too far.” The technology is mature; it is a path that already has been paved by thousands of commercial firms.

December 2010
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

It is the objective of the U.S. Navy’s Information Dominance Corps to manage a global network that delivers instant integration of military data across a number of separate specializations such as geographic, intelligence, logistics and manpower, as well as provide information about red or blue forces. The semantic Web will be the engine needed to power the effort.

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