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Viewpoint

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance in the Littoral Fight

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.

It's Time to Move From Net-Centric to Data-Centric

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.

Finding the Hidden Opportunities

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.

Two Barriers Block New Architecture

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.

About Face

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.

A Culture Shock Is Coming

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.

Reaching the Clouds Won't Be a One-Stop Trip

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.

Fewer Data Centers Can Be a Good Thing

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.

Desktop Virtualization Offers Benefits Now

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.

Navy Prepares to Take An Important First Step

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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