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Viewpoint

Army's Private Cloud Goal Is Praiseworthy but Problematic

November 2010
By Paul A. Strassmann

On June 25, 2010, the Army issued a request for proposals for the migration of information technologies into a cloud environment. A statement of work defines this as the “Army’s Private Cloud.” The contract reportedly could total $249 million over five years, or an average of $50 million per year. When one compares the proposed spending with the Army’s fiscal year 2009 information technology budget of $7.8 billion, the project accounts for only 0.6 percent of the Army’s budget. That is a modest start for moving in the direction in which commercial firms already are progressing at an accelerated pace.

Cyberspace Spawns a New Fog of War

September 2010
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

Military commanders long have complained of limited situational awareness because of faulty intelligence and disruption of their lines of communications. Gen. Carl von Clausewitz called this “the fog of war.” Today’s military commanders face a distinctly different threat to their lines of communications because cyberwar casts a shadow far beyond Gen. Clausewitz’s conventional battlefield and the rules of engagement that govern armed conflict.

Defense Network Concepts Have a Dynamic History

August 2010
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

Many of today’s original ideas about a global command and control system can be traced to Vice Adm. Jerry Tuttle, USN (Ret.), who served as director, Space and Electronic Warfare, from 1989 until his retirement in 1994. Faced with the need to restructure the Naval Telecommunications System to handle dramatically increased message traffic, Tuttle could have proposed buying bigger pipes. Instead, he created the Copernicus concept for evolving the Navy’s networks. His immediate objective was to restructure the Naval Telecommunications System and then to extend it to other parts of the Navy as well as to other military departments. Copernicus concentrated on the Navy’s immediate needs for increased bandwidth and for integrated communications.

Information Dominance Bows to Network Limitations

August 2010
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

The United States has the world’s largest and most costly networks, but these networks must be configured better to support the warfighters in the era of cyberwarfare. According to Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, the U.S. Defense Department operates more than 15,000 networks; however these networks have no economies of scale, and many do not meet minimum commercial standards for availability or connection latency. Most children of Defense Department workers have better connectivity and functionality in their homes than their parents have at work.

Engineering Communism by Steven T. Usdin

June 2010
Reviewed by Dr. R. Norris Keeler, SIGNAL Magazine

While extensive work has been published on the U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons programs, very little has been said about Soviet electronics and its related espionage until author Steven T. Usdin’s book, Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley. Usdin has brought readers into this intriguing world in a thorough and insightful way by revealing how the two U.S.-born spies nearly created a Soviet version of Silicon Valley.

Antisubmarine Warfare Concepts Offer Promise For Counterterrorism

May 2010
By Cmdr. David M. Houff, USN, SIGNAL Magazine

Submarines, as targets, have much in common with current U.S. adversaries such as insurgents, who prefer to blend in with their environments and rely on speed and stealth to conduct attacks. In a September 2009 podcast, the U.S. chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, USN, extended this analogy by comparing the World War II Tenth Fleet’s antisubmarine warfare focus with the information operations focus of the recently reactivated U.S. Tenth Fleet.

Social (Network) Security

Tuesday, January 02, 2010
By Paul A. Strassmann

The total population on the Internet is 1.6 billion. The majority of users engage in social computing, where numerous online services offer opportunities for sharing information. There are currently 156 social computing sites, but that number is growing to meet increasingly diverse interests. Sites with more than 15 million registered users include Digg, FriendFinder, Facebook, Flixster, Flickr, Friendster, Habbo, LinkedIn, MyLife, MySpace, Orkut, Plaxo, Twitter, YouTube, UStream and Wiki. These services had a total membership of 1.4 billion as of last fall.

Take Me to Your Cyber Leader

November 2009
By Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.)

The threat to cyberspace now rivals that of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. That is the message in the latest effort to rouse the public from slumber induced by ignorance, indifference, apathy, confusion and denial. Government is inundated with reports and studies from think tanks, academia, prestigious government research agencies and the cybersecurity industry—each decrying the weak and deteriorating state in our cyberdefenses and proffering advice to the new administration.

Trite but True: He Got it Half Right

October 15, 2009
By Alan P. Balutis

Christopher J. Dorobek’s “Incoming” column focused on good leadership. I once was as misguided as Dorobek, but no more. I hope it is not too late to affect his thinking—and yours as well.

Twitter Is Mission Critical

October 15, 2009
By Maj. Daniel Ward, USAF, Maj. Gabe Mounce, USAF, and Carol Scheina

The explosion of online social media is profoundly changing how people produce, consume and share information. Social media rapidly turns monologues into dialogues and broadcasts into conversations. The result is a rich environment in which ideas are shared, questions are answered and collaborative relationships flourish.

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