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Visual Information
 on Your Sleeve

July 1, 2013
By Max Cacas

Recent developments in advanced materials bring the Army closer to next-generation displays for a new breed of warfighter mobile devices.

A coalition of military, academic and industry scientists is approximately one year away from the first working prototypes of mobile devices using newly developed flexible display technologies. The goal is to demonstrate that manufacturing the displays can be done economically, and in quantity, so that they can be widely adopted by mobile device makers, benefitting both the military and consumers. Project managers ultimately hope to introduce mobile devices that are lighter, more reliable and less expensive.

These displays could make possible small screens bearing important tactical information that would be worn on the sleeve of a soldier’s uniform. Another use might be as a pen that fits in a pocket but contains a roll-out display with maps and mission information. The technology even might enable rugged displays worn on the thigh of a field medic with the latest medical record information on the patient in front of him or her.

“The goal of the program is to speed development of flexible displays for the soldier,” says David Morton, program manager for flexible displays with the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Maryland. “They had a recognized need for lightweight, rugged, flexible displays. And, although industry was working on it, the goal of the program was to speed the development so that the Army could get them sooner.”

The ARL is conducting the flexible display research and development in conjunction with Arizona State University and a growing list of industry and academic partners (see box, page 47). The focus of the nearly decade-long collaborative effort is the Flexible Display Center (FDC), located in Tempe, Arizona.

Nominate a Heroine in Technology

June 13, 2013

Women who use technology in their professional lives as well as make significant contributions to their communities will be honored at the 13th Annual Heroines in Technology Gala, on November 8, 2013 at the Hilton McLean of Tysons Corner, Virginia. Award winners will be announced in five categories: Rising Heroine, Individual Heroine, Corporate Heroine, AFCEA International Government and Lifetime Achievement.

Nominations for the awards are now being accepted online. The deadline for submissions is July 12, 2013.

The AFCEA NOVA Chapter and the March of Dimes sponsor and present the awards. Tickets can be purchased on the March of Dimes Maryland-National Capital Area website.

 

AFCEA Answers Radio Show Premieres in June

May 15, 2013

As it becomes more challenging for AFCEA members to network via conferences, the association is finding innovative ways to facilitate connectivity, engage its members, boost conversations and share information. AFCEA Answers is the latest way the association is reaching out by taking to the airwaves and the Internet.

Small Business Outreach Event

May 15, 2013

AFCEA International is hosting a presentation by Tony Constable, president, CAI/SISCo, at 4 p.m. on May 21, 2013, at AFCEA headquarters, Fairfax, Virginia. Constable will explain the fundamentals of Price To Win (PTW), his business development discipline that helps companies win contracts particularly in austere times.

Army Contracts to Develop New Radar System

May 3, 2013

The U.S. Army is expanding its Range Radar Replacement Program (RRRP) with a high/medium power close-in radar system. The new mobile system will provide fine detail when tracking munitions and other targets at a range of at least 37 miles. The close-in radar system joins the fly-out radar system, the first range instrumentation radar system developed as part of the RRRP. The program aims to help the Army modernize test ranges through cost-effective, digital technologies.

The new radar system is a contract modification with General Dynamics C4 Systems valued at $16 million.

The Bottom Line: When the Market Gets Tough, the Tough Get Marketing

April 15, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

It should come as no surprise that inertia within the federal government has companies coming to a halt at a time when they should be moving full speed ahead.

Air Force ISR Industry Day Moves to October

April 15, 2013

The 2013 Air Force ISR Industry Day scheduled for June 21, 2013, at the TASC Heritage Conference Center will now take place on October 31, 2013, at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Springfield, Virginia.

MILCOM Call for Papers Deadline Extended

April 15, 2013

The deadline for submitting technical papers drafts, tutorial proposals and panel proposals for MILCOM ’13 is now April 30, 2013, and the requirement for submitting abstracts has been eliminated.

Link Warfighters to Technologists at the Lowest Possible Level

April 1, 2013
By Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN

As conflicts become more complex and uncertain in the 21st century, quick pivots to new technologies will become increasingly important. The starting point for this rapid fielding must begin with more frequent, and more relational, lower level warfighter-technologist interaction.

The current system does this nominally, but the relationships usually are far removed from the waterfront or the front lines where many user-generated solutions could be discovered. Science advisers, often from places such as the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory or the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), are stationed regularly at critical commands throughout the services. They provide a useful link between incredibly intelligent technologists and seasoned veterans.

Unfortunately, many of the interactions are only with senior officers and not the muddy boot or deckplate warriors who know best what is giving them day-to-day headaches. Additionally, many of the officers dedicated to acquisition programs are years removed from being actual operators. With the accelerating pace of technological change, even a year away from operational status can leave noticeable knowledge gaps.

Experience certainly is valuable, but after spending a long period of time in the same profession, a person’s creativity sometimes is lost. Even known innovators can get stuck in ruts when not exposed to different views of the world over sustained periods of time. Furthermore, as technology evolves, the quickest adopters usually are the younger generations. They often have better insights into how to integrate emerging, generationally ubiquitous trends to their professions than do their seniors who relied on legacy systems.

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