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NSA and University to Create Big Data Laboratory

August 16, 2013

 

North Carolina (NC) State University has announced a new partnership with the National Security Agency (NSA) to create the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS) on the university’s Centennial Campus. The lab will bring together personnel from government, academia and industry to address the most challenging big data problems and will be a cornerstone of the emerging advanced data innovation hub at NC State.

NC State researchers will assist NSA scientists in establishing priorities and conducting research for the LAS. A key goal of the LAS is to promote new advances in the science of analysis through innovative collaborations between industry, academia and government.

The NSA grant funding of the LAS is the largest sponsored research contract in the university’s history.

Group to Review Intelligence and Communications Technologies

August 14, 2013

 

James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, revealed this week plans to form a high-level group of outside experts to examine the U.S. government's signals-intelligence collection and surveillance capabilities. The announcement follows guidance from President Barack Obama, who said new technologies that give governments unprecedented capabilities to monitor communications must be discussed. The review group will "consider how we can maintain the trust of the people," ensuring no abuse of surveillance technologies and assessing surveillance impacts on foreign policy.

Once established, the group will brief interim findings to the president within 60 days with a final report due no later than December 15.

Emerging Space Program Investments Reach $1.8 Billion in 2013

August 13, 2013

 

Twenty-seven countries have begun investing this year in space programs estimated to be valued at $1.8 billion, according to an executive brief, Trends & Prospects for Emerging Space Programs, published by Euroconsult, a Paris-based consulting firm. The report includes projects, development models, lessons learned and perspectives of countries starting their first or second generation satellite programs. Investments are more than two times what they were in the company’s 2007 estimate. Of the 29 countries assessed in the report, 27 have begun investing in a space program, including $1.4 billion in satellite procurement. Seventeen of those countries have reported funding for a satellite communications program for a combined value of $950 million, and 18 countries are undertaking an Earth observation program with associated budgets of more than $500 million by 2015.

Incentivizing Companies to Manage Cyber Risks Better

August 9, 2013

 

The White House is developing a core of practices to develop capabilities to manage cybersecurity risk. This Cybersecurity Framework will be available in draft form in October and finalized in February 2014. At that time, officials will create the Voluntary Program to encourage critical infrastructure companies to adopt the framework. Until then, the government is looking at ways to incentivize companies to participate. Some recommended incentives can be adopted quickly while others will require legislative action and additional work. The White House is collaborating with appropriate agencies now to move forward and to prioritize incentive areas including cybersecurity insurance, grants, process preference, liability limitation, streamlined regulations, public recognition, rate recovery for price regulated industry and cybersecurity research. For more detailed information, visit the White House Blog

 

 

Carter Calls for Cuts

August 6, 2013

 

At the direction of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter, deputy secretary of defense, has ordered a 20 percent reduction in headquarters management spending throughout the U.S. Defense Department. The cuts apply to all higher headquarters staff, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense Principal Staff Assistants (PSAs) and their defense agency staffs, the Joint Staff, and Service Secretary and Service Chief staffs.

The 20 percent decrease applies to civilian personnel working at headquarters and associated costs, including contract services, facilities and information technology. While military personnel are not part of headquarters budgets, organizations have been directed to strive for a goal of 20 percent decrease in military personnel billets on headquarters staffs. Carter encouraged senior managers to ensure that cuts are made “aggressively and as soon as possible” to eliminate uncertainty for employees and contractors. When possible, some reductions should be made in fiscal year 2014; however, the guideline is to make them proportionately beginning with a fifth of the cut occurring in fiscal year 2015.

Carter has asked that departments submit their reduction plans with their Program Objective Memorandum, which are due on September 23, 2013.

 

JIE Reaches Initial Operational Capability

August 6, 2013

 

The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Environment (JIE) achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on July 31. The JIE is the largest restructuring of information technology management in the military’s history. At the end of the project, personnel will have access to a secure joint environment made up of a shared information technology infrastructure, a single security architecture and enterprise services.

The environment is now available across U.S. European and Africa commands and is managed by the first Enterprise Operations Center, Stuttgart, Germany. The IOC is a validation of the processes and relationships the department will use to support center operations as the environment matures.

 

Subcommittee Chair Urges COTS Use

August 6, 2013

 

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is encouraging the U.S. Coast Guard to work with industry to identify the latest unmanned vehicles to improve maritime safety and security while saving money. In a recent Congressional Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing, Hunter, the chairman of the subcommittee, shared that he has seen a commercially built autonomous surface vehicle that can facilitate sub-sea to surface to satellite communications.

“The Coast Guard should be the one who experiments with this type of technology, who puts it to use, who saves a lot of money doing it and [who] don’t have to go through any government contractors at all because it’s out there sitting waiting for you to buy it. You don’t have to necessarily know what to call it to know that it can save you lots of money, make you very efficient and more effective on the ocean,” Hunter said.

The congressman saw the demonstration of Wave Glider autonomous vehicles during a visit to Liquid Robotics, developers of the technology. The marine robots can remain at sea for months or even years at a time by tapping into the energy supplied by waves and the sun.

 

Dispatch Center Incorporates Newest Technology, Promotes Interoperability

August 1, 2013

The new next-generation dispatch center for the San Luis Obispo County, California, Sheriff’s Office is one of the first in the nation to be completely Internet protocol-based, bridging its existing radio system with the latest smartphone and tablet technology. The new system turns a standard PC into a communications dispatch console and also turns a smartphone into a multi-channel land mobile radio handset for secure, on-demand push-to-talk communication. The system, from Raytheon and Twisted Pair, allows for better coordination for first responders as public safety entities move toward the First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, a secure, nationwide interoperable broadband network.

Sandia Speeds Intellectual Property Sharing With Small Business

July 29, 2013

To facilitate innovation development, Sandia National Laboratories is building a portfolio of intellectual property (IP) that businesses can license in as little as an hour. The ready-to-sign licenses feature simplified language and pared-down terms, conditions and reporting requirements. Up-front fees are in the $3,000 range, and royalty percentages are low.

Sandia has approximately 1,300 patents available for licensing, and while large companies often take advantage of this IP, small firms often do not have the human or financial resources to seize the opportunity. The new license procedure enables entrepreneurs to click on one link and download all of the information they need. The licenses are nonexclusive, so any number of companies can make use of the technology.

“These are all technologies that no one has licensed in areas where small businesses might be able to get a foothold,” Bob Westervelt, business development specialist, Sandia, says. “A small company could take any of these licenses and run with it.” Currently, eight patents qualify for the program, but Sandia officials say the portfolio could reach up to 50. Additional information about Sandia technology transfer opportunities is available online.

New Touch Technology Has Sensitive Skin

July 26, 2013

Engineers at UC Berkeley have created a system of sensors on flexible plastic that reacts to pressure by lighting up. The new "e-skin" recognizes the amount of pressure and responds with a brighter or dimmer light accordingly.

The technology can be used to give robots a more precise sense of touch and also might be used to create interactive wallpapers or automobile dashboards.

What differentiates the e-skin from other touch sensor networks is its flexibility and interactivity, says Chuan Wang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University. Wang participated in the research as a post-doctoral student at UC Berkeley, as part of a research team led by Ali Javey. Because the e-skin is pliable, it can be applied as a laminate to other surfaces.



You can view the e-skin in action here:

 

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