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News Briefs

Research Paves Possible Path to Better Batteries

June 13, 2013

Research at the Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, has revealed part of the mechanism by which particles of lithium ions move in and out of lithium iron phosphate (LFP). The findings could lead to improved performance in lithium ion batteries used in aircraft, electric vehicles and electronic equipment.

LFP is the newest, most recent material being used for lithium ion batteries and is considered safer and longer lasting than previously used materials such as lithium cobalt oxide. Until now, scientists did not understand how lithium ions move in and out of LFP while storing and releasing electrical energy. But now, X-ray microcoscopy has revealed that the lithium ions in LFP behave much like popcorn, in that they absorb the lithium one particle at a time as they are discharged. Researchers believe that this observed and recorded behavior explains, in part, the improved performance of LFP. The finding is important to a better understanding of how to construct improved lithium ion batteries using LFP. The research was funded internally by the U.S. Department of Energy and is reported in the journal Nano Letters.
 

 

White House Flips the Switch on Electric Grid Modernization

June 11, 2013

As part of his effort to build a 21st century infrastructure, U.S. President Barack Obama on June 10 signed a presidential memorandum designed to speed the modernization of the nation’s electric grid. The initiative will help make electricity more reliable, save consumers money on their energy bills and support homegrown American clean energy jobs and industries by making renewable energy easier to access across the country, say White House officials.

The memorandum directs federal agencies to create an integrated pre-application process across the federal government to help identify and address issues before the formal permit application process begins. It also calls for streamlined coordination of permitting processes across the federal, state and tribal governments. In addition, it directs agencies to identify and improve the use of energy corridors on federal lands that are most suitable for electric transmission projects sites, which will help expedite permits while improving environmental and community outcomes. Furthermore, it prioritizes engagement with stakeholders and the public to arrive at the best quality projects with the least conflicts and most support.

Navy Triton UAS Spreads Its Wings

May 30, 2013

The U.S. Navy’s latest unmanned aircraft designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) collection and dissemination hit a milestone this month, completing its first flight. The event marks the start of a series of tests to validate the system for future fleet operations. The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System reached 20,000 feet altitude during the 80-minute flight in restricted airspace while Navy and Northrop Grumman personnel controlled it from the ground below.

According to the Navy, the aircraft platform is critical to the future of naval aviation, as it will serve as a major part of the military’s surveillance strategy in the Asia and Pacific regions. It can fly for long periods of time, transmit information in real time to units in the air and on the ground, and use fewer resources than previous surveillance aircraft. The MQ-4C Triton will be based at five locations around the globe.

Government Lab Helps Choose Future Warfighting Vehicles

May 21, 2013

U.S. soldiers are expanding the use of the Capability Portfolio Analysis Tool (CPAT) across the Army’s modernization program after its success in shifting the paradigm for conducting analysis. CPAT offers an advanced combination of modeling, simulation and optimization decision support software. Currently, the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS) is its primary user, employing it to analyze potential scenarios as technology advances and changes occur in the global environment and the federal budget as well as other factors that could influence future purchases.

Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, asked Sandia National Laboratories personnel to brief other Army PEOs. As a result, Sandia is working with Enterprise Information Systems to apply CPAT to complex decision-making processes.

Eventually, CPAT could be adapted to other military branches or applied to entirely different, complex decision-making processes in other large organizations.“The challenge is each organization has different things that they are managing. Conceptually you are making decisions about how you invest your money, but the details of what goes into it are very, very different,” Craig Lawton, lead for Sandia’s PEO GCS projects, says. “The sky’s the limit.”

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories, the U.S. Army and other organizations developed the CPAT about two years ago; last year it won the Military Operations Research Society’s Richard H. Barchi Prize.

Defense Department Personnel Urged to Provide Information for DOD Enterprise White Pages

May 17, 2013

Defense Department personnel are encouraged to update their information for the new DOD Enterprise White Pages, which provides browser-based access to DOD enterprise identity and contact information maintained by the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) Person Data Repository.

The tool, which can be accessed by users with a valid Common Access Card or External Certification Authority certificate via the Internet or the Unclassified-But-Sensitive Internet Protocol Router Network, is part of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Identity and Access Management collection of solutions.

DOD personnel can update their duty organization, duty location and other attribute information managed by the DMDC at http://milconnect.dmdc.mil.

The DOD Enterprise White Pages replaces the Joint Enterprise Directory Services search.
 

 

 

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.

NIST Revises Federal Computer Security Guide

May 1, 2013

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the most comprehensive update to the government’s computer security guide since 2005. The fourth revision of “Security and Privacy Controls for Federal information Systems and Organizations” (SP 800-53) addresses issues such as mobile and cloud computing, applications security, supply chain risks and privacy concerns. It also calls for maintaining routine best practices to reduce information security risks while applying state-of-the-practice architecture and engineering principles to minimize the impact of threats such as cyber attacks.

The U.S. Defense Department, the intelligence community and the Committee on National Security Systems developed SP 800-53 as part of the Joint Task Force.

U.S. Army Announces Federal Virtual Challenge Winners

April 25, 2013

U.S. Army Research Laboratory officials have announced the winners of the 2013 Federal Virtual Challenge at the Defense Users’ GameTech Conference in Orlando, Florida. 


The challenge featured two distinct focus areas for entries. The first required training critical thinking and adaptability skills in an immersive environment and measuring learners’ progress. The second focused on improving user interfaces in virtual environments, specifically for individual and group navigation.


The winner of the first focus area and $10,000 was Virtual World Activities—“Compound” from Alice Hayden of H2IT Solutions Incorporated, and Dr. Filomeno Arenas of the U.S. Air Force Squadron Officer College. Compound is a virtual team-building game developed for the college’s Virtual World Activities. Students learn how to lead a team, best delegate and communicate tasks, work together to analyze and adapt to the situation, and make decisions to accomplish a mission. Trainees must be able to communicate effectively with one another and to their navigator—the only person with access to the map showing the location of mines. 


The winner of the navigation focus area and $10,000 was VIPE Holodeck—Navigation Interface by Ryan Frost of the Virtual Immersive Training Team at Northrop Grumman Technical Services. VIPE Holodeck explores the use of the low-cost, commercial off-the-shelf motion capture system, resulting in a method for the user to move easily through a virtual environment that feels natural and is easy to adapt to and learn. This entry provided navigation strategies that support a first-person shooter environment. The user can duck, jump, dodge, run and stop with impressive response time.

U.S. and Australia Share Space Information

April 24, 2013

The U.S. Defense Department has signed a space situational awareness (SSA) memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Australia’s Department of Defence. The MOU permits the the two countries to exchange SSA data, which facilitates transparency and improve flight safety.

Advanced data exchanges support launches, maneuver planning, on-orbit anomaly resolution, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation. In addition, sharing this information assists in identifying launch anomalies and decommissioning activities as well as supports on-orbit conjunction assessments.

Soldiers Prepare for Deployment with WIN-T

April 18, 2013

The U.S. Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, is training with Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 capabilities for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. The nodes will provide the division’s on-the-move network, delivering situational awareness information and enabling mission command. In addition to connecting ground soldiers, the network allows company commanders in vehicles to receive orders in real time from higher headquarters. By incorporating the Army’s handheld, manpack, small form fit AN/PRC-154 Rifleman and two-channel AN/PRC-154 manpack radios, WIN-T creates secure on-the-go networks that connect soldiers at the squad level. The Army ordered 136 additional WIN-T Increment 2 network nodes in December, which brings the total number of network nodes to 532 and extends the reach of the soldier network to the company level.

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