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science and technology

DHS Science and Technology Directorate Unveils Goals

October 22, 2014

Reginald Brothers, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) undersecretary for science and technology, today announced the new visionary goals for the department’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate.

Concerns, Potential Breakthroughs Highlight Intelligence Technology Goals

September 22, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Emerging and evolving threats join potential innovations as the drivers for intelligence technology development.

Radioisotope Research 
May Revolutionize 
Battlefield Batteries

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Army researchers are developing batteries powered by radioisotopes that could last for decades, or longer. The long-lived power sources could lighten the logistics load on the battlefield and energize sensors and communications nodes for extended periods, offering enhanced situational awareness and opening up operational options for warfighters that do not exist today.

Authenticating Who You are Online

September 18, 2013
By Rita Boland

Cyberspace has security problems, and the U.S. government is trying to do something about it. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is promoting a plan and taking actions to move citizens beyond usernames and passwords to more powerful methods of authentication. In recent years, massive data theft has occurred in the cyber realm. Even strong passwords are vulnerable to hackers.

Identities are difficult to verify online, forcing many government and civilian transactions to occur in person to satisfy security needs. Furthermore, the complexity of having multiple passwords for myriad accounts means that many people abandon using certain Web services instead of going through the process to recover passwords they forget. Trusted identification could provide the foundation for a solution, explained Dr. Michael Garcia, deputy director, NSTIC National Program Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), at the Biometric Consortium Conference.

To illustrate his point, Garcia explained that the U.S. Defense Department’s intrusion rate dropped 46 percent after the organization banned passwords in favor of common access cards with public key infrastructure. Costs, policy and other barriers prevent certain groups from following this model, however. The NSTIC has within it the idea of an identity ecosystem that will improve online trust. Officials believe the marketplace exists for such technology. Industry will lead the way with government serving as a convener, facilitator and catalyst, Garcia said. The private sector must determine how to build an ecosystem in which it can swap out technologies for various reasons.

U.S. Navy Announces 2014 Laser Deployment Plans

April 8, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Citing a series of technological breakthroughs, Navy leaders announced plans April 8 to deploy for the first time a solid-state laser aboard a ship in fiscal year 2014. The Office of Naval Research released a video of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), a technology demonstrator built by the Naval Sea Systems Command. LaWS uses commercial fiber solid state lasers and can be directed onto targets from the radar track obtained from a MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon system or other targeting source. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, described directed energy initiatives, especially the solid-state laser as “among our highest priority science and technology programs,” adding that the solid-state laser program is "central to our commitment to quickly deliver advanced capabilities to forward-deployed forces.” 

DHS Awards 34 Cyber Research and Development Contracts

October 29, 2012
George I. Seffers

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has awarded 34 contracts to 29 academic and research organizations for research and development of solutions to cyber security challenges. The contracts were awarded by the DHS S&T Cyber Security Division (CSD) under Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) 11-02 which solicited proposals in 14 technical topic areas aimed at improving security in federal networks and across the Internet while developing new and enhanced technologies for detecting, preventing and responding to cyber attacks on the nation’s critical information infrastructure. Four of these contracts include co-funding from international partners ­ two from the United Kingdom and two from Australia. Negotiations are currently underway for additional international co-funding from partner agencies in Canada, Sweden and The Netherlands.

Robot Looks and Leaps

December 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

A lightweight robot that can leap more than 20 feet horizontally and vertically could be fielded within a year if funding is made available. By enhancing situational awareness during urban combat operations, the robot has the potential to lower casualties both for civilians and for friendly forces fighting their way through a city environment.

Step-by-Step, Marching to the Smart Grid

August 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Magazine

It is a project that most officials and power industry leaders acknowledge will take 20 to 30 years. But already, government and industry representatives involved in upgrading the United States’ electrical infrastructure to the highly anticipated smart grid are reporting success in developing some of the first standards for the long-term nationwide project.

Robotics Research Gives Life to Artificial Limbs

April 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army is giving soldiers who have lost limbs a higher quality of life, including allowing some to remain on active duty or to return to combat if they choose. In part because of research conducted through the Army’s Advanced Prosthetics and Human Performance program, individuals who have lost limbs are jumping out of airplanes or commanding troops in combat.

Fiber Enables Battlefield Radio Transmissions

July 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

New fiber optic technology is allowing warfighters to place antennas far away from their radio systems. This capability can both provide greater protection from attack and increase radio signal range.

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