Nuclear weapons are back in the news. Those concerned about the Middle East watched warily as the United States and others labored to rein in Iran’s budding nuclear ambitions. Interested citizens heard of low morale and troubling disciplinary issues afflicting our nuclear missile launch teams. On a somewhat lighter note, film fans marked 50 years since the premiere of Stanley Kubrick’s satiric gem, Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. We sure do not love the bomb—we never did, really—but we also do not worry much about it these days. Perhaps we should.
China’s activities in space have caught the attention of U.S. and other countries’ officials, altering how personnel must consider the domain. The importance of the area outside of Earth to military operations makes the location critical for any nation looking to put itself into a terrestrial position of power. During 2012, China conducted 18 space launches and upgraded various constellations for purposes such as communications and navigation. China’s recent expansion into the realm presents new concerns for civilian programs and defense assets there.
The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts in a networked software engineering realm.
A network built after its major move to a new base is allowing the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command to link diverse communications systems into an overarching network. This enables capabilities ranging from debugging software updates before they are sent to the front to a multinational exercise for validating operational activities.
Integral Systems Incorporated recently announced that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Strategic Command to provide worldwide interference geolocation services. Under the terms of the contract, the company will provide U.S. Cyber Command, a sub-unified command, with commercial satellite geolocation services.
Whether for military ops, standard communications or a lofty connection linking nations together during crises, space systems are critical. Enhancing the ability to monitor space assets-and to augment them with newer, better equipment-is a major STRATCOM mission. The command continues to move forward and to seek commercial support, but are the requirements clear? Is the acquisition process easily navigable? Share your thoughts here.
Maj. Gen. David B. Lacquement, USA, has been assigned as director of operations, J-3, U.S. Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Maryland.
Maj. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr., USMC, has been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as deputy commander, U.S. Cyber Command.
Security is the lifeblood of Defense Department operations, and the department is making strides to improve connectivity and to keep pace with technology. But can such a far-reaching organization relax its protocol even slightly and still trust that rules will be followed? Will the people involved buy in to the new culture and make it work? Tell us your thoughts, give us your suggestions.
Although the U.S. Defense Department has lifted its ban on the use of thumb drives, the new rule greatly restricts their use and empowers unit commanders with final authority over the application of removable data storage devices. The ruling also reflects an ongoing effort by the military to change its operational culture by raising awareness of cybersecurity issues.
The key to prevailing in a hostile cyberspace environment may lie in the ability to generate a comprehensive picture of that environment. Both the military and the public sector rely heavily on cyberspace assets that are intertwined, and effective threat detection and response will need to encompass both realms.
The team that provides combatant commands with lean, agile, responsive and collaborative thinking has taken on a mission of assessment and analysis of an operational and strategic magnitude. Its goal is to integrate information and analysis into the common operational picture quickly enough to get inside a commanding officer’s decision-making cycle. To achieve this objective, the group is relying on expertise that is available not only in the military but also in industry and academia.
"Once you put that information into a PowerPoint format, that plan is almost immediately stale. Weather continues to change; intelligence updates might continue to come in; there might be impacts to some of the sorties suggested. All of those cannot be captured in a manual PowerPoint presentation unless you have someone there constantly updating it."--Stacy Furcini, ISPAN division chief