It’s impossible these days to attend a U.S. Defense Department information technology presentation without repeated mentions of the Joint Information Environment (JIE). But industry representatives often ask, “What does JIE mean to me?” I did some digging into the environment—leveraging the expertise of the AFCEA Technology Committee, discussions with several senior defense information technology leaders and insights from colleagues at my firm who participated in JIE Increment 1 in Europe.
Romania has opted to extend its force modernization period rather than cut important purchases as it deals with its version of the global budget crisis. Despite suffering from the severe economic downturn that began more than five years ago, the Black Sea country continues to upgrade its military with the goal of being a significant security force in an uncertain region.
The U.K. Royal Navy has re-established itself as a world-class force in the area of maritime air defense through the launch of its new destroyers, the most advanced ships the British ever have sent to sea. The latest of the vessels recently returned from its maiden deployment, proving not only the capabilities of its class but also its own flexibility and adaptability.
NATO’s efforts to defend against terrorism now are focusing on cyberspace as a tool of terrorists instead of merely as a vulnerability for striking at alliance nations and their critical infrastructure. These efforts cover aspects of cyber exploitation that range from understanding terrorists’ behavior to how they might use social media.
Europe’s defense markets have been contracting for the past decade because of the continent’s financial crisis and national priorities shifting away from military spending. But while fewer tanks and fighter jets are being acquired, money is being spent on modernizing computers and communications equipment—a trend that will continue into the foreseeable future, according to an industry analyst.
Software developed by university researchers accurately predicts cloud computing issues before they occur, enhancing reliability; cutting costs; potentially improving cybersecurity; and saving lives on the battlefield.
The budget reductions that will be a fact of military life for the foreseeable future promise to impel dramatic changes in force structure and military operations. Ongoing needs such as high technology and overseas commitments offer the possibility of being both challenges and solutions, as planners endeavor to plan around a smaller but, hopefully, more capable force.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc., San Diego, recently announced its Micro Systems Inc. subsidiary of its Advanced Drone and Targets Systems Division recently received a four-year Basic Ordering Agreement from the U.S. Navy valued at up to $29.6 million for unmanned aerial drone command and control systems and services. Kratos can be issued orders to provide engineering support and develop upgrades to unmanned aerial drone command and control electronics and related ground control stations over the next four years.
Data Link Solutions LLC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $24,996,802 firm-fixed-price-incentive, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Multi-functional Information Distribution System (MIDS) on Ship (MOS) Modernization (MOS MOD). This contract covers the development, fabrication, integration, testing and delivery of MOS MOD systems, which will be developed to support both the MIDS Joint Tactical Radio System and the MIDS low volume terminal four for shipboard applications.
L-3 Communications Corp., Communication Systems West, Salt Lake City, Utah, has been awarded a $17,919,946 delivery order (0003) on an existing firm-fixed-price and cost-reimbursable contract (FA8620-13-G-4051) for supply of Satellite Communications Terminals, Test and Monitor Sub-Systems, Satellite Earth Terminal Sub-Systems (SETTS) Site Monitor and Radomes for the United States, United Kingdom and France. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Medium Altitude Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
Large defense budget cuts are imperiling efforts to retain quality people in the military, according to several military leaders. Career paths are becoming more difficult as promotion options drop, and programs that focus on quality of life risk being cut back, which could hasten the exodus from a force already dealing with significant reductions.
Military and civilian pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II praise its performance and are optimistic about its superiority in the future battlespace. However, even with fixes that have been made, some issues need to be addressed and support crew will need to adopt new ways of maintaining the flight line, these pilots say.
The Tuesday luncheon speaker at West 2014, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute and being held February 11-13 in San Diego, demonstrated his view of the potential for innovative technologies by donning the latest in visual display systems.
The U.S. Navy is counting on industry to provide the leading-edge information technologies that it will need to maintain superiority for the foreseeable future. Yet, if those technologies do not meet specific and broad-reaching criteria, they will not be serving the Navy, according to a Navy fleet commander.
Business as usual will weaken rather than strengthen the U.S. military in this time of budget cuts. The force must rely on technology development to ensure that it does not maintain current force sizes at the expense of enablers.
The U.S. military must make difficult decisions that will define the force for years to come amid a substantial risk to readiness and effectiveness, according to a Defense Department official. The nation faces new challenges throughout the world coupled with severe budget cuts at home, and the response to these issues must be taken carefully with a long-term strategic look.
Elbit Systems Ltd., Haifa, Israel, announced today that it was awarded an Israeli Ministry of Defense contract, in the amount of approximately $23 million, for the operation and maintenance of its ground simulators in use by the Israeli ground forces. The 5-year contract includes a variety of simulators, both fixed and mobile, dedicated to training for tanks, armored combat vehicles, driving simulators, intelligence training and other applications.
Navmar Applied Sciences Corp., Warminster, Pa., is being awarded a $12,500,411 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development of a Biometric Identity Approval Sentinel that produces technology that rapidly processes individuals for threat detection and biometric matching. This project will provide a fully integrated, highly accurate, configurable, and deployable solution that combines current and new technologies to dramatically increase the safety, speed, and efficiency of access control.
Thales has signed a five-year contract with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence to provide support for the Sonar 2050 anti-submarine sensor used on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate fleet. Sonar 2050 is a medium-range bow sonar currently fitted to thirteen Type 23 frigates and is the Royal Navy’s primary hull-mounted anti- submarine warfare sensor. It also provides the ship with passive detection capabilities at lower frequencies.