Defense Operations

March 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
Providing a reliable cloud computing infrastructure is critical for completing missions on the modern-day battlefield.

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.

Infrastructure-as-a-service clouds are prone to performance anomalies because of their complex nature. But researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) have developed software that monitors a wide array of system-level data in the cloud infrastructure—including memory used, network traffic and computer power usage—to define normal behavior for all virtual machines in the cloud; to detect deviations; and to predict anomalies that could create problems for users.

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

West 2014 Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:

“If Batman had a ship, it would look like the Zumwalt-class destroyer.”—Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

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.

February 7, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has deployed the initial version of its unclassified mobility capability, which will provide military and civilian Defense Department personnel with access to a wide selection of mobile devices, applications and services.

DISA’s Defense Department Mobility Unclassified Capability (DMUC) version 1.0 was released on January 31 and will be built out in increments to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year, according to DISA officials. The program currently supports some 1,800 unclassified mobile devices: the iPad 3 and 4 tablets, iPhone 4s and 5 smart phones, Samsung 10.1 tablets, Samsung 3s and Motorola RAZR. The program also supports 80,000 BlackBerry phones.

January 31, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Scientists and engineers from MITRE Corporation and Harvard University published a paper this week revealing the development of what they call the most dense nanoelectronic system ever built. The ultra-small, ultra-low-power processor could be used for tiny robotics, unmanned vehicles and a broad range of commercial applications, including medical sensors.

February 10, 2014
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Army is changing direction in how it manages systems as recent sustained conflicts draw to a close. Soldiers are moving away from the programs that developed stovepiped network operations (NetOps) solutions for particular needs and domains, transitioning to integrated capability sets.

February 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

All the challenges vexing a modern military—budgetary limitations; information technologies; cyber; and joint and coalition interoperability—are defining operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Covering more than half the Earth’s surface and comprising dozens of nations, the vast area is rife with geopolitical rivalries that complicate efforts at regional security. And, the one domain that knows no geographic bounds—cyberspace—weighs heavily on the success of potential warfighting operations in that region.

February 1, 2014
By Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, USA (Ret.)

Military people like to look at themselves, and it has nothing to do with vanity. Rather, it is about improving, but the attention is not always welcome at the business end. Senior personnel offer the usual advice: Cooperate and learn. Do not be defensive. Looking at ourselves can only make us better, so we go along with it. And often—not always, but enough to matter—we find out important facts we did not know.

February 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter takes off in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army officials estimate the Better Buying Power initiative has saved more than $700 million on Apache and Chinook helicopters.

U.S. military officials may delay the next iteration of the Pentagon’s premier acquisition reform initiative, Better Buying Power 3.0, which likely will continue to improve service acquisition and exportability processes.

February 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
U.S. sailors on the bridge of the USS Ramage monitor a Spanish frigate as it departs Souda Bay during their scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has updated its maritime joint command and control guidance, reflecting changing practices across the fleet. Although the rewrite is part of regularly scheduled reviews, the timing is apt for world conditions. U.S. attention is moving east to a far more watery environment than the one the country has focused on for the last dozen or more years, and contentions among nations for waterway control continue to mount in areas such as the East China Sea.

February 1, 2014
By Kent R. Schneider

This rarely happens, but for 2014, defense and technology analysts are in agreement that big data and cybersecurity are the two drivers in planning and investment for information technology, both in government and in industry. Most everything else will be enabling these two key capabilities. While much attention has been focused on the threats and work being done globally on cybersecurity, I want to focus on big data.

February 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Navy officer communicates with the USS George Washington to coordinate airlift operations during Operation Damayan, the relief effort following the devastating Philippine typhoon in November 2013. Prepositioned equipment and early entry communications gear proved invaluable to rapid disaster relief in the stricken area.

The success of Operation Damayan, the massive Philippines typhoon relief effort by the U.S. Pacific Command, owes as much to preparation as to execution, according to a U.S. official involved in the operation. Military communications equipment designed for easy entry and quick activation provided essential networking capabilities. Longtime multinational and bilateral exercises laid the groundwork for interoperability, both technological and organizational, between U.S. and Philippine armed forces. Commercial technologies, such as local cell systems that survived the storm, proved invaluable for onsite communications. And, U.S.

February 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
An H-60S helicopter conducts deck landing qualifications on USS Milius destroyer off the coast of Guam. Milius was the first ship to begin installing CANES and will serve as the operational testing platform for the next-generation afloat network.

U.S. Navy officials expect to award a full-deployment contract for a new shipboard network this spring, and they plan to install the system on nine ships this year. The network provides commonality across the fleet, replacing multiple aging networks, improving interoperability and driving down costs.

February 1, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon
By fusing data streams from different UAS sensors, the Multi-INT system creates a single map and video image for the operator. The image, combined with the ability to control individual sensors to track different targets, enhances the abilities of smaller tactical UAS platforms.

An upgrade featuring a lightweight sensor and software system added to smaller unmanned vehicles can provide capabilities similar to those available on larger vehicles. As the Defense Department realigns its operational focus to the Pacific, deployable forces, such as special operations teams and Marine Corps expeditionary forces, need high-quality airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. While such capabilities are normally provided by unmanned aircraft such as the MQ-1 Predator, smaller platforms have to meet this need for troops operating in remote areas. These smaller vehicles require fewer personnel and are easier to maintain, but they are also less capable.

December 20, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

A set of rapid entry communications systems formed the core of networking assets for U.S. military forces providing humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations in the Philippines in the wake of the devastating November typhoon. These systems provided scalable links that allowed U.S. forces to interoperate with the Philippine government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in sharing unclassified information.

January 10, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Soldiers involved in the January 6-February 19 Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) will help decide what technologies will be used on the battlefield of tomorrow. The ninth annual exercise, Spiral I, incorporates more than 60 technologies in various stages of development, including Nett Warrior, unmanned aircraft and robotic ground vehicles, all of which are designed to help soldiers do one thing: perform their missions more effectively.

January 1, 2014
By Paul A. Strassmann

The U.S. Defense Department now is advancing into the third generation of information technologies. This progress is characterized by migration from an emphasis on server-based computing to a concentration on the management of huge amounts of data. It calls for technical innovation and the abandonment of primary dependence on a multiplicity of contractors.

January 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
Heavy machinery from the 864th Engineer Battalion, U.S. Central Command Materiel Recovery Element, grade and pack the Afghan dirt as the engineer soldiers reconfigure an old retro sort yard into a material overflow yard.

The retrograde of equipment from Afghanistan requires a monumental effort after almost 13 years of war and an influx of billions of dollars’ worth of materiel to the country. To return the necessary pieces along with personnel from the landlocked location, logisticians around the military are developing creative solutions that offer redundancy. Plans are progressing more smoothly than in Iraq, as experts apply lessons learned and a hub-and-spoke model that allows for a controlled collapsing of installations.

January 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Fiscal constraints and technology evolution are forcing the government to re-evaluate procurement efforts with a renewed vigor. Industry has suggestions for improving processes, but progress will require a different level of dialogue between companies and their public-sector clients. Company leaders believe they can help government overcome some of its issues because they understand both realistic technical solutions as well as the effect policies have on acquisition cycles. But they need the opportunity to show what is available. Government personnel increasingly are calling for that knowledge; however, legal and fair competition concerns often limit meaningful discussion, resulting in misunderstanding and frustration.

January 1, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon
Shrinking defense budgets are forcing many Wester European nations, such as the United Kingdom, to cut back on major weapons platforms such as this Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet and Type 45 Destroyer.

As European military acquisitions are decreasing, the market in Asia and the Middle East is growing. This transition masks underlying complexities in the international defense market. European nations are shifting from buying tanks and fighter jets to purchasing cyberwarfare and networking equipment while Asian militaries consider maritime surveillance platforms, missile defense systems and power projection capabilities, such as submarines and aircraft carriers.

January 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
A 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division Soldier stands before a Stryker vehicle integrated with Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 mobile network equipment and receives data from his handheld Nett Warrior device during last fall’s Network Integration Evaluation 14.1.

The U.S. Army is adjusting its Network Integration Evaluations to facilitate acquisitions more rapidly. Calls from industry and soldiers themselves have precipitated the moves. As companies face reduced funding streams, and technology advances in increasingly shorter intervals, implementing briefer time frames between testing and deployment is imperative to remaining viable on and off the field.

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