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Defense

Georgia Tech Awarded Sensors Development Contract

September 4, 2013
George I. Seffers

Georgia Tech Applied Research Corp., Atlanta, Ga., has been awarded a $24,973,043 cost-plus-fixed-fee, delivery order on an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (HC1047-05-D-4000-0241) for the SENSIAC program executive office for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I), sensors development and integration engineering functions. The contract will explore, through analysis and experimentation, innovative sensor concepts and emerging technologies that will enable improved joint force commander situational awareness and command and control capability. Enterprise Sourcing Group, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity.

New Systems Seek to Connect Troops at the Tip of the Spear

September 4, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

Two ongoing military programs, the ready-to-deploy Solider Network Extension (SNE) and the Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEN) program now in prototype, aim to connect troops at the very tactical edge back to larger military data and communications networks. These programs—one service-oriented, the other an agency effort—are part of the Defense Department’s thrust to make warfighters, especially individual soldiers in small units, more connected.

Information Age Leadership Requires a New Type of Boldness

September 1, 2013
By Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN

 

Bureaucracies are slow to change, and few may be more anemic than the military services. With a foundational and personnel structure optimized for the Cold War and the industrial age, this unfortunate reality is acutely evident as the information age accelerates into ever more complex manifestations.

While some leadership principles remain constant regardless of the era, quite a few must be adapted to the realities of their time. Some of the characteristics already have defined, and will continue to define, effective 21st century military leadership.

One such characteristic is the ability to look outside traditional vertical hierarchies. The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and relational networks are being fostered from Internet-based social networks that span ages and ranks. Technology is replacing itself at an increasing rate, so traditional definitions of expertise that rely on seniority are less relevant.

Very often, younger generations have a better ability to interact with technology than their more experienced senior leadership. These digital natives often will recognize capabilities and new avenues of application more quickly than their older leaders. However, traditional hierarchical structures with numerous levels of interference between the deckplate operator and senior decision maker stifle solutions that could transform an operation.

More than ever, senior commanders need to embrace crowdsourcing options and direct engagement with creative, entrepreneurial, lower-level subordinates. This could be accomplished by establishing command innovation cells characterized by open dialogue with no fear of reprisal, followed by action taken on recommendations. These are great ways to empower more junior personnel to take ownership and make an impact.

Eyeing Next-Generation Biometrics

September 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The FBI is on schedule to finish implementing next-generation biometric capabilities, including palm, iris and face recognition, in the summer of next year. New technology processes data more rapidly, provides more accurate information and improves criminal identification and crime-solving abilities.

Identity Technology Breakthroughs Impact National Security

September 1, 2013
BY Rita Boland

Scientists are enabling DNA analysis to function as a virtual sketch artist to figure out who people are and what they look like even in situations with no eyewitnesses. The developments have particular application to counterterrorism but could affect a wider array of fields as well. Even more importantly, the personnel are developing bioinformatic software solutions databases to manage quick interpretation of data for usability.

Transforming NATO's Information Technology Architecture

September 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

NATO officials are laying the groundwork for a centralized enterprise networking architecture with invitations to bid expected to be released by year’s end. The new approach is expected to offer a number of benefits, including cost savings, improved network reliability, enhanced cybersecurity and greater flexibility for warfighters.

Officials at the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency kicked off the alliancewide effort in August of last year shortly after the agency was created. The initial goal was simply to examine the alliance’s information technology infrastructure, how it could be modernized, where efficiencies could be gained and how to make the business case for modernization. The NCI Agency partnered with the Network Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC) for the study. “We didn’t want to take just an academic view or an internal belly-button look. We wanted to get industry involved and find out what is within the realm of possibility today,” says Peter Lenk, chief, Capability Area Team Seven, NCI Agency.

The result will be a historical transition for the alliance. “We are for the first time, or one of the first times in NATO, looking at things as an enterprise. We’re starting to try to consolidate things across traditional boundaries,” Lenk says. “Through the creation of the NCI Agency, which has a mandate across all of the components of NATO, now we have within our grasp the ability to do this, and we can clearly see the advantages.”

Telecommunications Leaves Mark on Afghanistan

September 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

A massive telecommunications infrastructure modernization effort in Afghanistan is designed to contribute to socioeconomic development; provide entry into the global information society; and support national prosperity, sustainability and stability. A key part of that effort is coming to fruition: officials with a telecommunications advisory group in that country expect the completion very soon—possibly this month—of a fiber-optic ring around the nation’s perimeter.

Army Signal Expands Its Reach

September 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Army Signal Corps is expanding the work its personnel conduct while dealing with technology and operational challenges that both help and hinder its efforts. On the surface, Army signal is facing the common dilemma afflicting many other military specialties—it must do more with fewer resources.

Defining 
Spatial 
Privacy

September 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

 

The exponential expansion of geolocation technology throughout all levels of society is presenting a range of challenges for policy makers eager to take advantage of the benefits while protecting personal privacy. Unfortunately, much of the discussion surrounding the challenges is fragmented or lacking in authority.

The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy aims to change all that by representing legal considerations within the geospatial community. Kevin Pomfret, executive director of the center, served as a satellite imagery analyst for the government for six years before attending law school. During his studies, he remained interested in remote sensing and representing clients in that area. The field is fraught with potential because of the many issues surrounding geolocation especially. People increasingly are using the technology for a variety of applications, meaning legal and policy concerns will grow in number over concerns such as privacy, data ownership, data quality and national security. “I started to attend trade shows and saw there weren’t any lawyers there, which was unusual,” Pomfret explains.

When he realized the community was underserved from a legal standpoint, he set out to educate its members on concerns that do and will impact them legally. The center he established also aims to give stakeholders a seat at the table as laws and policies are developed as well as to educate policy makers.

Policy making often involves weighing risk against benefit. Unfortunately, many of the people in a position to make decisions lack the background to fully understand the value of spatial data. By connecting them to the experts in related industries, awareness of the important facets grow.

Bringing Together Signal and Cyber

September 1, 2013
By Paul A. Strassmann

In his June interview with SIGNAL Magazine, Gen. Keith B. Alexander advocated bringing together the signal community, signals intelligence and the cyber community. In that interview, he said, “We need to think of ourselves not as signals, not as intelligence, not as cyber, but instead as a team that puts us all together.” Yet, that goal raises several questions. How can these concepts be achieved? How can a combination of more than 15,000 system enclaves from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force become interoperable? What technologies are needed in the next five years while insufficient budgets make consolidations difficult?

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