Fresh off supporting two overseas wars, the National Guard is planning for a larger role in military activities on the home front. Cyber is one area where the Guard may be serving a key role, officials said during AFCEA’s JIE Mission Partner Symposium.
Guard and Reserves
Cybersecurity remains a priority for the U.S. Defense Department, with officials protecting resources for it in the face of overall budget constraints. Guidance from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 directs a mission analysis of cybercapabilities not only in the active military, but also across partners, to help forces maintain their edge in protecting the nation.
Technology plays a key role in helping the service adapt to a coming decade filled with uncertainty.
U.S. Army futurists believe that events such as last year’s Arab Spring predict a future that includes fighting not only on land but in cyberspace as well. The Army must do it with a renewed emphasis on using technology to empower commanders and their troops during a looming period of significant fiscal restraints.
U.S. officials tasked with securing routes into and out of the country are beginning to employ a technology that will pull together disparate information in a way that could save their lives or the lives of others. Though it was not designed exclusively for agents trying to control international movements, these personnel are early adopters, using the system to prevent illicit goods, undesirable persons or rampant violence from making its way over national boundaries.
The Tennessee Army National Guard is using a network change and configuration management technology to monitor its networks proactively and warn administrators about potential trouble. The NetMRI system incorporates devices that integrate hardware and software to provide alerts and to allow problems to be remediated immediately. It also enables a small staff to monitor and manage a statewide network consisting of hundreds of nodes and facilities.
The U.S. government is taking a giant leap into the virtual realm with the creation of a parallel world intended for training, education and networking. What began as a platform to improve collaboration of emergency management personnel has evolved into a benefit for all government agencies. The project is government-owned and incorporates techniques and technologies unavailable in civilian efforts, offering a robust, powerful tool for conducting business.
Militaries around the world are partnering with the United States—with an emphasis on “states.” A National Guard Bureau program links states with countries to facilitate the exchange of ideas and practices as well as to form bonds of friendships between nations. The effort has helped countries join NATO, convinced them to participate in coalition activities and expanded into emergency management efforts. The Guard’s stable personnel structure makes it an ideal organization to undertake the task of building long-term relationships with international partners. The expertise gained by the bureau through the project is becoming more desired by the active duty and interagency communities, and now, with its first-ever line of dedicated future funding, the program can plan and expand in ways not possible before.
The U.S. Army is responding to base realignment decisions by combining two major command headquarters into a single state-of-the-art facility. The physical proximity of personnel who already work closely together should enhance collaboration in the command and control of soldiers, but an emphasis on entity individuality will remain. The building itself will contain technologies that combine certain aspects of the two tenant organizations while ensuring that separate identities and capabilities are maintained when necessary.