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Guard and Reserves

The U.S. Army Peers 
Into the Future

April 1, 2013
By Max Cacas

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.

The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Fort Eustis, Virginia, released the U.S. Army Capstone Concept last December, a 34-page document that is an attempt by the service to define its role in the post-Afghan War era and provide a framework for how to fulfill that role. In the foreword, Gen. Robert W. Cone, USA, commanding general of TRADOC, writes that the capstone concept outlines the future operational environment, the role of the Army in the joint American military force and, finally, what capabilities and resources they will need to complete their mission. “Greater speed, quantity and reach of human interaction and increased access to military capabilities make the operational environment more unpredictable and complex, driving the likelihood and consequence of disorder,” Gen. Cone states. As a long-range plan that defines where the Army wants to be in the year 2020, the Army Capstone Concept (ACC) is heavy on context and analysis and leaves details and implementation to constituent commands.

Better Visibility for Border Security

February 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

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 Global Information Network Architecture (GINA) is a system of systems that draws in information from many stovepiped sources regardless of their coding or programming. Originally, GINA was developed through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Xslent LLC Technologies. The work since has transferred to a CRADA between Big Kahuna Technologies LLC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center. The NPS now works with GINA through a version licensed to the U.S. government or through a standing contract with Big Kahuna Technologies for the DOD [Defense Department] Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process version.

GINA employs a hybrid methodology that leverages model-based architecture and component-based development—two major approaches to contemporary software development. According to a paper titled “GINA: System Interoperability for Enabling Smart Mobile System Services in Network Decision Support Systems,” written by project personnel, both approaches aim at reducing, if not eliminating, the amount of coding required to develop a system.

Move Brings Two High-Level Organizations Into One Edifice

July 2009
By Rita Boland

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.

Good Defenses Make Good Neighbors

July 2009
By Rita Boland

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.

Alternate Universe Opens New Horizons to Agencies

July 2009
By Rita Boland

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.

Network Tool Protects Guard Assets

July 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

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.

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