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Guest Blogs

Open Data Initiative: Providing Fresh Ideas on Securely Sharing Information

August 30, 2013
By Paul Christman and Jamie Manuel

For years, the Defense department took a “do it alone” posture when it came to sharing information and protecting its networks and communication infrastructures from security attacks. Now in an interconnected world of reduced budgets and ever-increasing security risks, the DOD is fundamentally changing the way it approaches information sharing and cybersecurity. 

Guest Blog: Lowering Walls and Blurring Lines

April 12, 2013
By Dr. Louis S. Metzger

The latest Incoming column from Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN, titled “Link Warfighters to Technologists at the Lowest Possible Level” (SIGNAL Magazine, April 2013), resonated with observations I’ve made and conclusions I’ve reached over the years. I’ve been involved with the research and development and acquisition communities for a long time, including serving as the Air Force chief scientist from 1999 to 2001. Perhaps my adding to Lt. Kohlmann’s advice will help it gain additional traction, and stimulate further discussion and activity.

Leveraging technology to provide our military with improved capability requires diverse insights, multiple skills and varied roles. The insights cover current understanding of user needs, the operational environment, and the potential of existing and emerging technology. The skills span science and engineering, contracting, testing and training. And the roles include requirements developer, laboratory investigator, acquirer and support provider. The realities of specialization demand that multiple communities come together to provide all these ingredients. Unfortunately, interpretation of rules, processes and culture have built walls, and suspicion between different communities to the extent that the teamwork and collaboration needed to expeditiously develop and field new capabilities often islacking.

Guest Blog: Budget Impact on Developing COTS Systems

March 25, 2013
By Michael Carter

The current driving force in the military and defense environment is to keep legacy systems operating longer, or the replacement of legacy systems with new systems that emulate one or more legacy systems with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. However, there is insufficient budget to fund development of these COTS systems, and the burden of development falls upon private industry. The current sequestration environment adds another burden on industry to perform to the needs of the military, but without the benefit of nonrecurring engineering (NRE) costs being reimbursed. Programs although already funded (but not the NRE, as it is not initially funded) are being put on hold, cancelled, or are in a state of non-deterministic outcome.

Military and defense program managers and private industry face an uphill battle to find the intersection of needs, available resources and the expenditure of development costs. Small companies are at a distinct disadvantage when they develop technology to support the replacement of legacy systems when they are forced to use their own development resources without compensation and are not awarded a contract for production.

Whether a fixed-price, cost-plus, or IDIQ contract, the above scenario is increasingly commonplace in the face of budget constraints and sequestration. The burden on small companies doesn’t stop there; military program managers are also demanding engineering support without compensation for engineering-sustaining efforts, again without the presence of a production contract.

Although many systems are characterized as COTS, there are demands on the developer to perform military environment qualification testing, again without funding and no guarantee of a production contract.

Law Enforcement in the Cloud

March 14, 2013
By Rick Hansen

The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program recently implemented a simplified sign-on capability that enables federal, state and local law enforcement to collaborate.

 

The Most Important Things

June 11, 2012
By Dan Ward

 The Air Force Chief of Staff had but three critical requirements for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM): "It should work; it should hit the target; and it should cost under $40,000 each." If only every requirements document could fit on a sticky note!

Memorial Day Musings

May 25, 2012
By Jonathan Cisneros

For those who have lost their lives and for the Wounded Warriors that now have long roads to recovery, we owe them the homage and the support they ultimately deserve.

Health Care 'Big Data' Is a Big Opportunity to Address Data Overload

April 11, 2012
By Roger Foster, SIGNAL Scape Guest Blogger

We are drowning in health care data, but remain thirsty for information. Driven by federal incentives, public and private healthcare institutions have generated billions of electronic health records (EHRs), rich with clinical and demographic data. This data can be aggregated and analyzed to improve scientific research, drug safety and overall public health. However, the growth in health care data is so fast that issues surrounding data storage, integrity, modeling and sharing can diminish its tremendous potential. Guest blogger Roger Foster of DRC looks at this important health IT issue.

5 New Year's Cyber Resolutions for Federal Agencies

December 21, 2011
By Dan Barber

From securing the cloud to unwrapping new architecture compliance requirements, 2011 was a busy year for the tech public sector. In the New Year's spirit of renewal and rededication, here are 5 resolutions federal agencies should make.

Information Leaks Can Sink Agencies

December 2, 2011
By Prenston Gale

Thousands of data breaches occur as a result of internal information leakage rather than an outside attack. There is a critical need to further educate government personnel on how to keep sensitive information secure. Guest blogger Prenston Gale weighs in with insight on how to achieve this important goal.

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