After five and a half years in which you have entrusted in me a leadership position at AFCEA International, it is now time for me to step down as president and chief executive officer.
A new class of mechanical devices with embedded electronics will allow personnel to access maintenance panels and equipment in aircraft and other platforms rapidly and without the use of tools. The technology permits the remote closing, locking and unlocking of fasteners via wireless handheld devices. The fasteners also are equipped with sensors to report their status and that of the structures immediately surrounding them, offering the potential for smart logistics and vehicle diagnostic systems.
People and materiel soon may be moving across the ocean much more quickly and outrunning torpedoes in the process. A developmental technology will use supercavitation to move underwater vessels at high speeds. In addition to the rapid rate, the project aims to sustain that pace over long periods of time and to maintain control and steering of the watercraft.
Warfighters soon may turn to the sun to recharge their battlefield electronics. The U.S government is developing highly efficient solar cells that will be built into batteries and tactical equipment such as night vision goggles, personal navigation devices and radios. The effort seeks to cut the number of spare batteries carried by soldiers to save weight and reduce logistics requirements.
Bringing the network to warfighters will be futile without a source of energy to feed the numerous devices they will rely on for survival and lethality. Today's fast-paced high-technology battlespace is screaming for long-lasting, lightweight batteries, and the U.S. Army is answering the call by exploring battery chemistries and smart batteries as well as working with equipment designers. In some areas, the service has made great advances; in others, it is still waiting for the technological improvements that industry promised years ago.
Running a key sector in one of the world's largest information technology companies may not seem to have much in common with automobile repair. But one corporate leader draws from that discipline to drive a group that has undergone a complete overhaul since a serious breakdown little more than a decade ago.
The next new aircraft to roll out of the U.S. Air Force hangar may be a powered sensor. Scientists at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, have developed radar arrays that can serve as aircraft skin and as structural components. Their research is opening up entirely new radar capabilities as well as materials advances.
The U.S. Air Force is taking a holistic approach to its information technology upgrades. In addition to networking information, the Air Force is networking its programs to improve interoperability and efficiency.
The U.S. Air Force is reorganizing its intelligence community to connect the dots before moving information to the decision maker and the warfighter. The ongoing reorganization is eliminating bureaucratic layers and improving communication among diverse elements responsible for designing and delivering intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Advancements in human modeling soon could improve how military troops train and prepare for missions as well as enhance leaders' abilities to predict how foreign cultures will react to their actions. Scientists and researchers from the military, private industry and academia are examining how to depict accurately human reactions from a variety of cultures, how to store this information in a database to make it accessible for new developments and how to keep costs and time lines reasonable. Many experts in the human modeling field expect major enhancements and new uses in the next few years.
Advanced software tools and simulators are allowing hundreds of U.S. Air Force personnel to train together in cyberspace. The agency responsible for managing these electronic events also maintains interoperability standards for automated training applications and integrates the latest technologies into its models and simulations.
Soldiers are receiving better and more convenient simulated training as developers work to increase the scalability and accessibility of their products. Troops are benefiting from training tools they can load onto personal laptops and take anywhere instead of being forced to visit a major simulation facility. The result is that warfighters no longer have to leave a mission to conduct a simulation or to wait for simulation centers to have an opening on their calendar.
A ship sailing inside a building, a periscope view on a PC and F-18 pilots located thousands of miles apart yet flying in formation are just some of the new teaching tools simulators now are enabling for the U.S. Navy. Computing advances and that touch of illusion that only the entertainment industry can create immerse both new and experienced sailors in virtual environments that suspend reality and convince them that what they see, smell, hear and feel truly surrounds them. The opportunities these capabilities offer are melding the Navy's training and operational environments and shrinking the time from learning to doing.
In a Naval Institute Press publication, Inside the Iron Works: How Grumman's Glory Days Faded, George Skurla, the former chief executive officer of Grumman Aerospace, and William H. Gregory describe the failures and downfall, 30 years ago, of one of our leading naval aviation manufacturers. After reading this obituary it is easy to draw parallels to the specter that has befallen many current defense companies and acquisition guardians. We all recognize that there are many other factors responsible—congressional political influence, policy dictums, service secretaries and chiefs of service. But doesn't anyone realize that the U.S. Defense Department is suffocating under unaffordable cost overruns, catastrophic failures in engineering design, poor manufacturing quality and incompetent technical government oversight?