Cybersecurity is becoming a critical issue for both government and industry—and for good reason. A dangerous combination of cyber-related activity is growing daily around us. This includes dependence on technology, skyrocketing cyber crime and terrorism, and vulnerabilities hidden by the complexities of an interconnected, global network. In government, industry and our personal lives, we have growing cyber dependence because that is how we are able to better perform missions, conduct business operations and lead our daily lives.
A number of you in government and industry have told us that AFCEA should provide smaller, more interactive forums focused on critical issues. We have listened and created a new series of events called Solutions. You should have begun to see some communications regarding these new events. I think the introduction of this new series of forums is such a critical milestone for AFCEA and such an opportunity for our membership that I should explain why this series of events is fundamentally different from anything we have done before.
Confusion is common in disaster relief operations. Destruction of infrastructure, inefficient coordination among participating organizations and lack of interoperability between communications systems contribute to the operational fog that surrounds first responders. Crisis management services help abate the confusion in such operations by providing interoperable equipment and software that can be deployed quickly for various scenarios.
The U.S. Air Force is preparing to defend national airspace against a variety of airborne terrorist threats such as hijacking and missile attacks. To achieve this goal, the service has modified its training and simulation software toolkit to model the crowded skies over the United States. This new capability also permits Air Force commands to train jointly with federal and state law enforcement and civil aviation agencies and to simulate operating in a network-centric communications and sensor environment.
The increased operational tempo for special operations forces over recent years has mandated a new training plan for their aircrew. In an effort to transition fully qualified crew members to the field faster and to accommodate upcoming airframe changes, various agencies have come together to fund and update a major U.S. Air Force instruction program.
The creation of virtual worlds and robots is spiraling out from the military into a broad array of applications. While the defense community continues to advance its technology to offer better instruction and to improve the safety of troops, other fields of interest—ranging from the technical to the personal—are beginning to use similar tools to meet their needs.
A new world is emerging from cyberspace as U.S. Army simulations draw from innovative technologies coming out of the private sector. These advances are allowing planners to build simulations that can model causes and effects of asymmetric warfare similar to what troops are experiencing in Southwest Asia.
The Web 2.0 revolution is as much about business culture as it is about social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Second Life and LinkedIn or collaborative content sites such as Wikipedia. Faced with a growing number of employees from the Gen X or Gen Y age groups, baby boomer executives are learning to let go of traditional thinking while simultaneously trying to discover the best way to adopt new capabilities without losing all control. As a result, organizations find themselves turning not only to technology providers but also to firms that specialize in integration.
A system that combines U.S. Navy and Coast Guard requirements for port security may be the key to securing harbors against maritime threats. Built largely with off-the-shelf technologies, the system can allow officials to monitor ship traffic by combining database knowledge with real-time sensor input.
With the possibility of a nuclear attack within the United States still very real, developers from the government and private industry are working to create radiation detectors that will yield more accurate results from greater distances. Building on technology created for fields such as astrophysics and nuclear medicine, the homeland security community wants to create tools that will stop the “bad guys” before they reach their destinations.
Some of the most forward-thinking minds in the U.S. Defense Department that regularly tackle the tough tactical problems in the Global War on Terrorism are applying their innovative ideas at home. These architects who design the latest military approaches to defeating the enemy are assisting combatant commands, specifically the U.S. Northern Command, to determine the best ways to support homeland defense. In addition, these experts are ferreting out the most ideal balance for the department in its support to civil authorities. Recent experiments that demonstrate technical capabilities are bridging the gap between the military, other government agencies and civilian organizations by facilitating information sharing and creating critical partnerships that are essential during times of crisis.
Defending the critical infrastructure of the United States is a difficult and complex job. Federal agencies are tasked with determining the security of a variety of interconnected systems, which can affect entire regions—or the whole nation—in a catastrophic cascade of failures in the event of a major disaster or terrorist attack.
The U.S. Air Force is laying both physical and virtual groundwork for its newest warfighting organization, the Air Force Cyberspace Command. This unique group will have a physical headquarters, but it will be virtual in nature, with most of its personnel distributed across several bases.