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May 2008

Timing is Everything

May 16, 2008

Cyber threats are like rust—they never sleep. Somewhere, whether here at home or in some far-flung corner of the world, people ranging from thrill-seeking hackers to state-sponsored terrorists are cooking up new, more powerful, more insidious attacks. Some—far too many—of these will be successful. A typical reaction to such frightening news is … a yawn.

OK, then, let’s look at some statistics. According to a 2007 report by Gen. James (Hoss) Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, there were 37,000 reported breaches of government and private systems in FY 2007 (ending September ’07). That averages to approximately 101 successful attacks a day or around four every hour. There were nearly 13,000 direct assaults on federal agencies, and 80,000 attempted computer network attacks on Defense Department (DoD) systems. That averages to approximately 219 attempted assaults on DoD every day, or around nine every hour. According to that report, some of those assaults “reduced the U.S. military operational capabilities.”

In a top 10 list of cyber threats published by the SANS Institute, an industry leader in cyber security, the first two items were “Increasingly sophisticated Web site attacks that exploit browser vulnerabilities—especially on trusted Web sites” and “Increasing sophistication and effectiveness in bot-nets.”

Creating a New Mobile and Virtual Work Force

May 2008
By Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., USAF

It seems today that everyone is going mobile and virtual in conducting business. Military forces on the move are being given better access to critical information needed to conduct military operations, and business leaders are almost constantly connected to others in their fast-moving, daily business lives. Not long ago, we thought that being able to plug into a data stream at a wall socket was pretty agile and “high-speed.” However, we’re quickly moving into an era where wireless connectivity and virtual presence are provided almost everywhere we travel. Most people I pass on the street today are connected to someone on the other end of a powerful handheld communication device.

DISA Grows as Network Centricity Matures

May 2008
By Kent R. Schneider

We all know the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) as the agency that grew out of its predecessor—the Defense Communications Agency (DCA)—to manage a full range of information technology systems and services for the Defense Department. But more than a name change took place since that transition. The DISA of today bears little resemblance to the organization that took on this expanded mission.

Information Sharing Raises More Questions Than Answers

May 2008
By Charlotte Adams

Information silos and data hoarding are more than annoyances—they cost lives and disrupt missions. Although government leaders understand the need to share information, not only among agencies but with allies and the private sector, progress has been slow and uneven.

National Security Infrastructure Takes Shape

May 2008
By Henry S. Kenyon

The United States learned a series of painful lessons in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It became immediately evident that federal, state and government agencies at all levels had to share information more efficiently. The founding of the Department of Homeland Security was a key step toward coordinating communications and cooperation between the various components of the government. But the scale of the effort meant that creating a national information-sharing architecture would take many years to establish.

Portability Is Profitability In Radio Software

May 2008
By Adam Baddeley

Wireless air interface protocol stack technology created by an Australian firm is receiving development funding from In-Q-Tel, an independent strategic investment group launched by the Central Intelligence Agency. This funding aims to bring new technologies to the U.S. intelligence community.

Smart Missile Ready for Action

May 2008
By Henry S. Kenyon

A missile upgrade kit will allow U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft to attack mobile targets precisely while limiting collateral damage. Applied to a combat-proven high-speed missile, the modifications permit pilots to select specific areas to attack and to designate restricted zones within a target area. The enhancements allow the military to convert a relatively specialized radar-seeking missile into a multipurpose attack weapon.

Web 2.0 Means Business

May 2008
By Maryann Lawlor

Social networking and other Web 2.0 capabilities are creating new avenues for commerce by facilitating communication inside the corporate structure and extending collaboration beyond company walls. Key to making the most out of new technology, however, is determining corporate goals before throwing a new tool into the mix. When chosen and applied judiciously, nearly every Web 2.0 weapon—from to wikis—can play meaningful and profitable roles within any company.

Robots, Sensors Key To Future Anti-Mine Warfare Plans

May 2008
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Navy is working hard to keep humans out of minefields. The service is developing a host of autonomous and air-deployed capabilities to detect and neutralize mines at sea and in littoral zones. These systems, which are now entering service, will reduce and ultimately eliminate the need for divers to disarm and destroy mines in person.

Commercial Technologies Manage Navy Networking

May 2008
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is turning over the modernization of a shipboard network system to private industry to speed the introduction of new technologies and capabilities. The upgrades currently being introduced into the system help bring ship networks into the Web 2.0 era and provide the flexibility to accommodate more communications advances as they are incorporated into the fleet.


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