February 2009

February 2009

Making sure your computer system satisfactorily goes through Information Assurance (IA) Certification and Accreditation (C&A) is the same as getting your car inspected. It ensures your system meets the official minimum security and IA maintenance standards. It also prevents equipment failures and crashes on the vital and very congested Army information superhighway, the LandWarNet.

February 2009
By Christopher J. Dorobek

It has become a truism that the federal government is awash with waste, fraud and abuse. Over the years, that widely held belief has spurred the creation of an entire oversight industry. This includes the inspectors general, the so-called good-government groups, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and, of course, the news media.

February 2009
By Charlotte Adams

Cyberspace, the virtual domain existing within the chips and wires of computer networks, may be the front line of the next big battle. A clash there may not be decisive, but it could be over in less than a second. As to whether the United States is as prepared as it ought to be, the answer appears to be no. According to government and industry experts, U.S. forces are just beginning their learning curve. The message is that it is time to beef up defenses, partner with the private sector, train the work force and educate the public about the dangers the country faces.

February 2009
By Kent R. Schneider

One of SIGNAL Magazine’s focus topics this month is Southwest Asia. This area of the world receives nearly continuous attention in the global security community because of several reasons: the ongoing conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the growing threat from Iran, the strategic importance of this region of the world and, most recently, the combat between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. In fact, this volatile region has seized the attention of the Free World for decades. Issues in this area will demand continued focus for decades to come.

February 2009
By Michael A. Robinson

One could forgive Paul Domorski for running a little scared. How else can people describe an executive whose guiding business book is none other than Only the Paranoid Survive by former Intel Chairman Andy S. Grove?

February 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

One of Europe’s industrial powerhouses is distributing its advanced research and manufacturing capabilities beyond their traditional geographic areas. In the past decade, Italy has enacted legislation to promote the creation of new businesses and laboratories across the nation. By spreading development to new areas, the Italian government hopes to spur economic development locally while creating new technologies and markets for aerospace and defense systems.

February 2009
By Robert K. Ackerman

Italy is moving toward a defense transformation that involves nonmilitary governmental organizations as well as traditional forces. Recognizing that many defense and homeland security activities are cross-functional, the Mediterranean nation is building a network-centric architecture that will connect all of its military elements along with civil security equivalents.

February 2009
By Rita Boland

As the military world continues its march toward network centricity, software developers are making strides toward better collaboration as well. A project expected to roll out in the next few months will connect disparate researchers, allowing them to share ideas and products. This open-source idea swapping takes practices already in place in the private sector and moves them into the defense arena with the aim of accelerating production time while reducing costs. The purpose is to enable the rapid development and certification of products for the Global Information Grid.

February 2009
By Robert Fonow

Iraq’s technological telecommunications leap into the 21st century has left the country short on experts available to work in traditional communications areas. The success of reconstruction efforts in the country demonstrates that citizens are hungry to embrace mobile communications devices. But ushering a nation with little to no technology toward state-of-the-art telecommunications also revealed that introducing modern communications is about more than just raising a few cell towers and sticking cell phones in citizens’ hands. It can be a misstep that winds up costing the United States millions of dollars.

February 2009
By Rita Boland

The U.S Air Force is coming out of the sky to counter some serious threats on the ground. Working with its land-based counterparts, the service rapidly implemented a process to evaluate technologies valuable for defeating certain explosive devices in an attempt to stop the weapons from harming more troops and civilians in the Middle East. The goal of the work is to detect explosives on bodies before the carriers come close enough to other people to damage life or limb.

February 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

A U.S. Army aerial reconnaissance support team successfully assisting warfighters in Iraq is expanding its reach to protect ground forces in Afghanistan. Comprising members of the active and reserve forces, as well as a sizeable number of defense contractors, the task force currently is using technological elements of the future modular force in a cavalry role to assist U.S. theater commanders and their subordinates in Iraq. Some of the capabilities already have been moved into Afghanistan, and during the next 12 months a similar task force will be in place to improve the sensor-to-shooter cycle and provide intelligence while conducting operations.

February 2009
By Rita Boland

The Stryker is a rarity in the military world—an item that satisfies the top commanders and warfighters seeing action in battle. While support from the top does not always translate into success on the ground, in the case of the Stryker the troops in combat, including those using it for communications missions, are basically as pleased with the vehicle as are the planners and decision makers in the United States. The numbers and uses of Strykers show no signs of decreasing as the vehicles mark half a decade in theater, and the U.S. Army is adding additional capabilities to the next round that is expected to deploy even as the eight-wheeled automotives see daily action now. A few changes could enhance the value of this vehicle to signal troops, but overall the reviews from those using the vehicle in combat are positive.

February 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new virtual training facility is helping British troops hone their command and control skills before they deploy to Afghanistan. The center creates geographically accurate simulations that allow headquarters personnel to become familiar with managing intelligence data from manned and unmanned platforms during a series of operational scenarios. The networked battlefield simulator can be rapidly modified to include new lessons learned from units returning from overseas missions.

February 2009
By Rita Boland

For centuries, navies around the world have sent sailors over the salty brine to explore and conquer. But as seafarers and their technologies have advanced, knowledge of what lies below the ocean’s surface has become more critical to success. The U.S. Navy has launched numerous projects to enhance underwater capabilities, and some of the most important will reduce the human component of vessels until people are almost absent from the equation.

February 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

An advanced satellite communications terminal is boosting the connectivity of U.S. Navy warships. Part of an effort to complement vessels’ military satellite communications capabilities, the new commercial terminals are designed to increase data transmission speeds to meet the service’s growing need for network-centric applications such as live tactical imagery.

February 2009
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is revamping its intelligence structure with command upgrades and a new set of priorities designed to rebuild naval intelligence. This effort includes the creation of a new maritime intelligence office that will move the Navy out of providing service-specific intelligence fully into the realm of national intelligence.

February 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

As the U.S. Navy continues to fine-tune its plans for the Next Generation Enterprise Network, its information technology leaders are focusing on the larger information technology picture, including who has command and control of its networks. Among their other priorities are decision superiority, cybersecurity, maritime domain awareness and training. All of these issues are being viewed through a magnifying glass of fiscal responsibility as the specter of defense budget reductions looms.