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February 2009

Keep Your System Vehicles Inspected

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.

C&A builds availability, integrity and confidentiality into every Army system. It ensures the Army’s LandWarNet is a reliable and formidable tool for the warfighter. By eliminating security weaknesses upfront, the system can get into the fight better, faster and with less chance of shutting down or becoming dangerous for its users due to security breaches.

The C&A process is a logical step-by-step progression of tasks. This means it does not work well if a system owner jumps into step three at the last moment without paying attention to steps one and two. Again, it is like taking care of a car. Think about safety during the manufacturing/building stage. Plan to make it safe. Then during the process make sure it has all the protective elements in place and make sure they work. If this is addressed at the start, then the entire C&A process goes a lot more smoothly. Also, keep it maintained so it can pass the same kind of safety checks over its operational lifetime. Taking the time early saves headaches, time and—most importantly—money at the end. 

Government Needs to Find Balance in Oversight

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.

Cyberwarfare Looms Large in Information Systems

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.

Reaching Out Far Afield

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.

Wireless Connectivity Systems Help Technology Firm Grow

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?

Italy Spreads Its Defense, Aerospace Resources

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.

Italy Grapples With Internal, External Transformation

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.

Project Brings Open-Source Methods to Defense Realm

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.

Iraqi Telecommunications Upgrades Impart Hard Lessons

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.

Putting the Plug into Person-borne Bombs

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.

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