Information Assurance requires the practical combination of approved technology, adequate and appropriate training, understanding of all relevant rules and regulations and the common-sense use of Best Business Practices (BBPs). Unfortunately, there is one very common activity that makes BBPs all but useless: Some people do not follow them.
It is a good thing Dr. Stanton D. Sloane loves the thrill of the hunt. As president and chief executive officer of SRA International Incorporated, Sloane will be scouring details of the $787 billion federal fiscal stimulus package and the new administration’s upcoming defense budgets for additional sources of revenue.
Virtual collaboration is both the now and the future for communications among people in many walks of life. For the military community, the continued immersion in network centricity allows and demands more methods of online information sharing. The process saves time, resources and most importantly, lives. The civilian sector is experiencing increasing chances to collaborate in the virtual realm as well, and the two factions’ technologies and practices increasingly are overlapping. The Naval Postgraduate School has dedicated an entire institute to various methods of virtually connected communications, and its director sees almost unlimited room for growth and advancement in the area.
It currently is difficult to make it through a day in government circles without somebody talking about transparency. It was an ongoing theme in then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and it was conspicuously the first executive order signed by President Obama on January 21. But the word is something akin to a Rorschach test—everybody sees transparency very differently. Each person has very different ways of defining what transparency means and how it can be implemented.
Our 145 chapters and subchapters are the heart of AFCEA. The chapters are the primary interface with you—our membership—and multiple surveys have told us that member satisfaction correlates most closely with the experience a member has in his or her chapter. The chapter is your primary collaboration and networking group, and it is the closest touchpoint for AFCEA services.
The military is aggressively seeking help from industry to satisfy its technical requirements, and the need for private-sector support will grow as supplemental funds dry up and budgets are reduced. The U.S. Defense Department, its partners and allies especially are seeking technologies that will break down barriers to information sharing as well as products that eliminate networks and hardware, particularly boxes and wires.
Germany is building public-private partnerships and is utilizing nongovernmental organizations to establish good working relationships between industry and the military. Direct links between uniformed forces and the commercial sector are sharply restricted by statute, but all parties are working within the law to improve the quality of services and technologies the military receives from industry.
Germany’s defense electronics industry is in a state of flux. Consolidation and internationalization have changed the way companies conduct business with national and foreign customers. Local firms must band together to work with and compete against large multinational consortia for government contracts. Within this shifting landscape, the industry is poised to take advantage of these changes by expanding into new domestic and overseas markets.
Germany’s operations in the coalition supporting Afghanistan are helping reshape a force transformation that is well on the way to bringing the NATO nation military fully into the network-centric world. The harsh and complex environment of the Southwest Asian battleground has re-emphasized some traditional approaches and illuminated others that will require changing the country’s military procurement.
A communications system that is powerful enough to have seen military action in Afghanistan and versatile enough to have supported international humanitarian efforts also is small enough to be checked as airline baggage. The equipment supporting this capability includes an inflatable ball antenna combined with a flexible dish that comes in two sizes. The system is geared primarily toward short missions, but it can be used for months at a time or as a backup to larger systems when antennas need refurbishment.
A simulation exercise is providing U.S. military personnel with vital operational skills before they deploy to East Africa. Designed to provide headquarters staff with the knowledge and experience they will need to operate in a politically complex theater, the event models real situations such as disasters and humanitarian crises.
At the military command level, bringing order to chaos during national emergencies is about more than technology. For the command in charge of homeland defense and support to civil authorities, it’s about the information: how to gather it, how to share it and how to integrate it. As a result, the command has redefined the term “joint operations” by using innovative ways to coordinate personnel and information input from all of the military services—including the Coast Guard and National Guard Bureau—and as many as 150 mission partners.
A U.S. Joint Forces Command integration and interoperability team is working to ensure that ground troops who need joint fires support in combat know how to obtain it and use it. The organization recently has expanded its work to offer its expertise to more units at more locations. Warfighters benefit from specialized and customized training that allows them to operate with other services in theater. The effort incorporates experience from the battlefield using lessons learned to save lives by reducing friendly fire casualties and similar catastrophes.
In a few years’ time, a dedicated simulation zone will allow security application testing to occur under real-world conditions. Researchers will be able to create and evaluate network architectures rapidly using a variety of pressures, from high operational demand to aggressive cyberattack, and then to develop responses based on the collected data. Planned to be highly automated, the testing zone will simulate a range of user and network behaviors, allowing researchers to understand better how cybersecurity and situational awareness tools function in complex environments.
The nature of intelligence community activities has been changed as increasing numbers of people adopt virtual collaboration tools and methodologies. A host of systems unleashed a handful of years ago has burgeoned into a new way of engaging in intelligence operations that is moving through the community.
U.S. military veterans are gathering in cyberspace to share information and continue the sense of camaraderie they had while serving their country. On an island in Second Life, more than 700 veterans are taking advantage of technology to stay connected and to find the help they need. In some instances, a veteran’s avatar merely may stop by to check on activities while remaining quietly in the background. In others, veterans’ avatars take part in group discussions, fundraisers and even formal events.