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.