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June 2009

Teach Your Children Well

June 2009

Generally speaking, the Army Information Assurance (IA) people are constantly telling you how to keep information to yourself. They are always referring to Army Regulation 25-2, establishing Best Business Practices, and providing course after course of specialized training. They issue guidelines, directives, orders, memoranda, and proclamations from on high on exactly what should be done to protect the Army’s data and each soldier’s Personally Identifying Information (PII).  So here comes a big contradiction. “What?” you say, “Contradictory messages within the military?” Yep. Brace yourself.

As unlikely as it might seem, the IA folks want you to give information to your family, friends and co-workers. The information they want you to divulge is exactly what you have learned about how and why we protect military and personal data. Now, we’re not talking about that hush-hush, cone-of-silence kind of stuff. What needs to be leaked out is how individuals can stay safe out there in cyber space, especially when it comes to phishing.   

For those of you that have skipped all IA training, refused to read/watch/listen to any kind of computer or mainstream news or avoided talking with any computer literate person for the past ten years, phishing is any online attempt to pry money or PII from people through various forms of deception. This kind of scam ranges from fake Middle Eastern Princes who will pay you to help move millions of dollars out of some country to your bank (or at least it seems like your bank) asking for your account numbers, online ID and PIN so they can correct a technical problem and reopen your frozen account.

The First Step Toward Collaboration Is to Stop E-Mailing

June 2009
By Christopher J. Dorobek

Many of us remember when we first got an e-mail account. If you were anything like me, you received a personal e-mail address and then later an AOL account—well before you had e-mail access at work. In a way, it was a very early indication of the world to come, where the consumer market truly leads the enterprise market. Today, most people will admit that they can do much more on their home computers than they can on their “clunky machines” at work.

Now Is Not the Time to Eat Our Seed Corn

June 2009
By Kent R. Schneider

In the wake of the global economic downturn that began late last year, responsible governments and businesses established budget priorities to make sharp spending cuts. These efforts extended across a large spectrum of budgetary activities, and they were—and still are—necessary.

Space Now a Contested Venue

June 2009
By Robert K. Ackerman

The proliferation of international space systems and an increase in the number of technologies that can physically threaten satellites has led the U.S. Defense Department to redefine space as a contested environment. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has issued a special area of emphasis, or SAE, applying this designation to space for the military community. The result will be a change in the way military personnel view space and incorporate its role in their training regimens.

Cloud Computing Could Support Network-Centric Operation

June 2009
By Bob Gourley

Cloud computing could give a major assist to the U.S. Defense Department’s information technology strategy for implementing network-centric operations.

Hainan Is the Tip of the Chinese Navy Spear

June 2009
By James C. Bussert

From humble, almost inconsequential, origins, China’s South Sea Fleet has grown to become a major maritime military force. The country is basing many of its newest naval assets in that fleet’s region of responsibility, and they are taking on more diverse and far-reaching missions. China also is acting more aggressively in these waters, particularly in recent confrontations with U.S. ships conducting peaceful operations.

Capturing Intelligence Contracts Poses Challenges To Small Businesses

June 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

Intelligence agencies have many secrets, and among them is how small firms can do business with them. Seeking work in this arena requires persistence and patience along with a solid business plan and knowledge of these agencies’ needs. It is not an activity for the faint of heart. Individuals with decades of experience in the intelligence community concur that small businesses have a lot to offer, but building a strong relationship with intelligence organizations requires hard work on both sides.

Science and Technology Challenge Strives to Create First-of-Its-Kind Qubit

June 2009
By Rita Boland

A three-year science and technology project is aiming to transform abstract quantum theories into actual quantum products. A goal of the effort is to create the world’s first silicon spin-based quantum bit, which would be a major advancement in the development of quantum computing. Additionally, the work includes its own theoretical piece that addresses the design of a quantum error correction circuit. Applications include enhancing the basic understanding of spin device physics for potential spin-based microelectronics and determining the feasibility of certain aspects of silicon quantum bits for future research and use.

Flexible Circuits Unfold

June 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

Warfighters one day may have electronics literally painted onto their uniforms thanks to a new technology for printing circuitry. The process involves spraying a film composed of carbon nanotubes onto a surface to form thin, flexible circuits. This capability potentially can be applied to cloth, plastics or other soft materials, opening the possibility for communications devices built into clothing or solar panels sprayed onto the tops of tents.

Programmable Matter Research Solidifies

June 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

A revolutionary new technology may allow future warfighters to command their equipment to physically change itself to meet new operational needs or to form spare parts or tools. Researchers are developing techniques to order materials to self-assemble or alter their shape, perform a function and then disassemble themselves. These capabilities offer the possibility for morphing aircraft and ground vehicles, uniforms that can alter themselves to be comfortable in any climate, and “soft” robots that flow like mercury through small openings to enter caves and bunker complexes.

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