June 2009

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

June 2009
By Rita Boland and Maryann Lawlor

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher is developing a way to take simple descriptions of behavior patterns and assemble them to uncover complex dynamics. Once achieved, this capability would enable data to drive the learning mechanism with as little external intervention as possible. Although only in the basic research phase, this methodology could one day enable warfighters and analysts to take seemingly unrelated information and reveal underlying behavior—a valuable commodity in fighting the Global War on Terrorism.

June 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new missile soon will allow different U.S. aircraft to attack a wider range of targets while providing improved targeting and range performance over current air-to-ground missiles. The missile can operate on a variety of aircraft with little or no modification because its software automatically interfaces with the platform’s targeting system. By moving to one standardized missile, the U.S. military also aims to reduce its maintenance and supply costs while enhancing operational flexibility.

June 2009
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Air Forces Northern Distributed Mission Operations program hit a new milestone recently, with the successful completion of the first-ever individualized warfighter training event. In the past, the program, which supports homeland defense missions, could only accommodate large-scale team training efforts. With the new training capability, learning opportunities are open to more people, and with the improved infrastructure, daily events are a practical option.

June 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

An innovative communication capability born from an urgent operational need is generating a cascading effect on many sectors of the U.S. Air Force. This technology provides beyond-line-of-sight secret Internet protocol router network, text messaging and telephone access eight times faster than the legacy capability it replaces. It is changing the way the service’s 116th Computer Systems Squadron does business—including direct interaction with the aircraft.

June 2009
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Air Force literally is restructuring its command and control on the fly to modernize its gear and adapt to new mission sets. This thrust entails replacing heavily used legacy equipment and building a new information architecture to serve the demands of dynamic modern warfare.