SIGNAL Online Exclusives

June 20, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Integrating the network and defending it against cyberattacks are among the top priorities in the new Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) 2011-2012 Campaign Plan. The plan, released this morning, focuses on requirements and opportunities facing the information agency.

June 14, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Digital-data investigators have a new tool in their arsenals as they try to capture bad guys' information before they can harm others. The device enables immediate, on-scene triage of devices, eliminating the need to send equipment back to a laboratory while saving precious time and resources.

June 9, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Army is introducing its first fully immersive virtual simulation program for dismounted soldiers and small tactical units. The Dismounted Soldier Training System will provide virtual environments for soldiers to increase combat preparedness and reduce traditional training expenses. And the system’s advanced graphics and tools utilize video game elements and skills already familiar to young soldiers.

June 6, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

At a time when almost all of government is being squeezed by efforts to lower spending, a new report from a congressional watchdog agency strongly suggests that the Defense Department needs to do a better job of managing its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems. "Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance: Actions Are Needed to Increase Integration and Efficiencies of DOD's ISR Enterprise," (GAO 11-465) warns that the department must improve its control over disparate ISR efforts if it is to provide effective ISR support to the force.

May 31, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As chat capabilities threaten to overtake voice radio as the preferred means of communication on the battlefield, military officials in Afghanistan are countering the proliferation of chat rooms available on the coalition network. Chat capabilities offer several advantages over voice communications, according to military officials in Afghanistan. But thousands of chat rooms available to warfighters have proven to be too much of a good thing.

May 26, 2011

A series of raids, both CONUS and OCONUS, on the hideouts of known cyber criminals has resulted in the discovery of a number of information documents. These documents indicated that the cyber crime and terrorism communities have ceased global operations involving the exploitation of unsecured wireless networks. But don't let that fool you.

May 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The proposed Orion spacecraft, nearly left for dead in the wake of NASA’s decision to rely on commercial vehicles for manned orbital access now is at the heart of the space agency’s plans to send humans to deep space. NASA has tabbed a version of Orion to serve as the basis for a new spaceship known as the multipurpose crew vehicle, or MPCV. This spacecraft would be designed to carry humans beyond Earth orbit, potentially on missions to Mars or the asteroids.

May 18, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

One hundred teams from around the country gathered in Virginia last week to compete in the ninth annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) finals. The event gives students in seventh through 12th grades the chance to experience math and science in action with the hope that practical application will encourage them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their higher education and careers.

May 13, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

On Sunday, France became the fifth nation to officially join the Afghan Mission Network, the system used by NATO nations and coalition forces to conduct warfighting operations in Afghanistan. France now will be able to fully share information with other nations, including such data as human intelligence and full-motion video.

May 11, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As more and more federal agencies rely upon mobile devices, cloud computing and social media, their need for well-trained cybersecurity professionals can be expected to increase. That’s according to the latest survey of 145 C-level Federal managers polled by the cybersecurity education and certification organization.

May 2, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Anti-submarine warfare tactics developed by anonymous gamers today could be part of the “brains” of an unmanned, autonomous enemy sub tracker now under development for the U.S. Navy.

April 27, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The Conficker computer virus, which was first detected in 2008, reared its ugly head last week in Afghanistan, where it was detected on the Afghan Mission Network—the network NATO and coalition forces use to fight the war. (This is the first in a series of online and print reports by SIGNAL Magazine Technology Editor George I. Seffers while embedded with NATO forces in Afghanistan.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What’s a Caltrop? It could be the start of a lame joke like, “what’s a hen way” or “what’s a Grecian earn?” In fact, a Caltrop is an ancient land mine of sorts. It is usually a multi-sided spiked object that could seriously tear up a bare foot, an unshod hoof or a pair of Bronze Age sandals. Today the modern version of caltrops is used against vehicles with unreinforced tires. Think televised car chase on some freeway. They are not sophisticated and certainly not anywhere as bad as an IED. Yet, given the right circumstances, they are very effective.

April 19, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Four companies pursuing technologies connected to manned orbital spacecraft are receiving $270 million from NASA in the second phase of an effort targeted at building a commercial manned space launch industry. The goal is to develop a launch capability that would replace the space shuttle and lead to commercial exploitation of manned orbital spaceflight.

April 11, 2011
By Helen Mosher, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

An exercise in leveraging social media for humanitarian assistance and disaster response fostered global participation last month, with more than 39,000 people from 94 nations tuning in to a simulation of two seismic events and a tsunami set in the Adriatic Sea. Participants in the exercise used tools such as Twitter and Facebook to create a rich, real-time environment for crowd-sourcing solutions and other collaborative activities.

March 30, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Members of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS) deployed a novel tool to Afghanistan last month, giving warfighters the ability to combine Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities with Google Earth. The resource enhances situational awareness and information sharing, and developers intend it to assist with planning efforts.

March 23, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

For three days following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, hardwired telephones offered the only lines of communications between the U.S. military and its forces in Japan and South Korea, according to military officials at the Next-Generation Mobile Technologies Symposium in Washington, D.C., on March 17. In fact, because landline telephones have proven so reliable in times of disaster, the U.S. Marine Corps will not convert entirely to Internet protocol-based communications.

March 16, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A unique process for identifying, certifying and fielding technologies for homeland defense has captured White House attention and could be implemented across other departments, according to Thomas Cellucci, the government’s only chief commercialization officer.

March 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Dual-use U.S. technology may be improving other nations’ militaries as a result of efforts by foreign technology workers in the United States, according to a U.S. government report. U.S. government agencies should tighten their processes and monitoring of visas and foreign workers’ access to controlled technologies, the report recommends.

March 2, 2011
By Jordan Garegnani, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A memorandum to federal officials about information sharing during government acquisition processes is opening the lines of communication between agencies and vendors. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo includes guidelines for comprehensive communication plans, awareness campaigns, education modules and discussion forums, all of which aim at facilitating dialogue.

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