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SIGNAL Online Exclusives

Army Technology Acquisition Stumbles Despite Best Efforts

December 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

In many cases, haste makes waste as the U.S. Army wrestles with the inherent contradictions that emerged as it tries to speed new information technologies to warfighters.

 

Update on the Asia-Pacific

December 4, 2012
By Rita Boland

Military activities in the Asia-Pacific region have become more focused since the release of a defense strategy a few months ago that places renewed attention on the global area. Through U.S. Pacific Command's (PACOM's) recent theater campaign plan, leaders are telling the subordinate military-service components to report back in a year on how efforts are working while deconflicting duplicate programs.

Stepped Up Cyberthreats Prompt Air Force To Rethink Training, Acquisitions

November 30, 2012
By Max Cacas

Air Force cybersecurity training may be conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week if needed to meet burgeoning demand for cybersecurity experts in the near future, according to the service’s chief information officer. Growing threats also may drive the need for adoption of rapid acquisition practices, which are being developed by a special corps of acquisition experts.

Power Grid Study Cites “Inherent Vulnerability” to Terrorist Attack, Natural Disaster

November 29, 2012
By Max Cacas

A newly released study on America’s electrical power transmission system strongly suggests that the government and industry take steps to safeguard it from shortcomings that make it vulnerable to things such as terrorist attack and acts of nature. Potential solutions will require not only ingenuity and technology, but investment and political decisiveness.

New Neural Chip Mimics Brain Function

November 19, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Ronald E. Meyers delves into quantum physics research at the U. S. Army Research Laboratory. Meyers, fellow researcher Keith Deacon and Gert Cauwenberghs, a professor of bioengineering and biology at the University of California at San Diego, earned a patent for a futuristic neural computer chip.

Researchers working for the U.S. Army have developed and patented a neural computer chip that mimics human brain functions and could potentially be used for quantum computing, which could harness the power of individual atoms to perform functions millions of times faster than conventional computers. The new technology could eventually prove valuable for encryption and decryption and a wide range of other uses, including a next-generation Internet and the possibility of helping wounded soldiers better control prosthetic limbs.

Two Army Research Laboratory (ARL) scientists—Keith Deacon and Ronald Meyers—patented the neural chip for the Army in September. They worked with Gert Cauwenberghs, a professor of bioengineering and biology and co-director of the Institute for Neural Computation at the University of California at San Diego.

The technology uses synaptic connections for interfacing neurons and learning through feedback. “Some people would call it artificial intelligence, but it’s really a cooperative. The neurons are working together and cooperating with each other to try to learn and accomplish some task in an efficient manner,” explains Meyers, who also serves as lead investigator on the project. “It’s not yet quantum. It’s just not traditional.”

Small Business Tips for Department of Homeland Security Contracting

November 15, 2012
By Beverly Mowery Cooper

Small business contracts make up 32 percent of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) business, with an average of 3,500 new contracts added every year. But it can be challenging for small companies to take advantage of these opportunities. Breaking into the DHS market as a small business is not impossible, according to Bob Namejko, industry liaison, DHS, but it is difficult.

Sharing Cybersecurity to Protect Critical Services

November 5, 2012
By Rita Boland

Efforts to reduce barriers to information sharing in the cyberworld have met with criticism, but some in industry are emphasizing the necessity of swift action.

The effects of Hurricane Sandy on the Northeast coast gave the United States a powerful insight into what happens when critical infrastructure fails in dense population centers. Even with days of warning, thousands of people still find themselves without basic services. Before that superstorm formed, however, security experts were considering the effects of a man-made catastrophe implemented through breaches in cybersecurity that could strike at any time without prior notice, causing even more widespread damage. Leading up to the election, an executive order is pending to try to prevent such an event, but regardless of whom voters elect as their next leader, some in industry are calling for swift action to put preventative measures in place.

Drafted in response to Congress' decision not to pass a cybersecurity act earlier this year, the executive order, if signed, is expected to authorize the Department of Homeland Security to create different information security programs and to facilitate better information sharing among government and private-sector partners involved in cyber activities. Legislators and groups outside government have criticized several aspects of the various efforts to reduce current restrictions that prevent organizations from passing on their knowledge of vulnerabilities or attacks to others who need it, expressing particular concern about violations of citizens’ privacy.

Back to Business With Electronic Warfare

September 25, 2012
By George I. Seffers

 

The U.S. Army hopes to ditch its dependency on joint electronic warfare assets by fielding new systems, improving training and creating new career paths and functional areas.

 

DISA Strategic Plan Seeks to Eliminate Ambiguities

September 12, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The defense information technology realm is exploding with innovation—so much so, the organizations tasked with ensuring effective information systems run the risk of losing control of both the process and its capabilities. The Defense Information Systems Agency has issued a new strategic plan that outlines its approach to ensuring advanced technology implementation without reining in innovation.

 

All-in-One Signals and Human Intelligence

August 21, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Army is fielding its Vigilant Pursuit system to reduce the time necessary to combine data gathered from human and signals intelligence assets.

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