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.)
SIGNAL Online Exclusives
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
U.S. Army developers have installed in Afghanistan the first technology that permits radio communications to continue while soldiers use jammers to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The U.S. Coast Guard is helping Mexico’s navy respond to emergencies at sea with a search and rescue system that maximizes data and resources. Computers in new maritime rescue coordination centers will feature the software that uses an animated grid model to project where floating persons or objects might be located.
Apple sold more than 45 million iPhones and iPads in the first 10 months of 2010. As many of these devices enter workplaces—and organizations’ networks—leaders must determine not only how to secure them but also how to make them increase productivity.
West 2011 Online Show Daily, Day 3. "Adaptability often is viewed as a responsive act. However, adaptability and preparation are inexorably linked."--Alfred Grasso, president and chief executive officer, the MITRE Corporation
The Joint Program Executive Office Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS) has made its first major release of the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) in 10 years. This change updates a minor version released in 2005 and enables smaller, faster communications devices that cost less.
A U.S. Naval Research Laboratory team recently tested an underwater acoustic laser capability that might one day provide a source of voice or data communications for submarines; navigational data for submarines or underwater robots; and sonar to locate mines or other objects in shallow water—all from an aircraft and without the need for hardware in the water.
Commercial satellite service providers question government’s dedication to president’s National Space Policy. While the policy calls for a stalwart pursuit of work with U.S. companies, little progress has been seen in putting this policy into practice.
The Defense Department budget efficiencies announced on January 6 by Secretary Robert Gates will generate program activity in electronic warfare (EW), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), tactical communications and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to a department statement. These efficiencies, which would total more than $150 billion over the next five years, would be accomplished through personnel reductions, program extensions, consolidations and improved business practices.
The conventional wisdom—and common joke—is that the U.S. Marine Corps receives used-up, hand-me-down equipment passed along from the Navy and Army. But that proved not to be the case during the recently completed Navy-Marine Corps exercise Bold Alligator 2011. In fact, the Marine Corps brought to the exercise more modern information technology systems than the Navy, which created interoperability problems and delays in providing critical information to commanders.
The first satellite built by the U.S. Army in more than five decades launched last week, ushering in a new phase of space use for the military branch.
The Air Combat Command is offering an information-sharing approach and visualization tool to facilitate decision making based on knowledge rather than available technology. As this strategy moves out, it will affect not only the U.S. Air Force but also the U.S. Defense Department and industry.
U.S. military command and control (C2) systems developers are closer to enhanced interoperability after the release of C2 Core Version 1.0 in October. The core is an open, Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based data exchange standard developed by the C2 community for capability implementation. These data standards change the current approach to military-systems design that results in unique interfaces, often with multiple standards for similar data, for each information exchange.