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
SIGNAL Online Exclusives
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.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers recently released a new and improved bug catching system designed to more efficiently find software glitches during the development process. The Advanced Combinatorial Testing System (ACTS) generates plans for efficiently testing every combination of six or fewer interacting variables rather than the more commonly used “pairwise” approach to testing software, which checks combinations of only two variables.
The silver anniversary of the first PC virus is approaching in January, but even after 25 years, no victory celebration is on the horizon. Today, some experts contend we are moving from cyber mayhem to cyber missiles, as multifaceted software attacks are being used to target specific industries. The original computer worm that surfaced in 1979 was designed to scour a network for idle processors to enable more efficient computer use. Stuxnet, a worm discovered in July 2010, infects, spies on and modifies the control systems of industrial utilities, including nuclear systems. It is the most important malware yet seen, says Hypponen.
Multinational Experiment 6 sends one concrete solution directly into Afghanistan and creates inroads into coalition collaboration concepts that are being integrated into individual nations' military and political doctrine.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is establishing 15 virtual meeting centers across the United States for use by government personnel. Scheduled to open in 2011, the centers will be available to representatives from all federal agencies, military and civilian, and should help reduce greenhouse emissions and travel.
The U.S. Air Force Personnel Center is transferring virtually all human resources-related information technology responsibilities to the Defense Information Systems Agency, becoming a customer rather than a human resources systems owner. The service is migrating its Total Force Service Center to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA’s) Defense Enterprise Computing Center, a fee-for-service organization providing processing capability, systems management, communications and data storage in a reliable and secure cloud-computing environment.
When a U.S. federal jury convicted Noshir Gowadia of spying for the People's Republic of China in August, it marked a victory for several U.S. investigative agencies. But the verdict might never have arrived without three years of assistance from another organization-the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3). Comprising five different entities, the military center has a special focus on computer forensics to assist its various customers and clients.
DARPA's Transformative Apps program is taking the Android to new places and will help keep warfighters out of harm's way. Much like its commercial counterparts, these apps will provide capabilities that the users didn't even realize they needed until they were in the palms of their hands. And best of all, new apps can be suggested, created and delivered in days rather than months because of an innovative production process.
In the next few years, the U.S. military could field a portable, laser backpack device developed by the University of California, Berkeley, which will provide three-dimensional maps of buildings.
The United States faces the likelihood of a “destructive cyber attack” in the future as malevolent digital capabilities proliferate among a range of adversaries, says the head of the U.S. Cyber Command, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, USA. He warns that nation-states and other malefactors now “can use this as a way of applying their will and power against our country in an asymmetric manner.”
The U.S. Marine Corps now has its first fully assembled Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system and is working to overcome past difficulties to put the asset in warfighters' hands. Plans to upgrade multiple radar capabilities with the single system hit some snags over the past few years, but developers are back on track after finding solutions to the problems.
Most people distrust the security of all websites equally. But in reality, Web devotees can take simple precautions to ensure their safety while researching, shopping, downloading or playing browser games such as Texas Hold’em.