SIGNAL Online Exclusives
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.
The silver anniversary of the first PC virus is approaching in January, but even after 25 years, no victory celebration is on the horizon. That first virus, distributed on a 5 1/4 floppy disk, was called the Brain, and it originated in Pakistan as a way to curtail pirating. This boot sector infection, which was fairly harmless, spread around the world in 1986 on floppy disks, introducing the world to a new type of vulnerability. Malicious programming distributed as computer viruses has become exponentially more dangerous since the early attacks as the Internet has provided the platform for rapid, stealthy spread of these and other nefarious cyberattacks.
Representatives from more than a dozen nations came together last week to wrap up the two-year Multinational Experiment 6 (MNE6), share their conclusions and solidify their plans for the future. In the vast majority of cases, action on the event’s categories of the four main objectives involves developing concepts and doctrine. However, in at least one case—logistics—MNE6 resulted in a concrete solution that has already been fielded in Afghanistan.
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, according to Robert Berger, deputy director, Personnel Data Systems at Air Force Personnel Center.
The U.S. military’s leading agency in creating mind-boggling devices that literally save warfighters’ lives is joining the app generation in a big way. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated its Transformative Apps program in April of this year; by the time the Broad Agency Announcement closed at the end of August, DARPA had been inundated with hundreds of tactical app ideas from places that ranged from companies to soldiers in the field.
Within a year or two, the U.S. military could field a portable, laser backpack device that will provide a three-dimensional (3-D) map of buildings. The reconnoitering pack could be used by reconnaissance scouts to form a 3-D, interactive image of buildings that other troops might have to access at a later time.
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.
Trawling the Internet can be a dangerous activity, but the security status of different types of websites is not the same, Sorin Mustaca, data security expert, says. However, when more than 3,300 people responded to a survey about Internet security on the Avira GmbH website, more than a third of the respondents said when it comes to security, all websites are equally dangerous. Mustaca, who works for Avira, says in reality, some sites and computer activities are riskier than others, but Web devotees can take simple precautions to protect themselves from e-predators.
The Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) is working to keep
Give two cents—get big prizes. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), in partnership with ChallengePost, launched Challenge.gov on September 7 at the Gov 2.0 Summit 2010 in Washington, D.C. The free online challenge platform invites the general public to propose solutions to government challenges, including the U.S. Army’s push for new training and simulation tools utilizing artificial intelligence.
Open-source, social networking tool is designed to help employees get the job done.
Years from now, engineers and scientists across the U.S. Defense Department may double-click an icon on their desktop computer screens and access the phenomenal processing power of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Defense Department Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Those computers are currently capable of processing 350 trillion calculations per second.
Speed was the focus of the Trident Warrior 2010 (TW10) U.S. Navy experiment: increasing the speed of communications, assessments and especially acquisition. Participants in the event evaluated nearly 100 technologies that touched upon areas such as networks; coalition information operations; command and control; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. With the support of the U.S. Marine Corps, early feedback about the experiment reveals that TW10 resulted in resolution of some maritime domain awareness doctrine issues.
An ultra-fast search algorithm that finds patterns in social networks could impact national security, businesses and individuals.
A team of university researchers has developed a computer program that can be used to uncover covert agents and terrorist groups communicating via social media sites such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter.