SIGNAL Online Exclusives

June 2, 2010
By Lt. Col. Patricia S. Collins, USA, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

One of the most significant challenges the U.S. commander in Afghanistan has faced is the technical capabilities needed for command and control. The commander has not been able to obtain the most current information at the right time to make the most timely, effective decisions. This has been largely because of the lack of a single, classified network that facilitates information sharing across all coalition partners.

To solve this problem and support NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, the Afghanistan Mission Network (AMN) has been implemented, which consolidated and fully integrated the information domain. Initial operational capability occurred on October 23, 2009; full operational capability is scheduled to take place on July 10, 2010.

May 26, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Cyber Challenge's (USCC's) Security Treasure Hunt wrapped up last week after more than a month of participation by students in three states. The event aimed to identify potential cybersecurity professionals through an online competition that presented players with a target system containing security vulnerabilities to assess and fix. Now, event coordinators are assessing results to determine who will win free trips to cyber camps this summer to advance and prove their skills further.

Friday, May 21, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Defense Department has developed an information assurance policy chart in an attempt to pull together the department’s diverse information assurance policies under a single umbrella document. The web-based chart provides hyperlinks directly to policies so that a user can identify and trace their origins as well as track changes that occur.

May 17, 2010
by Henry Kenyon, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A package of sensors, software and navigation equipment will soon permit U.S. Army ground robots, trucks and armored vehicles to move around a battlefield with minimal human supervision. The Autonomous Navigation System (ANS) allows robots to perceive and follow paths and other vehicles. The system recently completed its critical design review and is now moving on to the prototype fabrication stage.

May 06, 2010
by Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

While they await the U.S. Senate’s decision about assigning Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, USA, as commander of the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), military members of the new sub-unified command are poising their fingers above computer keyboards ready to begin their mission. Decisions already have been made about which joint commands to disestablish and merge and where the command’s headquarters will be: Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, some 1,177 miles away from U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), its host unified command. While the date of initial operational capability is nebulous, full operational capability (FOC) is scheduled to occur on October 1, 2010. If confirmed, Gen. Alexander will serve as both the director of the National Security Agency and CYBERCOM’s commander.

April 14, 2010
by Helen Mosher, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Even as government 2.0 advocates hailed the U.S. Defense Department's newly framed social media policy upon its announcement, questions persisted over the value of such a policy in the wake of cybersecurity threats. But Sumit Agarwal, who was named deputy assistant secretary of defense (public affairs) for outreach and social media in January, says that with so many people using social media on their own, enforcing a closed posture on these tools may be as ill-advised as not doing so.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
by Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Army has unveiled to the public a new robot that aids troops in their fight against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Intended to attach to more than 8,000 other robotic assets already deployed in the field, Tanglefoot employs simple tools to clear routes that military members must traverse. Developers of this new machine believe its capabilities will help save lives by improving the security of roadways and by keeping soldiers away from explosives during the detection and disarming processes.

Friday, March 19, 2010
by Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A recently released publication is designed to help facilitate information sharing across civilian and military organizations in the U.S. Government. Produced as a joint effort by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Defense Department and the U.S. intelligence community, the document creates a common information security framework for the federal government and the contractors who support it.

March 11, 2010
by Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Army has announced the Apps for the Army (A4A) challenge, a three-month outreach to the service’s active duty, National Guard and civilian employees that will award as much as $2,000 to the top entries.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010
by Maryann Lawlor

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has released its 2010 Campaign Plan. Although designated as this year’s plan, the document actually lays the groundwork for DISA activities that will take place during the next two to five years. While it may appear ambitious, the agency’s officials believe that it is absolutely necessary to reach beyond DISA’s grasp as it heads into the future.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010
by Maryann Lawlor

Generosity has been pouring from every direction to the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti since the earthquake hit on January 12. But problems arise when coordination falls short. However, an Internet-based network scheduled to be tested this summer was put to the test during the real-life crisis and has performed like a charm.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010
by Katie Packard

The U.S. Defense Department’s weekly podcast series, “Armed With Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military,” emphasizes the important roles science and technology play in military operations by interviewing scientists, engineers, policymakers and other personnel. Not only does the series highlight cutting-edge technologies and capabilities, it also encourages information sharing and collaboration across the government and the military.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010
by Rita Boland

ITT Corporation realigned its former Defense Electronics and Services segment into ITT Defense and Information Solutions on January 5. The move consolidates the business' seven divisions into three in an effort to streamline efficiencies and to respond better to its anticipation of future customer needs.

Deember 2009
by Maryann Lawlor

When it comes to cybersecurity, the time for talk is over and the time for action is way overdue, according to one cybersecurity expert. Policies and procedures have been talked to death through books, symposia and even movies. Technical solutions are available, but each is sitting in its own silo where it isn’t likely to be the most effective. And as for information sharing about cyber incidents and threats, not only does it not occur, but the environment isn’t conducive to it.

December 2009
By Jim Sweeney

Bandwidth demands and the increased use of autonomous aerial and underwater vehicles are among the challenges for the nation’s aging fleet of ocean research ships. A new report predicts that the fleet will face even more demands on its time in the future.

Tuesday, December 02, 2010
by Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is examining an existing biofeedback technology to help first responders work better on long, round-the-clock disaster relief efforts.

November 30, 2010
by Maryann Lawlor

Members of the U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Joint Enabling Capabilities (JEC) Command arrived home from Afghanistan and the first major operational use of the Ready JEC Package (RJP) just in time to join their families for the Thanksgiving holiday.

November 20, 2009
by Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Some of the digital world’s most bitter rivals have joined forces with government and public-sector organizations to develop solutions for disaster relief. An inaugural meeting November 12-14 in Mountain View, California, already has generated some products, and the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has lauded the effort and has pledged support.

November 10, 2009
By Katie Packard

Actually, there are only 10. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is holding the DARPA Network Challenge on December 5 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Internet. Participants must locate the exact latitude and longitude coordinates of 10 red weather balloons that will be posted at undisclosed locations across the continental United States.

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