The Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) is working to keep U.S. citizens safe from dirty bombs by conducting exercises on the other side of the world. Members representing the initiative recently wrapped up a three-scenario tabletop exercise in Mongolia to help the country prevent terrorists from obtaining its nuclear or radiological material.
SIGNAL Online Exclusives
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.
Public and private organizations should pay close attention to cybersecurity regulations in the legislative pipeline and adhere both to the rules and intent.
An open-source, business-oriented, social networking tool helps organizations’ employees be more productive by making it easier to share information. The tool helps employees build their careers by marketing their own value and establishing a positive reputation, and it helps them make more informed decisions by following relevant information from colleagues, groups and Internet sources.
Speed was the focus of the Trident Warrior 2010 U.S. Navy experiment: increasing the speed of communications, assessments and especially acquisition.
With the development of the Afghan Air Force six to nine months behind schedule, the commander of the Combined Air Power Transition Force pushes for more technology, teaching tools and NATO support.
An ultra-fast search algorithm that finds patterns in social networks could impact national security, businesses and individuals. A team of University of Maryland researchers developed the computer program, which can be used to uncover covert agents and terrorist groups communicating via social media sites such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter.
Government agencies and other organizations responding to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January were able to coordinate efforts better thanks to the deployment of new information-sharing technology.
A new website has launched to help keep the public current with the latest information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of New Hampshire's Coastal Response Research Center were developing an open-source, Web-based, geographical information system (GIS) platform as an internal site so stakeholder organizations could see a common operational picture of an oil spill in near real-time when the recent event occurred.
A factor as simple as purchasing desktop computers instead of laptop units may be a key clog holding back the flow of telework among U.S. federal government employees. A recent study has determined that only 23 percent of federal employees telework regularly or exclusively, compared to 64 percent of private-sector employees. And, 93 percent of federal employees state that being able to telework would make working for an organization more desirable.
Rarely does a week go by that doesn't include a military-sponsored exercise, experiment or demonstration. As participants ready for the event, excitement mounts. During the event, there don’t seem to be enough hours in a day to accomplish tasks as troops immerse themselves in the job at hand and the days fly by all too quickly. Enter the Joint Systems Integration Center (JSIC). Rather than sponsor its own exercises, experiments or demonstrations, JSIC members become flies on the walls of event sites around the world and create Joint Systems Baseline Assessments (JSBAs).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.