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SIGNAL Online Exclusives

GAO Calls Defense ISR Programs Fragmented, Wants Tighter Management

June 6, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

At a time when almost all of government is being squeezed by efforts to lower spending, a new report from a congressional watchdog agency strongly suggests that the Defense Department needs to do a better job of managing its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems. "Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance: Actions Are Needed to Increase Integration and Efficiencies of DOD's ISR Enterprise," (GAO 11-465) warns that the department must improve its control over disparate ISR efforts if it is to provide effective ISR support to the force.

Military Treats Outbreak of Chat Rooms in Afghanistan

May 31, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As chat capabilities threaten to overtake voice radio as the preferred means of communication on the battlefield, military officials in Afghanistan are countering the proliferation of chat rooms available on the coalition network. Chat capabilities offer several advantages over voice communications, according to military officials in Afghanistan. But thousands of chat rooms available to warfighters have proven to be too much of a good thing.

Don't Wear the Hat!

May 26, 2011

A series of raids, both CONUS and OCONUS, on the hideouts of known cyber criminals has resulted in the discovery of a number of information documents. These documents indicated that the cyber crime and terrorism communities have ceased global operations involving the exploitation of unsecured wireless networks. But don't let that fool you.

NASA Goes Deep With Orion

May 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The proposed Orion spacecraft, nearly left for dead in the wake of NASA’s decision to rely on commercial vehicles for manned orbital access now is at the heart of the space agency’s plans to send humans to deep space. NASA has tabbed a version of Orion to serve as the basis for a new spaceship known as the multipurpose crew vehicle, or MPCV. This spacecraft would be designed to carry humans beyond Earth orbit, potentially on missions to Mars or the asteroids.

Competition Launches Interest in STEM

May 18, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

One hundred teams from around the country gathered in Virginia last week to compete in the ninth annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) finals. The event gives students in seventh through 12th grades the chance to experience math and science in action with the hope that practical application will encourage them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their higher education and careers.

France Joins Afghan Mission Network

May 13, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

On Sunday, France became the fifth nation to officially join the Afghan Mission Network, the system used by NATO nations and coalition forces to conduct warfighting operations in Afghanistan. France now will be able to fully share information with other nations, including such data as human intelligence and full-motion video.

Feds Say Cybersecurity Staffing Needs to Double by 2015

May 11, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As more and more federal agencies rely upon mobile devices, cloud computing and social media, their need for well-trained cybersecurity professionals can be expected to increase. That’s according to the latest survey of 145 C-level Federal managers polled by the cybersecurity education and certification organization.

Can a New Sub Chaser Learn From the 'Crowd'?

May 2, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Anti-submarine warfare tactics developed by anonymous gamers today could be part of the “brains” of an unmanned, autonomous enemy sub tracker now under development for the U.S. Navy.

Conficker Worms Its Way Into Afghan Mission Network

April 27, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

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.)

Classic Cyber Caltrops

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What’s a Caltrop? It could be the start of a lame joke like, “what’s a hen way” or “what’s a Grecian earn?” In fact, a Caltrop is an ancient land mine of sorts. It is usually a multi-sided spiked object that could seriously tear up a bare foot, an unshod hoof or a pair of Bronze Age sandals. Today the modern version of caltrops is used against vehicles with unreinforced tires. Think televised car chase on some freeway. They are not sophisticated and certainly not anywhere as bad as an IED. Yet, given the right circumstances, they are very effective.

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