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SIGNAL Online Exclusives

Government Lags in Reaping Telework Benefits

June 18, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

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.

Fount of Hidden Assessment Knowledge Flows

June 10, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

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).

Coalition Network Reports for Duty

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.

Security Treasure Hunt Closer to Its Gems

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.

Charting the Way to Defense Information Assurance

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.

Robot Navigation System Readies for Prime Time

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.

Cyber Command Moves Into Position

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.

No Easy Answers on Social Media in Defense Department

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.

Tanglefoot Protects Troops From Explosives

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.

New Document Provides Framework for Interagency Data Sharing

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.

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