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SIGNAL Online Exclusives

Pentagon's CIO to Resign

April 28, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Teri Takai, the U.S. Defense Department’s chief information officer (CIO), submitted her resignation on Monday, a surprise announcement for some in the Pentagon.

Takai tendered her resignation to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Her last day will be Friday, says Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, USAF, a Defense Department spokesman.

Takai sent a note to her staff Monday announcing her decision. She has been with the Pentagon since 2010, serving as the principal adviser to the defense secretary for information management/information technology and information assurance as well as non-intelligence space systems, critical satellite communications, navigation, and timing programs, spectrum and telecommunications.

“That is a long time to be serving in a position as demanding as hers,” Col. Pickart says. “It does offer many challenges and many sacrifices.”

He declined to provide additional details behind the surprise announcement but did say it was not the result of any wrongdoing.

If a replacement is not announced by Friday, her senior deputy, David DeVries, currently the deputy CIO for information enterprise, would become the acting Defense Department CIO, Col. Pickart says.

Before coming to the Pentagon, Takai served as CIO for California.

Budget Problems Impact Science and Technology Personnel as Much as Programs

April 21, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Gadgets and gizmos are not the only things beset by the U.S. Defense Department’s continued battle with shrinking budget dollars. While some projects may be delayed, and others even derailed, the civilian work force “is now showing the early signs of stress,” Alan Shaffer, acting assistant defense secretary for research and engineering, recently warned Congress.

Furloughs, the government shutdown and sequestration, and decreasing budgets have an adverse impact on the 100,000 personnel that make up the Defense Department’s science and technology (S&T) work force.

“Combined with summer furloughs triggered by sequestration, FY13 presented unique challenges to a work force that had grown for the previous three years to meet the department’s increasing demand for technical and engineering talent to lead the development of increasingly sophisticated weapon systems,” spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea says.

Young workers leave the federal government for better-paying, and more stable, jobs in the civilian sector, and those who stay contribute to a faintly aging civilian work force.

“We saw a number of young scientists and engineers leave in 2013, early in their career. In conducting exit interviews, our laboratory directors reported that these young workers consistently cited travel and conference restrictions, as well as perceived instability of a long-term career, as motivating factors for their departure,” Elzea says.

The average age of scientists went from 45.6 years to 45.7 years, and for engineers from 43.2 years to 43.9 years. “Although the change seems minimal over the past two years, it reverses the trend over the past decade, when we had been driving the average age down,” she says.

U.S. Navy Fielding Weather-Predicting Sea Drones

April 10, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Navy scientists are fielding unmanned underwater drones which, when used with mathematical models, satellites and good old-fashioned brainpower, can better analyze the globe’s oceans and forecast. Ideally, the technology will predict what the world’s waterways will look like as much as 90 days into the future.

U.S. Navy to Unveil 'Game-Changing' Lethal Railgun

April 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Navy will soon demonstrate a new electromagnetic railgun launcher, which can launch a 23-pound projectile at speeds topping Mach 7.

 

Navy Equips MH-60s With New 'Smart' Launcher

April 7, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Navy is outfitting a squadron of MH-60 Seahawk helicopters with a new modernized digital rocket launcher—a less expensive and more precise alternative to the Hellfire missiles now used, a Navy official says.

Lightening the Workload for Cyber Command

April 3, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. military is moving to the Joint Information Environment (JIE) in part because the current architecture is too complex to be easily defended, Teri Takai, Defense Department chief information officer, said at the April 2 Security Through Innovation Summit, Washington, D.C.

Army Leads the Way in Defense Department Network Modernization

April 2, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Army is modernizing its computer networks to improve interoperability with the other services in today’s joint and coalition warfighting environment. A key part of this effort is collaborating with the Defense Department to help stand up the Joint Information Environment, which will provide commanders with a secure space to collaborate and share classified information, top Army officials said.

Connecting Private Innovation and National Security

March 31, 2014
By Rita Boland

A new effort hopes to improve relationships between nontraditional performers and government agencies.

Cybersecurity Lies Take Longer than Cybersecurity Truth

March 24, 2013
By George I. Seffers

Attacks on a computer’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) do not receive a lot of attention, and protecting against them is often not a priority, but they are on the rise, say researchers at The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit research organization funded by the U.S. government. The MITRE team is developing tools to protect against BIOS attacks and is searching for organizations to help evaluate those tools.

Navy to Expand Information Dominance Capabilities

March 6, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Navy is working to incorporate information dominance as a key part of its future warfighting tool kit. As a part of this ongoing effort, the sea service is standing up a new force dedicated to information dominance, which will tap into many cutting edge capabilities such as cyberwarfare and unmanned systems.

The seeds for the current undertaking began when the Navy merged its information dominance capabilities several years ago, said Vice Adm. Ted N. Branch, USN, deputy chief of naval operations and director of naval intelligence. Speaking at an event hosted by AFCEA’s Northern Virginia Chapter on February 21, he noted that the Navy’s advantage in this area comes from its communications and decision making systems—capabilities that help maximize military potential. “Information dominance is about warfighting. It’s about warfighting in the information age,” Adm. Branch shared.

Adm. Branch observed that many personnel in the military, especially those in information dominance roles, do not see themselves as warriors. “But we have many people [among them] who could kill you with a click,” he said.

The Navy is working on expanding its information dominance corps to help define new tactics and techniques for information warfare. But while this group holds promise, Adm. Branch notes that it is still a work in progress. “It’s not cooked yet,” he said.

As a part of these efforts, the Navy will stand up a dedicated information dominance force this October. The service will work with the information dominance board to plan out this process and to move more resources to this force, explained the admiral.

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