Members of government and industry are taking concrete steps to address long-standing problems in the procurement community through plug fests--events that test the interoperability of network devices by plugging them into functioning networks. Various organizations within and outside of government have hosted such programs, but recently a group of public and private partners in the defense industry decided to organize plug fests specifically to address problems in the military arena.
One of the nation’s most critical multibillion-dollar next-generation satellite communications programs is being restructured. After shifting to a fixed-price contract, the U.S. Defense Department is inviting new industry competition for the Air Force’s advanced beyond-line-of-sight terminal program.
Sharing medical information among public and private entities during emergency situations is entering a new age. A consortium of partners has laid the foundation for a national center that will develop protocols and methodology necessary to enhance current capabilities for handling crisis situations.
A predicted increase in the number and intensity of solar storms is forecast for 2013, and solar weather experts are advising both the public and private sector to make preparations.
A new technology aimed at finding unauthorized wireless devices on critical infrastructure networks could be fielded within a matter of months.
Smartphones and tablet computers increasingly are replacing desktop and laptop personal computers as on-the-job tools of choice in the federal government. Such a change not only presents opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity among federal workers, but it also creates information technology management and data security challenges for those who oversee the digital resources of agencies.
In the coming months, the U.S. Army will begin fielding components of its first integrated mobile network to units headed to Afghanistan. The equipment package known as Capability Set 13 will provide integrated voice and data throughout the brigade combat team. It also will offer on-the-move and beyond-line-of-sight communications, which could transform combat operations.
Rotorcraft are following the flight path of their fixed-wing counterparts as the U.S. Army advances a program to digitize controls.
The wind-down of U.S. Army combat operations, along with the re-balance in national military priority toward the Asia-Pacific region, is forcing a shift as well as a surge in Army networking. The service must continue to modernize the network to meet growing capability demands, but it also must adapt its architecture to accommodate major changes in force deployments and missions.
Prospective bidders for the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network are facing several balancing acts as they weigh multiple criteria to vie for the multibillion-dollar contract. Issues such as technology refresh, service integration and savings sharing loom large in what ultimately will be the Navy’s primary information network.
A flood of new sensors has the U.S. Air Force awash in data, so now one of its priorities is to determine how to best process, exploit and disseminate information both today and in future operations. Lt. Gen. Larry D. James, USAF, the service’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, says his organization needs the tools to fuse and format data using technology to facilitate data sharing even in hostile physical or cyber environments.
The shifting winds of geopolitical change are forcing government and industry alike to take a new tack in ensuring safe passage through the Earth’s oceans. From criminals plying their trade on the high seas, to nation-states seeking to deny access to other countries, the challenges are growing. To counter the problems, militaries and businesses are engaged in overcoming both new and resurgent dangers that threaten navigation over waterways.
In a few months, the U.S. Coast Guard will complete its evaluation of an underwater 3-D imaging system that will then be transferred from the service’s Research and Development Center to operators. But even as the technology is being assessed, the system is deploying to hot spots around the world, most recently in the search for bodies following the late February crash of a Coast Guard helicopter off the coast of Alabama.
The Defense Information Systems Agency is striving to wrap its digital arms around the growing plethora of military data by consolidating standards and requirements.
Solar energy could help reduce the $4 billion annual electricity bill at U.S. military bases worldwide, with an output of power equivalent to seven nuclear plants possible using the land at just four bases.
The Defense Information Systems Agency is helping to ensure that military branches can field technology more quickly and less expensively as it simultaneously initiates its own rapid-deployment programs.
Marking a sharp departure from recent conflicts, the future of U.S. military action likely includes enemies equipped to deny forces the ability to enter and carry out missions within areas of operations.
When U.S. Marines of the future come under enemy fire, they may be able to use a tablet or smartphone to call for ammunition, other supplies, or for air casualty evacuation by an autonomous helicopter smart enough to avoid hostile forces and safely land itself.
The European Union is trying to bring the defense programs of its 27 member nations into synchronicity before the budget boom is lowered on military spending.
Handheld mobile devices will be the next delivery vehicles for geospatial intelligence if the agency responsible for processing and delivering the vital information has its way. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency already has developed apps for a variety of different mobile platforms, and it is working with the commercial sector to expand the menu it is about to offer to individual users in the field.