The U.S. Navy is investing significant time and effort to secure the waters that surround Latin America and the Caribbean, but not through force or interdiction. Instead, the military branch is embracing the idea that “together we can do more” by reaching out to countries in the area. This effort involves exchanging information and delivering necessary aid through an annual event designed to improve relations among nations. By participating in these activities, personnel forge long-lasting connections and provide immediate help to those who need it.
The United States is improving its ability to respond to the ever-present threat of a chemical, biological or nuclear incident in the 21st century by establishing 10 National Guard Homeland Response Forces across the country. These units each will comprise hundreds of members who will be trained in the various skills necessary to save lives in the event of a catastrophe.
Technology and relationships go hand-in-hand in the U.S. European Command’s area of responsibility, and the head of communications at this military organization has plans for both during his tenure. Long-standing partnerships in the region need continued nurturing, and newer partnerships, such as those with former Soviet bloc nations, require encouragement. These international entities must find ways to interoperate despite having different resources to apply in an environment of blindingly fast technological advancement.
A time-honored military event turned 16 years old this summer, and what some may call an unruly adolescent and others an annual gathering that has outlived its usefulness reveals how lessons learned can turn into powerful practices. The Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration, with its trial sandbox mirroring Afghanistan, not only continues to be as vital as it was in years past but also shows that building on experience leads to new discoveries.
Based on technology being developed through the U.S. Army’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance, unmanned systems of the future could become trusted companions on the battlefield—much like canines have been for thousands of years.
When the U.S. Army needs to determine if an area on the battlefield is safe or is threatened by hidden menaces, it may be calling on its own custom-made mosquito air force to probe the area and report back to headquarters. Army researchers are developing life-size robotic sensor platforms based on small flying insects.
The U.S. federal information technology work force is sandwiched between two major trends it must address to continue successful operations—the retirement eligibility of the Baby Boomer generation and the emergence of Web 2.0. The former threatens to empty hundreds of thousands of positions across the government, while the latter is shifting how the work force thinks about and uses technology. Solutions for both these issues converge in the Net Generation (sometimes referred to as Generation Y or the Millennial Generation), the demographic of youth currently preparing to enter institutions of higher learning and the job market. However, this population group is not a panacea for the government’s problems, because the ideas held by these young adults will challenge the status quo.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are a phase closer to putting chemical detectors into the hands of everyone who wants them. Developers have finished demonstrating a miniaturized sensor that can fit into the now-omnipresent personal cell phone. Early testing shows promise for small, inexpensive technology, and over the next year or so project personnel plan to test its real-world application. The cell phone platform would enable crowd sourcing to reduce false positive readings, and it would support instant alerts that would send out timely notifications. The goal of developers is to improve public safety, enhance homeland security and ultimately save lives. In this next round of development, researchers with the program have to figure out how the network will support the technology and determine whether applications that seem strong in the laboratory will function in the field.
Instead of a NASCAR winner-take-all competition, the race to secure information systems is more of a traffic jam where getting ahead depends on the lane you’re in. Operators consistently crawl along by putting patches in place and upgrading antivirus software, yet that annoying lane-changing system attacker keeps bobbing and weaving its way to the front of the gridlock daring you to catch up. But information superhighway menaces are being quashed by a collaborative effort among government organizations to ensure that the United States is in the correct lane when it comes to staying ahead of information security troublemakers.
A seemingly dead program now has new life as the basis of a U.S. Army tactical communications system. Building on extensive past funding, the service is excerpting pieces of the past and crafting them into a network for the future. This time around, the Army is drawing the users into the design process sooner so that the results are likely to pay big dividends.