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Featured Stories

Great Green Fleet Prepares to Set Sail

July 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

U.S. sailors are protecting the ocean blue as they ride the waves, but they also are thinking green. The Navy is making great strides as caretaker of the waters and the air it requires for its operations while never forgetting that its primary mission is to win wars. The establishment of a Green Strike Group, a unit of powerful ships and assets that will operate at least part of the time on biofuels, reconciles the need for a healthier Earth along with the needs of enhanced security and mission effectiveness. The alternative fuel sources that the Green Strike Group will use meet specific criteria that save energy and benefit the American people.

Fiber Enables Battlefield Radio Transmissions

July 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

New fiber optic technology is allowing warfighters to place antennas far away from their radio systems. This capability can both provide greater protection from attack and increase radio signal range.

Fuel Cells Power Military Bases

July 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Hydrogen-powered cars may be the rage in the commercial sector, but the U.S. military is employing the first element of the periodic table to provide energy beyond transportation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is powering stateside installations as well as bases in forward operating locations with fuel cells—electrochemical cells that convert fuel sources into electric currents. The efforts result in money savings, a reduction of the dependence on foreign oil, essentially unlimited power generation and a cleaner environment.

Army Examines Network Parts Before They Become the Whole

July 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Developers are testing the many pieces that plug into the U.S. Army’s communications networks during the military branch’s annual system-of-systems event. The four-month exercise gives leaders a look at the network of the future. It also offers developers the opportunity to study many of soldiers’ critical assets in an operational venue, enabling experimentation outside of a laboratory. Understanding the real-world interoperability capabilities through these evaluations will help the Army ensure that predictions on paper become reality in the field.

Pond Scum Powers New Research

July 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

Scientists are developing methods to turn green algae into black gold. A research consortium consisting of two national laboratories, universities and private industry is studying a variety of technologies and processes to convert the humble one-celled organism into the chemical building blocks for biofuels and plastics.

Senior Officers Tout Digital Development

June 2010
By Clarence A. Robinson, Jr., SIGNAL Magazine

The Signal Regiment faces daunting challenges in providing and maintaining an always-on network for widely scattered U.S. Army forces. Commercial Internet protocol for voice, data, video and network operations is essential to both combat prowess and the Army’s transformation into an expeditionary force.

Science Solves Problems From Theory to the Field

June 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The National Security Directorate staff working at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is tackling some of the most difficult problems facing the nation and the world by building upon a strong foundation of fundamentals. From basic research to full-fledged fielding, the scientists run the gamut of project development, serving clients in a variety of disciplines—even some that may not typically come to mind as associated with an energy laboratory. The man in charge of it all sees good times ahead for the projects, whether they are conventional or offbeat.

Technology Aims to Trace Sub-Microscopic Troubles

June 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Scientists are pushing sensing to the theoretical limit by applying new methodology to established technology. A developmental sensor can help locate and identify chemical, biological and other dangers, but the real breakthrough is the ability to detect nanoscopic amounts of material without requiring sophisticated software or fancy equipment. Instead, humans will be able to see the readings with the naked eye. The advancement means that users in the field will be able to employ the sensor to save lives.

Googlizing Intelligence

June 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

Actionable knowledge will be available to commanders at lightning speed as the U.S. military and industry institute more adept methods to sift through terabytes of raw intelligence data. With the help of language-crunching software, intelligence analysts will be privy not only to crucial data about people, organizations, locations and weapons but also to the relationships among them. The key that unlocks the door to this obscure information is technology that enables computers to recognize and collate words and their meanings. In a matter of minutes, it then organizes the data in a way that would take weeks for a human analyst to accomplish.

Piracy Threatens Global Economy

June 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

The attire may be different and the swashbuckling kept to a minimum, but for today’s pirates the aim is the same as in centuries past: loot and lawlessness. Piracy is a lucrative alternative for starving people who live in regions with no civil authority to provide economic or political stability. As a result, the populace in countries surrounding the Gulf of Aden—particularly Somalia—are turning to barons of corruption who now have a multitude of impressionable young men willing to fight extraordinary odds even to their deaths. Unfortunately, the solution to this problem is as complex as the cause.

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