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Featured Stories

U.S. Coast Guard Rides Waves of Change

April 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Coast Guard increasingly is extending its operations, often venturing far from the homeland to combat the rising tides of piracy and terrorism. While the nation’s oldest seagoing service is most known for protecting the U.S. shoreline, its homeland security as well as law enforcement and defense capabilities are in high demand, leading to debate over its appropriate role.

Diverse Duties Drive Technology Development

April 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

Nearly 10 years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, requirements at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center in New London, Connecticut, are still being driven in part by the mission to combat terrorism and the resulting need for maritime domain awareness. To support these Coast Guard goals, the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program’s priorities have grown significantly in the area of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Commercial Manned Launch Services Awaken

March 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

The end of the space shuttle program is the signal for NASA to turn to the private sector for human access to orbit. The space agency that built a series of manned spacecraft to blaze a trail to the moon now is placing its bets on several commercial space technology companies to provide entry for humans into low earth orbit.
This new direction for the government space agency has several goals. First, it seeks to establish a domestic manned orbital capability to reach the International Space Station. After the shuttle program ends this year, the only way for spacefarers to reach the space station for the next few years will be through Russian space agency launches.

When Capabilities and Support Mean Life or Death

March 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Members of the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team need better communications. Though they feel positive about their mission progress and the abilities of the Iraqis, the soldiers face constant frustration with the status of their information-sharing equipment. Obtaining sufficient support once tools are delivered is an aggravation as well. For troops covering a large geographical area, the “dump it and get out of there” mentality of some providers can result in problems for those who remain behind.

Marines Test Alternative Power in Afghanistan

March 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Marine Corps hopes a forward operating base that obtains its power from renewable energy sources will benefit the force in many ways—especially by saving lives. Eliminating the need for fuel deliveries lowers the number of convoys and exposed troops on treacherous roads in perilous places. The experimental base also could reduce the amount of equipment Marines take into theater, ensuring the Corps remains an expeditionary force. With the tools in the battlespace now, program officials are waiting to hear how the concept performs in combat.

Technology Drives Doctrinal Changes

March 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

The new leader of U.S. Defense Department joint experimentation is setting the priorities for upcoming joint and coalition operational concepts based on requirements that warfighters in Afghanistan and Iraq have identified. Although U.S. Joint Forces Command is slated to be disestablished, today’s J-9 is looking 10 to 15 years out, not only designing gee-whiz technology but also creating doctrine for fighting in future conflicts. One crucial concern is addressing problems the military will face if conflict arises in an area with limited access that is in close proximity to the war zone.

U.S. Marines Creating Island for Network Defense

March 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The head information technology officer for the Marine Corps, Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, USMC, is grappling with several projects necessary to keep critical information flowing smoothly and securely. Gen. Nally’s efforts include dramatically streamlining a sprawling information technology infrastructure, overseeing the Defense Department’s information assurance range, protecting information in the era of social networks and WikiLeaks and transitioning from the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet to the Next Generation Enterprise Network.

Change at the Roots Defines Swedish Military

February 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

Sweden is transforming its military across the board, beginning with its personnel makeup. The Northern European country, which has not been at war since 1814, is transitioning from a conscript military to a fully professional force. This change will reshape the military along different force lines with different emphases.
At a time when many other Western militaries are looking at deep cuts in their defense budgets, Sweden expects at worst a flat budget for the foreseeable future. Priorities for hardware expenditures may shift depending on ongoing studies, but not because of budget pressures.

Cyber Command Confronts Evolving Environment

February 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

The newly created U.S. Cyber Command is starting its first year of operation in a race to secure the vital infostructure before a new generation of cyberattacks causes lasting damage to military, government and commercial information assets. This potential hazard is not theoretical; it already has been realized overseas, and it may be just a matter of time before U.S. cyber assets suffer devastating attacks.

Technology Monitors Warfighter Welfare

February 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

To improve access to warfighters’ well-being, the military and industry are developing innovative ways to assess and treat them both inside the battlespace and when they return home. Sensors and communication technologies are evolving into capabilities that are as much about saving individual lives as they are about maintaining situational awareness for entire squads. And, in a world booming with social media, help coping with the physical and psychological effects of war now is literally at a warfighter’s fingertips.

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