The U.S. government is systematically missing opportunities to contribute to stability, reconstruction and development around the world. These goals are achievable by leveraging reliable communications, enabled by stable power, to provide capabilities and services that local populations value and can sustain with their own resources.
No, the title is not a redundancy. Given all the recent events in homeland security, it appears the whole process will undergo yet another round of reviews. I don’t think any of us would question that security is better today than in 2001. But is it good enough? Probably not.
The future air battlespace may be dominated by unmanned aerial vehicles fully networked to exchange sensor information and battle damage assessments. They could be controlled remotely by human pilots or guided by autonomous programming that allows them to change their objective mid-mission like a flock of birds suddenly changing direction. Similarly, they might trade off capabilities to ensure mission success if one or more fails or is destroyed.
The Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., is accelerating its implementation and use of information technology to meet the terrorist threat that looms over the U.S. capital. This includes adapting everyday police technologies for homeland security and counterterrorism operations, and it also involves bringing in new capabilities from the civil and private sectors.
Nestled deep inside NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston is the Defense Department’s Human Spaceflight Payloads Office, where a team of personnel strives to find rides into space for military experiments. Tests that affect defense, security and commercial interests route through the office in the hopes of making it aboard a manned mission off the planet. The work in the office is only part of a program that aims to place as many research projects into space as possible. Successes from the experiments range from technologies now in everyday use to products that save lives on the battlefield.
Law enforcement personnel are employing a new system that enables them to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated data in an unprecedented manner. The technology correlates information from various databases, allowing users to learn more about subjects of interest than they could with previous methods. Each increment of the system’s deployment offers additional information fields and introduces new tools.
The U.S. Air Force has completed its largest-ever communications specialty code transformation and one of its largest-ever personnel changes. Tens of thousands of enlisted airmen, as well as thousands of civilians, migrated from traditional communications job codes to new cyber job codes. The change creates the emphasis necessary for success in the cyberspace domain and will affect all Air Force operations.
Cyberspace is the new frontier and is fraught with all the excitement and peril that come with it. Opportunities for innovation and prosperity abound. Unfortunately, like the challenges faced by explorers who settled the New World, the dangers and unknown threats lurking throughout the world online are often difficult to identify and fend off.
A combination of European Union investments and transformational uses for computers is making Poland one of the fastest growing information technology markets in the Central and Eastern European region. Although some Polish companies are deferring information systems purchases to cut expenditures, the country is still expected to experience a more than 30 percent jump in the size of this market between last year’s final figures and 2013. A great deal of this growth will be the result of new government programs; however, at least some of the economic boom can be attributed to how attractive Poland has become as a home for electronics companies headquartered in other countries.
Creating a culture of collaboration is a top priority for the lead communicator at the Air Combat Command. The objective may appear easy to achieve—simply a matter of issuing an order that everyone use technology to operate as one force—but in reality, several challenges stand in the way. As the ranks of next-generation U.S. airmen grow, the inclination to collaborate is swelling; however, many of the U.S. Air Force’s doctrines and processes are still stuck in the analog age.
In the near future, first responders could use cellular telephones to sweep sites for hazardous chemicals and then rapidly seal off mass transit tunnels with inflatable plugs, preventing the spread of toxic gases. These and other technologies are being developed by a U.S. government research organization focused on creating revolutionary advances in homeland security processes and applications.
A U.S. Air Force fighter jet recently performed as a reconnaissance platform by using a targeting sensor to detect radio emissions and then transmitting their type and location in near real time to commanders and troops on the ground. The demonstration at a military exercise highlighted the use of nontraditional aerial platforms, such as fast attack jets, for surveillance and reconnaissance.